MOSCOW — Russia’s love-hate affair with the United States took a tabloid-like turn today when a legislator known mostly for his loyalty to the Kremlin resigned because an opposition blogger had accused him of owning $2 million worth of property in Florida.
The legislator, Vladimir Pekhtin, was not only a stalwart member of the United Russia party, he chaired the ethics committee in the state Duma, the lower house of parliament. The Duma has been a passionate source of anti-American activity recently, passing laws forcing organizations that get funds from abroad to register as foreign agents, banning adoptions by Americans and flirting with limiting such Western influences as foreign films.
Last week, Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist, posted photographs and property records showing Pekhtin’s name on deeds to two Miami Beach condos and another in Ormond Beach. Pekhtin said the property was owned by his son, who lives in the United States, but both names were on the deeds.