Saratov communist Nikolai Bondarenko criticized the government and became very popular on YouTube. And when he decided to go to the State Duma, he started having problems

On February 8, a deputy of the regional Duma from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Bondarenko, was detained in Saratov . He was accused of participating in a protest in support of Alexei Navalny and against corruption on January 31. The court fined the politician 20 thousand rubles.

The deputy himself claims that he was at the rally “on numerous appeals of citizens”, and with Navalny he has ideological incompatibility. According to Bondarenko, he went out on the street as a deputy to follow the progress of the rally and control how the security forces would behave towards the protesters .

The politician links his detention to the fact that he plans to run for parliamentary elections this year in the same constituency in which – most likely – the current speaker of the lower house of parliament Vyacheslav Volodin will run.

In addition, on February 9 it became known that the commission of the Saratov Regional Duma may turn to the prosecutor’s office with a request to initiate a criminal case against Bondarenko for “illegal income” from YouTube. The politician runs the popular channel “The Diary of a Deputy” , he has more than 1 million 250 thousand subscribers.

The politician won his fame in the Saratov region and beyond its borders by harsh criticism of the authorities (including personally Vladimir Putin). And also – the skillful use of news stories. For example, in 2018, Bondarenko set up an experiment on himself – he lived a month, eating 3500 rubles. This was after the scandal with a statement from a Saratov official that this amount would be enough to live on “macaroshkas” and other inexpensive products for a month.

In today’s episode of the podcast What Happened, we spoke with Nikolai Bondarenko:

  • About the conflict over the elections and the constituency of Viacheslav Volodin.
  • About how Bondarenko plays on the same field as Navalny’s supporters.
  • And about the role of the systemic opposition (including the Communist Party) in the current power structure.

(c)MEDUZA 2021

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