A group of protesting coal miners from Gukov in the Rostov region and Nikolai Mironov, the head of the Center for Economic and Political Reforms, filed a lawsuit against Fyodorov, claiming that they were publicly insulted by his comments.

According to the plaintiffs’ report, Fyodorov’s words “reflect the typical attitude of the Russian authorities to their opponents, and symbolize their refusal to engage in dialogue.”

They now demand a public apology from Fyodorov to be published on Dozhd’s website.

The miners are associated with the KingCoal mining enterprise in the Rostov region. The company has suffered several stages of bankruptcy, and the miners have been protesting against the non-payment of salaries for the past several years.

A series of corruption schemes has increased the total debt to the miners to 374 million rubles ($6 million), RBC reported. Police detained the miners in December 2016 when they attempted to protest in Moscow.

Mironov, who took a stand in support of the miners, explained to RBC that in taking this issue to court they hope to attract public attention to social problems.

“For the miners, this is very offensive,” Mironov said. “They were abused and degraded.”

“They still haven’t received everything that they were entitled to by law, and all of a sudden it turns out that everyone who protests and is dissatisfied with Putin’s rule, is ‘scum’ and doesn’t love their motherland.”