TALLINN - Russia launched renewed accusations on May 25 blaming Estonia for the death of Dmitri Ganin, a Russian national who was stabbed during the April 26 - 27 riots in Tallinn. Russia also claims that Estonian authorities have refused requests by the Russian embassy to provide details of the investigation into his death. The Estonian Public Prosecutor's Office has flatly refuted both claims.
In a comment posted on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website, ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin stated, citing unnamed witnesses, that 20-year-old Ganin bled to death "under the eyes of police officers who withheld help." According to the spokesman, this raises the question whether Estonia has any interest at all in establishing the circumstances of Ganin's death.
Kamynin's statement also says that despite repeated requests by the Russian embassy in Tallinn and the lawyer representing the mother of the victim, 20-year-old Dmitri Ganin, the Estonian authorities have refused to release materials of the criminal investigation in progress. The Russian embassy had made a similar claim earlier the same week.
Both accusations were rejected out of hand by the Prosecutor's Office.
"The accusations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian FederationÂ claim that the Estonian Prosecutor's Office has refused to answer queries regarding the death of Dmitri Ganin and related investigationsÂ are ungrounded. To date nobody has turned to the Prosecutor's OfficeÂ through official channels regarding this matter," a statement released by the Prosecutor's office on May 25 states.
Kristina Herodes, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office, told The Baltic Times on May 29 that to date her office had still not received any official request for information by the Russian embassy, which by law would have to come via Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also said that the office had met with the attorney representing Ganin's mother, and that he had no complaints about the office's conduct.
The Prosecutor's statement also rejected Russia's accusation that police withheld aid.
"The Estonian Prosecutor's Office has stressed on several occasionsÂ that the death of Dmitri Ganin cannot be associated with theÂ activity or inactivity of the police. The ambulance arrived to theÂ scene in a matter of minutes even before the police," the statement said.
Official data show that the emergency aid center received a phone call about the stabbing at 12:24 a.m. on April 27, the Eesti Ekspress weekly reported on May 24. The chief physician of the emergency aid service, Raul Adlas, said medics arrived at the scene within seven minutes of the call.
When police arrived at about 12:45 a.m., emergency medical staff were still at the scene. Ganin was admitted to hospital at 12:51 a.m. and died while undergoing surgery at 2 a.m.
The first Russian official to come out with allegations of delayed medical assistance was Nikolay Kovalyov, a member of the Russian State Duma delegation that visited Estonia at the end of April. Kovalyov, who joined Soviet intelligence in the 1970s, served as director general of the Russian federal security service FSB immediately before President Vladimir Putin.
Kovalyov maintained that the stabbed young man lay for an hour and a half in the street before being given aid.
The circumstances of Ganin's death are still under investigation. Looted items from nearby shops were found in his pockets at the time of his death. Two members of Estonia's punk community are in police custody accused of beating Ganin, though neither has so far been charged with stabbing him.