Russia’s #MeToo: 2 Journalists Accuse MP Slutsky Of Sexual Harassment

"The attempt to make Slutsky a Russian Harvey Weinstein is most of all like a cheap, shoddy provocation,” challenged the enraged parliamentarian.

A member of Russian parliament has been publicly accused of sexual harassment by two female journalists, a claim that is being compared to the powerful #MeToo movement in the United States.

Ekaterina Kotrikadz and Darya Zhuk claimed that Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, tried to “forcibly kiss and grope” them on separate occasions.

Last week, Kotrikadz, a private station deputy editor, stated that Slutsky asked her to come into his office “without a camera” and tried to force himself on her.

"He led me into his office, locked the door and tried to somehow lean me up against the wall and to somehow touch and kiss miss. I broke away, and ran out,” she stated.

Zhuk, a producer at liberal channel TV Rain, also echoed similar claims in a video.

"As soon as you came into the studio, you almost straight away showed yourself — you tried to kiss me, tried to touch me,” she said. “It was unpleasant and frightening for me. Now I have just one question for you: Will you now still try to deny everything?"

Prior to these women going public with their accusations, a number of Russian women anonymously made similar claims.

Slutsky has denied these accusations, claiming they were an attempt to portray him as the “Russian Harvey Weinstein.”

"The attempt to make Slutsky a Russian Harvey Weinstein is most of all like a cheap, shoddy provocation,” the politician said. “If someone has claims against me, let these people say them to my face."

This is perhaps the most high profile sexual harassment case to come out of Russia in years. Russian officials have repeatedly debunked the #MeToo movement as Liberal hysteria and a political campaign.

Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of the state-run news agency, stated now “everything can be seen as dirty harassment” and openly criticized the #MeToo movement.

"There’s no sex in America. The sexual revolution is a thing of the past,” he continued. “Now everything can be seen as dirty harassment. This campaign, with brutal seriousness, threatens to destroy the humor in people’s relationships; affecting impulsivity, spontaneity and passion.”

An official from Slutsky’s Liberal Democratic Party proposed pulling TV Rain’s parliamentary accreditations.

The head of Family Affairs, Tamara Pletneva, claimed only women who want “attention” get harassed and that the victims coming forward were trying to mimic what’s currently happening in the U.S. and Europe.

State DUMA Deputy Irina Rodnina, a member of the Ethics Committee, stated “I don’t want to discuss it. If this is [these journalists’] greatest professional accomplishment, then what is there to say? I know about the similar scandal with Weinstein. I’d like to ask these actresses just one thing: if Weinstein had this reputation, why did they come to him? I think it’s strange that actresses were silent for 20 years, and then they decided to come forward. Well, great. We’ll sing songs to their glory. Fortunately, this practice hasn’t spread to Russia.”

Another parliamentarian claimed that “matriarchal democracy’s rise in the West will herald the sunset of Europe.”

Russian officials have gone to great lengths to avoid the #MeToo movement from “spreading to Russia.” Recently a bill was passed decriminalizing domestic abuse and reducing penalties on domestic assault.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

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