Despite this threat of legal action, officials backed down and announced three days ago that the Nyukhcha school will remain in operation. But local people no longer trust the officials and say they will keep up their protests and take other actions to ensure that their local school won’t be “optimized” out of existence.
“We know that ‘optimization’ is a euphemism for ‘liquidation,’” local activist Konstantin Popova says. “We do not want to be liquidated!” If anyone is to be “optimized,” he said, let it be the officials in the republic education. Most of them do no useful work. “Optimize” them and thus save the schools and the people.”
He continued: “We will not allow them to reduce and optimize us! We have been living here 500 years and intend to continue to live here.” He and others are taking additional steps to ensure that is so: A few weeks ago, residents created an 11-member council to promote the development of the village.”
“In fact,” Valery Potashov says, “the appearance [of this body] has become the first step toward the restoration of local self-administration which was liquidated six years ago. Then the old Pomor village lost is administrative independence. Now, everything will depend on whether the residents take the next step” and demand self-administration for Karelia as a whole.