Ural town residents turned out to be “unprofitable” for officials

Why invest in infrastructure for the poor?

The officials in one of the Sverdlovsk region towns explained to local residents that helping them is pointless because they are old and poor. The presidential administration approved of this cynical conclusion. Since last year, residents of Novaya Lyalya have been unsuccessfully fighting for the gasification of their residential buildings. The mayor refused to help them — but he installed the gas pipeline personally for himself.

Город Новая Ляля
Novaya Lyalya

The story began last year, when residents of the Zarechny microdistrict turned to the local authorities with a request to finally install a gas pipeline. The request was supported by 39 sheets of collected signatures. However, local officials refused. Despite the presence of a ready-made gasification scheme, authorities refuse to give it a go. The reason is traditional: there is «no money» in the budget. But it turns out that this verdict applies only to mere mortals. According to the local resident Vyacheslav Firsov, the town mayor, Sergei Bondarenko, refused to help the townspeople, but he took care of himself — he extended the gas pipeline to his house. Moreover, the gas pipeline passed through the very Zarechny microdistrict, for the gasification of which “there is no money”.

Having received the mayor’s refusal, local residents wrote a letter to the Presidential Administration. The response from this reputable body shocked them. Vyacheslav Firsov told the reporters:

“We received a letter in which, in fact, there is discrimination by age and property status. They wrote that we are 49 years old and that our average salary is only 12 thousand. They think that we are not people and it is not profitable to help us. Shall we just start marching to the cemetery at this point?»

Indeed, one of the arguments in the letter against the gasification of the district was an indication of the age and income of local residents. This was followed by a stereotypical phrase about «budget constraints.»

The letter from the administration
The letter from the administration

According to local residents, this answer in the style of the theory of “social Darwinism” flagrantly violates the Russian constitution, where, in particular, it says:

“The state guarantees the equality of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, regardless of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official position, place of residence …” (Article 19, paragraph 2)

But does the Constitution in Russia mean anything?