It’s in all probability best to start out this layered story at the prime. Artemi Panarin, star winger of the New York Rangers, is taking a depart of absence from the staff as a narrative again in Russia broke at the moment about him allegedly beating up a 18-year-old lady in a bar in Riga in 2011. While this will at first seem simply the outing of one more home violence monster in sports activities, it’s not practically that easy.
Panarin outspokenly criticized Vladimir Putin, and is maybe the largest Russian movie star determine to take action. In the summer season of 2019, Panarin sat for an hour-long interview in Russian, the place he took a metaphorical flamethrower to Putin and his supporters. Panarin railed in opposition to the corruption of Putin’s regime, its deference to huge companies (sounds acquainted), the threat or outright banning of talking out in opposition to Putin, election fraud, the favoring of Moscow over the remainder of the nation, and Putin himself.
Panarin has additionally been a vocal supporter of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opposition chief who was poisoned a number of months in the past and jailed by Putin earlier this 12 months. Panarin posted this on Instagram only a few weeks in the past as protests have been waged throughout Russia over Navalny’s imprisonment.
In addition to that, Panrin’s former coach Andrei Nazarov is the one claiming Panarin dedicated this act in 2011, and Nazarov isn’t precisely a bastion of stability. He’s a former NHL goon who, as a coach in the KHL, as soon as went after followers with a stick. That’s not been his solely unhinged incident. Nazarov has regularly been an outspoken critic of Panarin for talking out publicly in opposition to Putin, in truth utilizing the latest Black Lives Matter protests as a cudgel in opposition to Panarin.
That’s to not say Panarin has been angelic in his previous, both. He got here beneath fireplace when he was taking part in for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017 when a video surfaced of Panarin in 2012 saying he would by no means sleep with a Black girl.
While all claims of incidents like this needs to be taken critically, it’s not exhausting to conclude one thing stinks right here. Russia has not often been a spot that has ever cared about home violence. It’s not even against the law there. And here’s a proud Putin supporter smearing a participant who has spoken out in opposition to the Russian president/tyrant. It’s not precisely exceptional for Putin and his allies to retaliate in opposition to opposition assist in varied methods.
This story in all probability nonetheless has many turns to return. Given Russia’s basic indifference to home violence/violence in opposition to girls, this could possibly be a well-time unearthing of an precise incident for political acquire. Or it could possibly be an out of the blue hit piece in opposition to an outspoken critic of the present regime and opposition supporter. All we’ve got are Nazarov’s story and Panarin’s denial at the second, with the underlying story of their opposing political beliefs and the tendencies of the Putin authorities proper now.