NewsCultural director resigns after controversy over spouse's posts on Moscow attack

Cultural director resigns after controversy over spouse's posts on Moscow attack

"Why Crocus, not the Kremlin?" A Russian woman resigned.
"Why Crocus, not the Kremlin?" A Russian woman resigned.
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV
10:12 AM EDT, March 26, 2024

Roksana Szatunowska, the General Director of the New Holland cultural space in Saint Petersburg, resigned from her position following a controversy sparked by her husband's social media posts about the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall. Szatunowska had been at the helm for 13 years.

Two days after armed attackers killed at least 139 people at Moscow's Crocus City Hall on March 24, Szatunowska's husband, Nikolai Konashenok, made two controversial Facebook posts about the incident.

His first post questioned: "Why Crocus, not the Kremlin? Got confused?" In his second post, he remarked that the band Piknik, which was scheduled to perform that night, was "small" and suggested that an attack during a concert featuring songs from the movie Brat 2 "really would have been something".

According to the Telegram channel Ostorozno in Novosti, those acquainted with Konashenok describe him as a provocative social media user. Before he deleted his posts, they were noticed by pro-Kremlin Telegram channels, highlighting his connection to the director of New Holland.

The following day, Szatunowska announced her resignation on Instagram, clarifying that her husband had never been employed at New Holland, contrary to some claims made on Telegram.

"After discussions with my superiors, we've decided that I will step down from my position and cease fulfilling my duties due to a family member's inhumane and monstrous remarks," Szatunowska stated.

Szatunowska emphasized that she "condemns and does not support" her husband's comments, expressing her full sympathies towards the victims of the attack.

Husband Detained by Police

Konashenok was detained at Saint Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport on March 25, as he was preparing to fly to Yerevan. The Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that Konashenok's Facebook posts displayed "extremist tendencies," and it has yet to determine whether to press criminal charges.

In a video released by the police, Konashenok "apologizes" for his posts, suggesting he may have been coerced. - "I sincerely apologize. I am against terrorism. A horrendous crime occurred, and we all grieve," he stated.

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