A despairing real estate buyer set herself on fire in the office of Russia’s ruling United Russia party in the city of Novosibirsk on Wednesday.
Veronika Gerasimova was hospitalized in critical condition, emergency workers said.
A United Russia lawyer who tried to put out the fire was also hospitalized, and three of his colleagues required medical treatment from smoke poisoning, said party official Nadezhda Boltenko.
Various media outlets gave Gerasimova’s age between 50 and 60. The Investigative Committee, which opened a probe into the incident, said she was born in 1955.
“She was displeased with her meeting [with party staff], and so she took out a glass case, a dry napkin, and a lighter and set herself on fire,” said Boltenko, the speaker of the legislature in the Siberian city.
Party officials believed Gerasimova’s claims “unfeasible” but still struggled to help the woman, who was overly emotional and often dissolved into tears in the party’s office, Boltenko said.
She did not elaborate or identify the real estate developer. Party officials in Novosibirsk could not be reached for comment by numerous phone numbers listed on their website.
Prospective landlords in Russia are frequently swindled by real estate developers when purchasing apartments under construction. A support group for victims of such swindles, Committee for Help: Housing, Land, People, listed 500,000 members nationwide, according to Help.