A despairing real estate buyer who set herself on fire in the office of Russia’s ruling United Russia party in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Wednesday has died of severe burns, the regional forensic medicine department said on Sunday.
“The woman has died. We can’t give any other details,” the department said.
Veronika Gerasimova, aged 61, was hospitalized with burns over 90 percent of her body and the damaged respiratory tract. A United Russia lawyer who tried to put out the fire is recovering from burns to his face and his arms.
United Russia official Nadezhda Boltenko has said the woman was displeased with her meeting with the party staff, which prompted her to set herself on fire.
“And so she took out a glass case, a dry napkin, and a lighter and set herself on fire,” Boltenko said.
The woman paid for an apartment in a building under construction, but thought the completed apartment was subpar and sued the developer, Taiga.info local news website said.
Gerasimova sought legal help from United Russia in 2011, but nevertheless lost her court case, Boltenko told journalists.
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.
Russians 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.su.