Penza mayor’s son incident social network discussion evolves further
Penza, 19 March 2016. PenzaNews. The more-than-week-long public discussion of the assault on a taxi driver that allegedly involves Alexei Kuvaytsev, son of the Penza mayor Victor Kuvaytsev, has evolved further.
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According to certain people, the public attention is drawing away from “relishing” the details of the conflict that come mostly from “Ulitsa Moskovskaya” newspaper and its journalist Evgeny Malyshev and towards other issues, such as any relation between the individual incident and the work of Victor Kuvaytsev himself as the Penza mayor, the necessity of any possible public statement by the official in question, the incident’s potential as grounds for the latter’s layoff, and the reason why almost no regional or federal media paid any attention to the incident.
In particular, Victor Gvozdev, former first deputy head of Penza city administration under the previous mayor Yuri Krivov, asked Evgeny Malyshev on Facebook about the reasons behind the “morbid act of journalistic salivating” – the latter’s social network post saying that the newspaper published “the latest and tastiest details of the media investigation about the man who assaulted the taxi driver with his friend and introduced himself as mayor’s son.”
“From this investigation, I get an impression that you do not care about the fact and the reasons at all. Judging by your article, I think this is something on the level of a personal ad. […] Please explain yourself salivating over it to me and other Facebook users. Or simply write honestly: ‘I am an active scandal sheet journalist and this is the format I work in, and I adjust the causes and effects by little or by a lot’,” Victor Gvozdev wrote.
In turn, Evgeny Malyshev replied to him that he sees journalism as a kitchen.
“And I treat each my publication as a fresh dish. Thus the salivating. I greatly appreciate the comments, to see if I needed less salt, less paper, or roast it more,” he wrote.
“Journalism is objective. It is present when there are at least two points of view, with figures and facts, with a stance. Here, nothing is fully ‘cooked,’ and the only point of view is yours. A journalist who knows exactly what happened inside the [taxi] car, although only three people were there. […] So, Evgeny, it’s not about the pride at all. Instead, I simply want to understand why are you making a private case between three sane adults with their own names and surnames into a city sensation,” Victor Gvozdev continued.
“Completely agree about at least two points of view. But under our feudal-landowner regime that gives off a Mafiosi air, myself as a journalist managed to collect only a single point of view. The police was silent and gave no comment at all for four days. We asked the other party in an official way, through the newspaper website, to express their stance. And as for the daddy of the other party [the Penza mayor Victor Kuvaytsev], even ‘Rossiyskaya Gazeta’ asked him to do that. However, it’s common in our Land of Burtassia to hide heads in sand and then curse the yellow press who only lists a single point of view,” Evgeny Malyshev retorted.
In turn, Victor Gvozdev stressed that the event in question “is not a norm of behavior,” “not seen as acceptable by anyone” and received no sympathy from any one – “neither the civil community, nor myself as a member of that community, nor the daddies or the mommies.”
“I do not advocate for either party. I am a consumer of your journalistic work, why are you seething? Why not just answer and be done with it? Why do you mention Burtassia here, Evgeny? Why the feudal-landowner regime? Why all the officials? Why anything else at all? […] Evgeny, I think it’s logical to say that if there were three men in the car, then likely there are three daddies, and if we take the aftermath into account, then likely there will be more daddies. I just cannot understand one thing and ask you to explain that: why should any dad or all daddies altogether give any explanations to your website in relation to a personal accusation of sane adults,” he wrote.
“And my position, in a nutshell and sans any declamations, is thus: if there is a conflict, there is no need to involve any mommies, daddies or parents whatsoever in it, they already worry about their children more than anyone else. And such incidents have a nonbiased and a biased side. And only the subjects of such incident must be held responsible according to the law – only these subjects. And there is a procedure on how to do that. Therefore, as a citizen, as a consumer of your journalistic work you are paid for, I want everything to be in compliance with the law. This is my position, and if yours is different in any way, please tell me where. But I think you will just keep seething and getting angry, so I do not insist on any reply. Perhaps, I’ll be reading it somewhere on the Web with a tag proclaiming me as not fitting some rules,” Victor Gvozdev added.
Earlier, Anton Kupryushin, Penza businessman and blogger, also commented on the situation related to the assault of a taxi driver in Penza, and called the overall event “a dirty story.”
