Valery Rashkin: Russian parliament lifts immunity of MP accused of illegal elk hunting

A Russian MP is facing prosecution over charges of illegal hunting after his parliamentary immunity was lifted.

Russia’s parliament voted to lift the immunity of opposition Communist Party politician Valery Rashkin on Thursday.

The 66-year-old has admitted to illegally killing an elk last month without a hunting license. He had initially denied the allegations.

The remains of an elk were found in the MPs car by police officers in Russia’s Saratov region last month.

Rashkin stated at the time that he and his companion did not shoot the animal and had planned to report the matter to the authorities. He also refused to undergo a test for alcohol at the scene.

But officers reported that they found an axe and two knives in Rashkin’s car, as well as two weapons cases hidden in a nearby bush.

Last week, the opposition MP admitted that he had mistakenly shot the animal and said he was prepared to pay 80,000 roubles (€950) in compensation.

On Monday, a Russian parliamentary commission had recommended that the lawmaker be stripped of his immunity. The decision was approved by 341 votes in favour, 55 against, and two abstentions.

Rashkin faces a maximum prison sentence of two years if convicted of “illegal hunting”.

Some Russian media claim that the MP is facing charges due to his frequent criticism of the Kremlin and support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The Communist Party had led protests in September against alleged online fraud during Russia’s parliamentary and local elections.

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