The defense of animals in Krasnodar, the administrative center of the North Caucasus region in southern Russia, is turning into a dangerous business. On Sunday, the security guards of a private security firm beat up animal rights activists who came to picket the estate of Krasnodar governor Veniamin Kondratyev.
Actually, the trip to Kondratyev's mansion has become the final chord of Sunday's action in the defense of animals. And it was rebuffed by the Krasnodar authorities as best they could.
The problem is that on Sunday the animal protectionists planned a picket to stand up for the homeless animals. The action produced an impressive response among Krasnodar residents -- people actively supported the event and registered for participation.
Why the animals? The thing is that the Krasnodar territory (mostly called the Kuban in Russia by the name of the biggest river there) is the leader in the number of cases of cruelty to homeless animals.
It was in Kuban where the notorious firm Basya had worked, whose employees had been catching the animals with the help of the poison Adiline-Super. It causes painful death of an animal through asphyxiation. They did not even stop short of killing the animals right in front of children. However, it was no wonder that Basya was patronized by Kondratyev himself.
Although the governor's resolution requiring humane treatment of stray animals has been in force in Kuban since 2014, all these rules have been still only on paper.
According to the resolution, homeless animals should be placed in a shelter and transported by specially equipped vehicles. In theory, there is a whole list of requirements: how to keep animals in the shelter, to provide them first aid, to do vaccination, and also to search for owners. But is there any sense listing the things that do not work?
In reality, where are the animals supposed to be taken, if there is still not a single municipal shelter in Krasnodar? The local authorities have been talking about the construction of the shelter since 2013, but haven’t moved an inch to resolve the problem.
So far, by the decision of local authorities the issue has been solved by holding bidding contests for the services of knackers who caught and killed animals. For example, in Sochi the contests for millions of rubles were held openly until autumn 2018.
Poor animals are slaughtered brutally -- spending millions of rubles on it. As for humane measures against stray dogs and cats, the local authorities simply do not put money into the budget for shelters, vaccinations, etc.
Therefore, it would be fair to conclude that the Krasnodar inhabitants merely lost patience. That is why on Sunday they went to protest against the inhumane treatment with the animals.
However, the Krasnodar administration made a drastic twist and banned the action. The officials argued that the application for a picket had been written with mistakes, and the place had already been reserved for another action.
At the same time, steps to defame the action have started. Telegram channel Karaulny says that unknown people began to spread the information on behalf of the organizers, as if they had been paying money for participation in the picket. Therefore, the organizers forced to officially declare that they had nothing to do with the money, and they called to participate in the action by their own will.
Although the Krasnodar authorities did not approve the protest action, animal rights activists held a spontaneous picket in Chistyakovskaya Roshcha park. The main slogan of the picket was the demand to immediately start the construction of a municipal shelter for homeless animals in Krasnodar, as well as to prohibit the bidding contests for the services of knackeries.
People waved the posters saying “Animals must be in shelters, and animal abusers, in jail” and “With dogs in the shelter our region looks better.” Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of the Krasnodar territory, whose country estate had been recently discovered by the Krasnodar bloggers, also got into this mess. It turned out that Kondratyev’s estate occupies about eighty hectares: there are houses, fountains, rotundas and even a church.
The activists greeted Kondratyev with posters “You know dogs inside and out” and “That's where the dog was buried” depicted Kondratyev’s ownership. “Not a bad kennel, Mr.Kondratyev -- let me spend the night in it,” one of the posters claimed. Animal protectionists chanted: “Kondratyev off!”
It was after this protest that some of the activists went to visit Kondratyev at his country estate. But at the entrance to his mansion in the Dinskaya village the protesters’ vehicle was blocked by several cars. Then some people broke into it, hit the activists several times and confiscated their mobile phones. The assailants presented themselves as the private security guards of the estate.
“You think you are immortal?” one of the witnesses cites the chief guard's response when the activists said that they came deliberately to picket Veniamin Kondratyev’s house.
It is hard to escape a conclusion that animal welfare in Krasnodar is turning into a risky business. In essence, the local authorities apply the same methods to the animal protectionists as they do to stray animals. Except that they have not used the poison for slaughter so far. But, as they say, the best is yet to come...