Protest against governor in Penza: real estate investors put up stall, opposition spreads out flags and posters
Penza, 31 August 2018. PenzaNews. The rally against the attribution of the title "Honorary Citizen of Penza" to governor Ivan Belozertsev endorsed by the court and held near the City Hall before the 48th regular session of the City Duma in the morning on August 31 united representatives of the Left Front movement, A Just Russia party and the so-called Homeless Regiment established by deceived real estate investors.
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People lined up at the monument to the Soviet Constitution facing the main entrance of the building. Participants of the protest action held posters with inscriptions "Deputies, stop gaining favour with the governor!", "Belozertsev is an honorary citizen of Penza. Are there no other candidates?", "Belozertsev is an honorary citizen. For what services?", "Assignment of the title of Penza honorary citizen to Belozertsev is a slap in the face to all honorary citizens".
One of the posters represented a large photograph depicting Ivan Belozertsev shaking hands with Valentin Zhuravlev – head of the bankrupt company Penzastroy, which had failed to finish the construction of several buildings. The caption read: "Why does the cuckoo praise rooster without fear of sin? Because the rooster praises the cuckoo."
In addition, one of the protesters held a large white sheet of paper depicting Valentin Zhuravlev with a capture reading "This honorary citizen failed to finish construction", and his mate nearby had another photo – a photo of Ivan Belozertsev – with the inscription reading "Will he manage to finish?" The following was written in small print below: "2016 – failure, 2017 – no God's will, 2018 – no good luck, 2019 – ?". It also contained a quote of the region head: "The construction of all unfinished houses of OJSC Penzastroy in the city of Penza will be completed at no additional cost from deceived real estate investors".
In addition, there was a red and white tape strung near the monument to the Soviet Constitution with attached paper sheets reading "No entry".
Aside from the main group of the participants, construction investors set up a stall at the lawn, placed a small pot on a tripod, put chairs and a small table. The construction investor of residential development Raiki, Mikhail Krap, made himself comfortable there and treated everyone with tea from a thermos.
As it was reported by Oleg Vikulov, section manager of the department for law violation prevention and civil and religious organizations issues of the Penza city administration, it was necessary to obtain a special permission for placement of the stall, which had not been done.
In this regard the official ordered to remove it reminding that such actions entailed administrative responsibility, but the protesters refused.
Simultaneously with the conduct of the protest event near the Penza City Hall, about 12 workers of public utilities started vigorous activity. They diligently swept the territory, cared for the plants in the garden, cleaned the steps of the building and the pavement using a watering machine.
After about half an hour from the beginning of the action, a special-purpose vehicle with brushes, which drove to the fenced area, intervened in the process. There was also a Gazel of the municipal enterprise Zelenoye Khozyaystvo Goroda Penzy parked nearby.
During the rally, a significant part of City Duma members including deputy city head Ivan Krasnov passed by the protesters. City Duma member Denis Zhelikhovsky watched the protest with interest for some time from the parking.
Commenting on the essence of the campaign against governor Ivan Belozertsev, coordinator of Left Front in the Volga Federal District Sergei Padalkin explained that according to the movement there were people in Penza worthier of the reward than Ivan Belozertsev – both living and deceased ones who had made their mark on history, for example Georg Myasnikov.
He also noted that in Soviet times the title of Honorary Citizen had been awarded to factory workers, doctors and builders having significant rewards but since 2000 undeserving people had very often been granted the title.
"What outstanding things has he [Ivan Belozertsev] done for the city that the honorary title should be conferred on him?" the opposition activist asked.
In turn, press secretary of Homeless Regiment Evgeny Malyshev said that construction investors had decided to join the protest because over the last year "not a single brick" had been laid at the problem objects of the companies Penzastroy and Decor-Trade.
"If we held a housewarming party by New Year, I would be the first one to plead for the governor's receiving the honorary title," he said.