Staunton, September 7 – Kazan residents of the outlying regions of the city have formed an initiative group to defend their homes which the city administration plans to pull down as part of the city’s new general plan. Their first step, they have announced, is to launch an effort to recall the deputies who approved that plan (idelreal.org/a/30150692.html).
What makes this development significant is the fact that it highlights the ways in which protests about nominally “apolitical” subjects can quickly develop into the political sphere, a pattern which makes this division that Russian officials and experts have long insisted upon less meaningful than ever before.
The document forming the initiative group has been signed by residents of several apartment complexes and by those who use two parks in the area. Organizers say that they expect those living elsewhere in the city to join their effort because “one way or another, more than ten percent” of Kazan residents will suffer if the new plan is implemented.
They have decided that their best course of action is to launch a recall effort against the deputy who represents their specific district; but again, they insist, residents of other parts of the city who share the same problems are likely to join in a procedure that is established by the city charter.
Deputies can be recalled, the initiative group says, either by court action or by means of a referendum. It plans to use the latter and says that this will be organized and supervised by the attorney that they have employed to represent their interests up to now. The group says it is confident it can gather the necessary signatures and votes to achieve their goal.
The residents decided to move in this direction after five unsuccessful meetings with city officials who refused to take them seriously despite their appeals and public protests.