“But an even dirtier thing is the bully campaign against the father – the mayor [of Penza Victor Kuvaytsev]. And there is allegedly a public rally in the making, and requests of certain active citizens to the city hall, and the city head gets questions about the possible layoff of the mayor. And today, some even suggested that the mayor ran away. You know what? That’s just dirty, fellows, just dirty. I would like to point out that mayor’s son is very much an adult, past 30. And, according to the police, he already was held liable. So nobody did anything to help him evade responsibility. And it seems very strange to see his action casting shadow on his father, who cannot and should not be held responsible for his son’s actions since about 12 years ago. I think gathering points on family issues that barely have any relation to the work of the mayor is quite a low blow,” he wrote in his LiveJournal.
At the same time, Alexei Makarov, former journalist with big experience, TV show creator and host, now head of the press service for the Penza branch of Rostelecom, suggested on Facebook that “exhausting only two news hook – the event and the punishment – should have been enough for the local media.”
“That is just laughable for a 30-year-old adult, and just enough for a mayor’s son (!!!). You know, I asked my friend, a dentist, he’s 33, a family man, works for himself, dozens of patients every day: ‘You know who Kuvaytsev is?’ He said he doesn’t, as he has no time to watch TV. And that’s the end of your story. Then for whom are you doing that?” Alexei Makarov asked.
“Flog those ancient 30-year-old adults and put them on a naughty step at the Marshal Zhukov square [the location of the Penza city administration building],” he jested in another comment.
At the same time, Evgeny Manuylov, renown Penza journalist and publisher, one of the founders of “Ulitsa Moskovskaya” newspaper and brother of its editor-in-chief Valentin Manuylov, pointed out that “altough fathers are not responsible for their sons, children’s dirty deeds always cast shadow on their parents.”
“Whether the descendants of famous people understand that or not is an entirely different question altogether. Myself, I always dreaded what my mom would tell me if she learned of my mischief… And I dreaded that more than any and all police officers,” Evgeny Manuylov confessed.
According to people who are very close to Penza city mayor and know him for many years, “Victor Nikolaevich [Kuvaytsev] is greatly distressed by the event and sees it as great shame for his son, but does not intend to protect him in any way, although he possibly should have done that as a father.”
“As any other parent in such situation, I would probably try to help in any way, particularly with the authority, the connections with various structures, people and so on. But Victor Nikolaevich did not resort to using his resource, as he is a man of principle, and in that case I respect and support his position. Firstly, excuse me, but the son is over 30 and is well responsible for himself, his actions and deeds. I also understand why Kuvaytsev Sr. did not make any comment, as this event is in no way related to his work as the city mayor, but rather it is a personal or family issue,” the source that asked to remain anonymous told PenzaNews.
These arguments also explain why no regional or federal media paid great attention to “practically a regular incident, with the only exception that it involves a person with a surname similar to the mayor’s,” the source said.
“Right from the onset, this story was not one of interest for the federals: the mayor’s son, the so-called rich kid, is actually very much of a poor kid. He calls a regular cab, not even a business-class car, to get from point A to point B late at night. There is a conflict of personalities in the car, the rest is known, all are alive and well. Now, if the mayor’s son would have been drunk, or, as they say, stoned, and had committed – God forbid – a traffic accident with people dead, escaped the accident scene, or began a street shootout, then probably the federals would indeed be interested. Because that is how the ‘rich kids’ of some officials are acting, judging by the news reports. In the meantime, only small local publications, with a relevant reputation to boot, paid any attention to this event with a thinly-veiled hint towards nearly pushing the Penza mayor to premature layoff. By the way, I would like to personally congratulate Evgeny Malyshev from ‘Ulitsa Moskovskaya’ with its circulation of 2,500 copies. His day in the limelight grew into a whole week! I think he had never been that euphoric before. So, who else caught upon the ‘sensation’? Two websites, that work in Penza for under a year each and likely in desperate need of a scandal to gain any attention. By the way, one of those resources is not registered as a media source, yet actively mails out demands for immediate comments under the guise of the media law, while the other is a real waste tank that’s known for holding a long-standing and clearly festering grudge against Victor Kuvaytsev himself,” the source summed up.