Vladimir Nikolayev
Vladimir Nikolayev is a Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 politician accused of membership in the Russian Mafia
Russian Mafia
The Russian Mafia is a name applied to organized crime syndicates in Russia and Ukraine. The mafia in various countries take the name of the country, as for example the Ukrainian mafia....

. He was a member of former Russian president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

's governing party United Russia
United Russia
United Russia is a centrist political party in Russia and the largest party in the country, currently holding 315 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. The party was founded in December 2001, through a merger of the Unity and Fatherland-All Russia parties...

; the mayor of Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

; and the owner of seafood, meat, and timber-processing companies. Nikolayev reached his position as mayor when his opponent for the position "tripped" on a grenade left outside his office, killing him.

The city court of Vladivostok removed Nikolayev from his post as the city's mayor in March 2007. Immediately after the decision was made, Nikolayev gave a press conference, in which he called the case against him a "sheer falsification" and "someone’s paid order". In a press statement, the prosecutor's office of Russian federal subject
Federal subjects of Russia
Russia is a federation which, since March 1, 2008, consists of 83 federal subjects . In 1993, when the Constitution was adopted, there were 89 federal subjects listed...

 Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

 announced, "Vladimir Nikolayev called the criminal case initiated against him by prosecutors as a paid and ordered deal and his speech was broadcast by all local and many federal news agencies. In this respect Primorye’s prosecutor’s office asks the General prosecutor’s office to make a legal assessment of Nikolayev’s remarks concerning the case against him."

Originally, Primorsky Krai launched a criminal investigation against Nikolayev and charged him with embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

. It also appealed to the city court, requesting that Nikolayev's duties as city mayor be halted while the investigation was ongoing. Soon after, the city court temporarily dismissed Nikolayev from his office, stating, "Nikolayev should not have the power to influence his subordinates during an investigation carried out against him."
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