Staunton, July 31 – In the first part of his essay on the murder of Russian villages by the state, Nikolay Begiyev discussed Moscow’s destruction of the economic basis of the Russian village (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/07/russian-villages-arent-dying-natural.html). Now, in the second, he talks about how the center is making village life a living “hell.”
“In many areas of public life,” the APN commentator says, “in the course of the last few years have been introduced methods of ‘social prophylaxis’ again legal violations which can only be called draconian because they have broadened the number of actions that can be classified as against the law” (apn.ru/index.php?newsid=37952).
Protecting people against the dangers of fire is a good thing; doing it the way Moscow lawmakers are is not, especially for villagers whose ways of living have been ignored by those who have passed these new pieces of legislation apparently completely ignorant of how people live in villages across the country.
For example, he says, villagers are now prevented from lighting any fire to dispose of trash or to cook food “less than 50 meters” from where they live. Those who ignore this absurd requirement can be fined as much as 5,000 rubles (80 US dollars), an enormous amount for poor villagers who have always lit fires not far from where they live.
And the fire brigades have the right to impose the fines directly, as they did in a notorious case recently when a one-armed man with no legs was fined for burning grass near his home in Bashkortostan, something his physical limitations blocked him from doing but the law did not prevent hi being fined (bash.news/news/96334_v_bashkirii_za_neskoshennuyu_travu_oshtrafovali_invalida_bez_ruki_i_nog).
Similar absurdities are happening with regard to electricity networks and bottled gas. Among the worst in the first is a requirement that new wiring be introduced and paid for by villagers if the authorities – in this case, the electric company that benefits—decides that existing wiring is out of date and dangerous.
Among the worst in the latter is a new ban on the storage of any bottled gas in residences even though that is where it is used and even though most villagers do not have garages where it might be placed. Instead, they are expected to store it at a price, of course, in communal depositories and then retrieve it as needed, say for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In some parts of rural Russia, the approved communal depositories are located dozens of kilometers away from where people live thereby making criminals of those who behave rationally and keep the bottled gas where they can use it, Begiyev says.
What is especially offensive to villagers is that Moscow, the regional authorities and communal service monopolies work hand in glove to profit the monopolies and remove from the center and the regions requirements to provide essential services often at prohibitive prices that villagers can’t afford. But if they don’t pay, they face even larger fines.
If one didn’t know better, Bergiyev concludes, one could only assume that these legal arrangements have been set up by “a network of anti-Russian agents” who want to set the villages against Moscow and have their residents join in the kind of protest that took place in Moscow on July 27.