ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A university professor in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg is under investigation for publicly denying the Holocaust.
The Leningrad regional prosecutor's office said in a statement on March 25 that the probe was launched after preliminary investigations revealed a lecturer at a webinar for teachers on January 21 stated that the Holocaust during the World War II was "a myth" and "fiction."
The statement does not identify the professor, but the chief editor of Ekho Moskvy radio in St. Petersburg, Valery Nechai, said earlier in January that the webinar in question was held by professor Vladimir Matveyev of the St. Petersburg State University of Economy and the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
Nechai, referring to video taken from the webinar by correspondents of the online media outlet Novye Koltushi, said at the time that Matveyev stated that the number of Jews killed during the war was "exaggerated," making a conclusion that the "genocide of Jews" cannot be called a Holocaust.
The lecture's aim was to prepare teachers for lessons on the history of the Holocaust and the Red Army's liberation of prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945.
Matveyev was fired from the universities after the scandal erupted in January and is being investigated under a 2014 law against rehabilitating Nazism. He faces up to five years in prison if found guilty.