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Russia’s Kemerovo governor quits over shopping centre fire

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Russia’s Kemerovo governor quits over shopping centre fire

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The governor of Russia’s Kemerovo region has resigned following last month’s fatal fire that swept through a shopping complex a week ago, killing 64 people, most of them children.

Aman Tuleyev said in a video address released on Sunday that his standing down from his post was “the right, conscious and only true decision”.

On Friday Russian police arrested an executive with the firm that owns the shopping centre. The Investigative Committee, the state body that probes major crimes, accused Yulia Bogdanova of failing to address shortcomings in fire safety.

Investigators have revealed that the fire alarms were switched off and that some exits were blocked.

There has been much anger in the Siberian city of Kemerovo among families of the victims. Many people called for the governor’s resignation.

Since coming to prominence in 1989 Tuleyev has served as the region's head of transport and communication as well as the Kemerovo railway system. A former Russian presidential candidate, he was elected governor of Kemerovo in 1997.

Tuleyev managed to keep his post after the Raspadskaya coal mine explosion in 2010 that killed 66 workers.

Last week, Tuleyev and deputy officials suggested that protests against them were being hijacked by opposition supporters hungry for publicity, calling them "troublemakers."

REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin
People in Krasnoyarsk visit a makeshift memorial on the day of national mourning for the victims of the shopping mall fire in Kemerovo, March 29, 2018 REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin