Sunday, July 30, 2023

Why Russian Countryside is Dying: Karelian Village Lacks Potable Water, Aspirin, Telephones and ATMs – And Won’t Be Getting Them

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 26 – The just under 100 residents of Prirechny, just east of the Karelian capital of Petrozavodsk and not far from Russia’s border with NATO member Finland, no longer have potable water, telephones or ATMs and won’t be getting them anytime soon if at all, residents and officials say.

            The villagers say that they are “cut off from the entire Russian Federation and live between heaven and earth;” while officials insist that the village has been sent money to improve things, although no one knows where it has gone, and that it is too small to save ( and

            Since the last decades of Soviet power, villages in the Russian Federation have been dying by the hundreds of thousands but because they are small and isolated, they seldom are treated as anything more than a statistic. But these reports are a reminder both that there are real people living there and that the situation they face is a tragedy for more than just them.

            When people have to travel 70 kilometers just to get an aspirin, let alone see a nurse or doctor, and when they can’t count on having safe water to drink, that represents an indictment of the entire Putin system which appears to rest on the assumption that such people can be discarded, an attitude that ultimately undermines the country as a whole.

            For a broader portrait of this death of a way of life and why it is anything but natural, see, and

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