Who Wears Pants in Amur Region?

Who Wears Pants in Amur Region?

Photo: https://news.myseldon.com/ru/

Russians have somewhat clouded relationship with charity. The country took an honorable place in the second hundred countries in the international ratings of readiness to help their neighbors in the 2010s.

According to surveys, only 13% of Russians do charity on a monthly basis. It turns out that it is only part of the trouble as problems can arise even when there is someone to help and with what. The breaking news from Kaluga is a vivid example of this. “A businessman stopped an action of giving away free bread to pensioners, because the old people insulted the salespeople, fought and complained to the prosecutor's office about the queues.”

Large companies are the main benefactors in the regions. A paved road, a repaired playground and a laid-out garden is the usual set of compliments from corporations to the locals. However, as in the case of bread distribution, people may behave in a very counterintuitive manner.

The local branch of Transneft is donating a residential house with 18 apartments, which was previously intended for the company's employees, to the city. Its total cost is 70 million rubles ($1.31 mln.) The generous gift could not have come at a better time as the prices for square meters in the region, like in the whole country, have recently skyrocketed. In Belogorsk, it was almost on 10 % last year. There are not fewer people on the waiting list such as fire victims, families with many children, and people displaced from the dilapidated housing. In general, the cherished meters are just manna from heaven and free political points for regional officials.

Some time later, local deputy Nikolay Afanasyev sent a request to the administration. He inquired about the gift: who had been relocated and whether they were happy with the new living space. Surprisingly, the deputy's ordinary request was not only ignored by those in charge, but also elicited a harsh reaction from local media outlets around the city. “Unusual deputy,” “local Klitschko,” “he should have asked about the color of his underpants,” as the anonymous authors barked.

It has to be said Afanasyev is lucky, because the level of political discussion in the region reaches back to the Middle Ages. The same Telegram channels which, of course, have nothing to do with the authorities and sing the praises of “loud openings” like benches in the park for nothing usually in response to criticism of the authorities call the opposition deputies incompetent dullards, fools, and earthworms. The tone is set by Stanislav Melyukov, who has not been replaced since 2008. He was recently asked why the city administration had signed a road repair contract with a contractor they had sued for failing to perform the work and why the new pavement did not even come close to meeting GOST standards. In response, the local head called the concerned citizens Bandera activists who want to “hold a Maidan here and fuck everything up,” and accused the deputies who sent the request of “cheap PR.”

Here you might think that Melyukov is just very concerned that in last year's elections, as the secretary of the local branch of United Russia, he failed in the campaign. It was the Communists who won the majority of seats. So, he opposes the opposition as best he can. Somebody might even say, “Well, why this is so impartant? Can it be that the officials in a town of 60,000 inhabitants, where everybody is in open view, can dispose of an entire house in a wrong way?”

Well, here are excerpts from the news in recent years. In May of this year, law enforcement officers detained Melyukov's deputy for housing and utilities. According to investigators, he distributed the state budget for park improvement in favor of his son's company (the scheme is ingenious!) and made a whole bunch of machinations with municipal contracts for which, incidentally, his subordinate is already in jail. Interestingly, Melyukov himself recently proposed his son as his successor, praising the hereditary “qualities necessary for the head of the city.”

In another case, the chairman of Belogorsk's property relations committee was recently sentenced to seven years in the slammer. This figure was giving away municipal property at auctions with a large discount, demanding, of course, solid compensation.

In general, the people around the mayor are not only eager for other people's property, but also quite unsophisticated. Therefore, the deputy's questions seem not only correct from the point of view of the law, but also common sense. How else to save people's property without resorting to tenfold increase in the staff of the local FSB? While the administration, as if not noticing the growth of people's suspicion, is hiding who settled in the donated house, the deputy continues to receive insults, the law-enforcement agencies probably fill new folders with materials, and the rating of the party of power in Belogorsk is decreasing.

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