Governor quits over mall fire

"I believe this is the only right and thoughtful decision for me", Tuleyev said, "because one can't work as a governor with such a heavy moral burden; it's just not right". He was the governor of Kemerovo region for 20 years.

The governor of Russia's Kemerovo region that was struck by a fire last month that killed more than 60 people at a shopping centre said he was resigning from his post.

President Vladimir Putin, who flew to Kemerovo on Tuesday to meet with Tuleyev and other officials, said at the time it was premature to talk about resignations. His current term was due to expire in 2020.

The administration of Russia's Kemerovo Region said on Sunday that it had received over 800 petitions from citizens following the deadly fire in a mall in the regional capital. Tuleyev is stepping down as governor of Kemerovo Region before the expiration of his tenure, the administration official told Sputnik on Sunday. I have met with the families of the victims, tried to solve the problems with delivering assistance [to the victims and their families]. "I want to say to you, the residents of Kemerovo and the entire region, that I will do everything to ensure that those guilty in this awful tragedy are brought the strictest punishment". Again, I offer my deep apologies.

Last Sunday's fire, one of the deadliest in Russian Federation since the break-up of the Soviet Union, swept through a cinema complex and children's play area on the upper floors of the Winter Cherry shopping centre in the regional capital. But we have to live, we have to move on.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted Tuleyev's resignation and signed a decree providing for the early termination of his authority, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Thousands of Kemerovo residents held protests over the past few days, demanding the resignation of local officials after the deadly fire. Emergency exits were found to have been locked or blocked and the building's fire alarm system was off.

The owner of the shopping mall and the regional chief building inspector have been detained and could face years in prison, investigators said on Friday.

  • Rogelio Becker