Unusual Act Of Protest: Entire Village In Middle Volga Refuses To Take Part In Elections – OpEd


All the residents of the Mari El village of Maly Shaplak have decided to protest the fact that the Russian postal service has not delivered mail to them or to neighboring villages for more than a year by deciding not to take part in the upcoming elections. The authorities are ignoring us, so we will ignore them residents say.

One resident says no one has gotten any mail for about a year, and all of them are fed up with official indifference. They have complained but nothing has happened. And postal officials have dismissed their complaints as “unreliable,” a term that in this case may constitute “a non-denial denial” (pg12.ru/publicnews/view/1067 and mariuver.com/2015/09/01/derevnja-otk/).

“They don’t think about us, but we are supposed to think about them?” he said in explaining the decision of the villagers to take this action.
This is not the first time residents of this village have been infuriated by the attitudes of outside officials. In August 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev visited Maly Shaplak during his tour of Mari El. Not only were people kept up all night waiting for him, but they were forced to wash the roads twice before he got there (mariuver.com/2010/08/11/derevnja-medvedev/).

            That incident went viral on the Internet at the time, the portal says, and led to “a quite stormy reaction among activists of the global net.”

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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