Russia politician Leonid Slutsky: “I don’t feel people up. Well, OK, just a little”:
A BBC journalist has alleged that she had been s*xually harassed by the senior Russian politician Leonid Slutsky.
BBC Russian Service’s Farida Rustamova is the third journalist to publicly accuse him of improper conduct.
The Duma deputy denied the accusations and has threatened to take the women to court for defamation.
Russia hasn’t seen the exact same backlash against s*xual harassment as the US and Western Europe have seen in the wake of high profile scandals.
Ms. Rustamova recorded the sound from the incident, which took place a year ago.
The recording is in the BBC’s possession, but it has decided not to publish it.
On 24 March 2017, Farida Rustamova visited Leonid Slutsky at his parliamentary office to acquire a comment about the then French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s visit to Russia.
During the conversation, Mr. Slutsky suddenly changed the topic and asked if she would like to leave the BBC to work for him
When Ms. Rustamova refused, he complained: “You’re trying to get away from me, you don’t want to kiss me, you’ve hurt my feelings.”
In the recording, Ms. Rustamova can be heard explaining that she has a boyfriend that she hopes to marry.
“Great, you’ll be his wife, and my mistress,” Mr. Slutsky says.
Our correspondent says the politician then approached her and, in her words, began “running his hand, the flat of his palm, up against my nether region”.
“I didn’t understand what had happened,” Ms. Rustamova says.
“I was just lost for words, muttering funny noises, I just went numb. I blurted out something about not coming to him again, that he had felt me up.”
Judging by his response, which was also caught on the recording, Mr. Slutsky did not agree with her description of events.
“I don’t feel people up. Well, OK, just a little. ‘Feel people up’ is an ugly expression,” he said.
The BBC has asked Mr. Slutsky to comment on the events of 24 March 2017, but he has not responded.
Ms. Rustamova joins two journalists – TV channel RTVI deputy editor Yekaterina Kotrikadze and TV Rain producer Daria Zhuk – who have both, in the last two weeks, accused deputy Leonid Slutsky of s*xual impropriety.