Russian Communist MP stripped of immunity for illegal elk hunting

Russian MPs voted to deprive representative of the Communist Party faction, Valery Rashkin, of immunity for illegal hunting for the elk. 

Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov found it necessary to bring MP Rashkin to administrative responsibility under Part 1 of Article 12.26 of the Administrative Code ("Failure by the driver of a vehicle to undergo medical examination for intoxication") and under Part 2 of Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Russia ("Illegal hunting").

As many as 341 MPs voted to strip Rashkin of immunity. 

Earlier, Valery Rashkin admitted to killing the animal, although he originally denied such accusations. The MP said that he went to the Saratov region to have a rest after the elections to the State Duma. He went hunting there one day. According to the politician, he was told that all necessary permits were available. 

The MP said that he spotted an animal at the forest edge and mistook it for a large wild boar. He shot the animal twice, but when he approached the beast, he realized that it was an elk. 

Rashkin butchered the carcass with an ax and a knife that he had in his vehicle and then went to ask for help from one of his friends. As he was driving out of the forest with the butchered animal carcass in the trunk, his car stalled, then another car drove up, and the people in that car, whom Rashkin did not know, asked him to open the trunk. 

Many immediately cast doubts on Rashkin's version about the wild boar. Professional hunters say that it is impossible to mistake an elk for a boar, as the elk is much larger and can be two meters tall. 

When Rashkin was detained with the elk carcass in the trunk of his car, he claimed that he had found a dead animal while walking through the forest and was taking it to hand over to the police.

“Fearing for my friend Alexander and not to accidentally set anyone up, I didn’t find anything better and blurted it out that, well, I found the carcass of this elk,” Rashkin explained later, stressing that he didn’t drink alcohol, but the smell of alcohol emanated from his friend Alexander. 

Valery Rashkin may face a prison sentence of three to five years for illegal hunting.