A 56-year-old Russian woman from the Urals set herself on fire in front of the main government building in Moscow,just two weeks after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited her region for a rally supporting his presidential bid.
The woman, who came to Moscow from the city of Nizhny Tagil, was taken to hospital with burns on her face and arms after guards on duty extinguished the fire and called an ambulance, the news agency Interfax reported on Sunday.
“She did not make any demands before the act of self-immolation. She was not carrying any placards, therefore the reasons for the attempted suicide are not known yet,” the Interfax agency quoted an unnamed law enforcement officer as saying.
The woman approached an entrance to the White House building usually used by the press, poured petrol over herself and ignited a fire, the agency reported. Officials at the Sklifisivsky Hospital, where she was taken, declined to comment.
Putin, broadly expected to win the March 4 presidential elections, visited the city of Yekaterinburg, some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Moscow and about 80 miles from Nizhny Tagil, at the end of January for a rally that was the first attempt to mobilize the Russian working class and offset the opposition protests that have united the country’s growing middle class.
But Nizhny Tagil, an industrial town where Russia’s modern tanks are produced, has also struggled with crime and drugs. It is the home of the controversial City Without Drugs Foundation, whose rehabilitation methods include keeping patients locked up while they suffer withdrawal symptoms.