Starchenko, who has played two seasons in Russia’s junior ice hockey league (MHL) for Kristall Berdsk, was spotted in a public park and engaged in a conversation with a masked man, who was accompanied by members of the media.

Presumably thinking the masked questioner was just another journalist, Starchenko let fly with an expletive-laden rant at the gentleman, after it was suggested he should leave and head back home, rather than be out during the lockdown period.

“Why should I leave? Cause you’ve said so?” he ranted.

“I don’t think you f*cking got it right. Why do I need this (papers)? I came here to work out. Why should I calm down and listen to your nonsense?”

“OK, I got it, I will just go to another place to f**king work out. I’ll come back here the next hour [when] there won’t be [a problem].”

He then ranted about the media’s reporting of the new coronavirus, suggesting reports of the seriousness of the virus were exaggerated or even fabricated.

“Why all this fiction?” he continued.

“Who needs all this circus? This is a circus. All the people think it’s a circus. Only you and the TV guys say this f**king nonsense. People are f**king shocked, but you don’t give a f**k about what’s happening.”

However, the man on the receiving end wasn’t just a journalist. Behind the mask was the Mayor of Novokuznetsk, Sergey Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov posted the video of the incident on his Instagram, and used it to send a message to the public to stay committed to the lockdown and to the measures that are in place to help beat the pandemic and hasten a return to normal life once again.

“When patroling, one of the young men told me that we made this up!” he posted in Russian.

“Profanity has blocked his mind. I am posting this for everyone! Maybe he’s your friend, a relative who needs help. After all, sometimes only close people can bring the importance of such urgent questions.

“Help each other and take care of each other,” Kuznetsov added.

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