A woman believed to be a Russian government security agent claimed to be an
official Danish representative in order to intercept a letter from local
human rights activists to the Danish Queen during her visit Thursday to a
Rockwool factory near Moscow.
A small group of activists were standing by with an open letter to the Danish
Queen, but were kept at a hundred metres from the location for security
The head of the 30-man security squad on the scene promised the activists to
send ‘someone’ who would be able to receive their communication.
Immediately after the Queen’s motorcade arrived a blond woman in a grey suit
walked over to the demonstrators, said she represented the Danish embassy in
Moscow and said she would receive the letter to the Queen.
After having studied a picture of the woman, the Danish embassy has told
Politiken.dk that the woman has no connection to the embassy.
In the letter, the organisation complains of mafia-like conditions in their
town of 130,000 inhabitants, alleging that senior town leaders are involved
in corruption and crime and complaining that social conditions in the town
The activists had hoped to use a unique chance to raise their case and ask the
Queen Margrethe to mention the issue to the Russian president.
“We realise that it is not possible for you to change the situation in our
city, but we hope that you can transmit our call for help to President
Dmitri Medvedev,” the letter said.
“We have written loads of letters to President Medvedev’s office, but they
have all been sent back to city hall,” Georgi Udaltsov, who took the
initiative for the approach, tells Politiken.dk.
“This is pure desperation. We have been hit and humiliated and are afraid for
our lives,” he says.
That evening Queen Margrethe travelled on to St. Petersburg without seeming to
be aware of the existence of a letter.
Activists speak of hired killers
According to local human rights activists, senior city executives with
Mayor Juri Shirkov at their head have been involved in assassinations of
businessmen who refused to pay protection money to “city fathers”.
The national Russian news agency RIA-Novosti has previously reported on
arrests of hit-men in Shelesnodoroini who are suspected of being behind
killing businessmen. The Public Prosecutor suggests that those arrested have
connection to the leadership of the town administration. Only few of those
arrested have been sentenced.
Sources at the Rockwool factory, where 340 of the town’s population work, also
complain of harassment from the local mayor.
Danish company complained
The mayor recently threatened to immediately appropriate the land over
which a vital railway link leads to the factory. That battle was won by
Rockwool by approaching the governor of the Moscow region who intervened.
“But it is a fact that the situation regarding children’s institutions and
hospitals is critical in Shelesnodoroini and many of our employees complain
about the conditions,” Rockwool’s CEO Nick Vince tells Politiken.dk.
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