Russian-Born UMass Teacher Tells Police ‘Putin Tells Me I Can’ Hit My Wife

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Russian-born math professor arrested for assault shocked Massachusetts police when he declared Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him permission to hit his wife.

Lowell police found UMass-Lowell professor Konstantin Rybnikov, 42, Tuesday morning in a house strewn with garbage, fleas, dirty dishes, and animal excrement.

Rybnikov was “passed out” in a bed when police confronted him about the domestic violence complaint.

"I can hit my wife whenever I need to, Putin tells me I can,” Rybnikov told officers.

He resisted arrest by kicking and punching officers before he was subdued and taken into custody.

Police also found an extremely malnourished dog, covered in fleas. The animal was in such poor condition it was sent to a local animal hospital.

"The dog began to shake and was in desperate need of care," police wrote.

A cat, which also lives in the house, couldn’t be located due to all the garbage in the home.

The Board of Health was notified.

Due to his level on intoxication Rybnikov was taken to Lowell General Hospital, Saints Campus.

Hospital staff described him as disruptive, shouting and telling someone to call the CIA.

He allegedly threatened to "kill all of you when I get out” and spit on hospital staff, police said.

He insisted he had to be released to teach class this morning. If his RateMyProfessors score is any indication, he wouldn’t have been missed.

"Never take a class with this man ever. I REPEAT! NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!" wrote one student.

"Terrible at everything. Talks low with thick Russian accent so hard to understand. Doesnt follow the book, which is also very useless," wrote another.

Rybnikov pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, assault, animal cruelty, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for April 23.

His wife, Michelle Rooney Rybnikov, also pleaded not guilty to a charge of animal cruelty.

Sources: Lowell Sun, Rare