Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Kirov Oblast Villagers Support War Memorial Even When The War hasn’t Affected Them Directly and They Don’t have Basic Services

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 28 – The village of Spasskoye in Kirov Oblast appears to have been little affected by Putin’s war in Ukraine: no one from there has been mobilized, there are no new graves at the cemetery, and no one has put signs celebrating the conflict. But the war has sparked  discussions among the population and has imposed new burdens on a hard-pressed people.

            According to a report by The New Tab news portal, Spasskoye residents talk frequently about the war and have a wide variety of reactions ranging from incredulity to support to opposition (thenewtab.io/reportazh-iz-vyatskogo-sela-spasskoe-gde-ne-mogut-pochinit-vodoprovod-no-chut-ne-postavili-pamyatnik-voyne/).

            But they have donated funds for the army at the front, and almost a year ago, officials from the oblast suggested that they should erect a monument to the war and choose between a tank, a missile launcher and a cannon to be its centerpiece. Initially, people thought Moscow would pay but now they have found out that they will have to bear the cost directly.

            Village officials took aa poll via the Internet in which more than 200 people took part: 47 percent voted for the tank, while 39 percent voted for the rocket launcher. Fewer than eight percent took the occasion to vote against spending money on such a monument when there are so many needs that aren’t being met.

            The village no longer has an effective water supply. It doesn’t have an apothecary or medical point. It doesn’t have good transportation links to places where these exist. And its local library hasn’t had any new books in a decade except for contributions of religious literature from the Russian Orthodox Church.

            Anastasiya Skurikhina, a local Ne the only thing they are rated on is how they are conducting pro-war propaganda and keeping people quiet. “No one there needs anything else anymore,” she says.

            “Therefore,” Shurikhina continues, “I believe proposals like ‘let’s bring you a rank’ rather than ‘let’s solve the water problem’ are a spit in the face of the population by the authorities. And it is sad that the people don’t understand that.” Instead, each lives its own life with the people prepared to defer to the powers but not caring much about them otherwise.

            No one has been willing to take the job of the top official in the village because the pay is too low; and no one cared about the decision to do away with elections for a village council. When a meeting was held to discuss that, not a single Spasskoye resident showed up, a measure of the mutual isolation of the people and the politicians.

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