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  2. The Congress of the Komi people started in Syktyvkar. Not everyone was allowed into the meeting room

The Congress of the Komi people started in Syktyvkar. Not everyone was allowed into the meeting room

Dmitry Stepanovsky, photos by the author
Picket at the theater building

The Congress of the Komi people and the election of the chairman of the Komi Voityr ('Komi people') interregional public movement began in Syktyvkar at the Savin Drama Theater on February 14, the correspondent of 7x7 reported from the Congress.

About 15 police officers were standing near the theater building, and three members of the National Guard were at the entrance. Not everyone was allowed inside the theater: two women (delegates) of the Congress asked for passports and checked with lists. Only Komi Voityr delegates and invitees were allowed in. The organizers explained this by the fact that the hall could hold only 400 people.

15 people were not allowed inside. Activist Vera Ivanova held a one-person picket on the steps of the theater demanding to allow them to the Congress as listeners. According to her, they were not allowed inside because of their "active civil position".


Social activists were displeased with the fact that the Congress of the Komi people was held behind closed doors and you could only get there by invitation. They showed the correspondent a collective represntation addressed to Alexey Gabov, the acting chairman of the Executive Committee of Komi Voityr with a request to allow them to the meeting.

- They don't want anything to change in the Republic. We made lists and were ignored, - activists told.

Ilya Kostin, the head of the public human rights organization for people with disabilities who arrived in a wheelchair, was not allowed into the building for a long time «because of the small capacity of the theatre». He explained that he did not need a seat, but the organizers still did not let him in.

Ilya Kostin at the entrance to the Congress

- Imagine a glass of water with a volume of 100 milliliters. We cannot pour 50 milliliters on top, 20. With all the pleasure, unfortunately, I cannot let you in, — Alexey Gabov, the acting chairman of Komi Voityr, told him.

He explained that it was necessary to write the representation with a request to take part in the Congress in advance. When the activists wanted to give him a copy of the rejected representation, Gabov left.

After 40 minutes, Kostin was admitted to the hall in a wheelchair. The others remained in the lobby.

The Komi Voityr interregional public movement is the only organization in the region that has the right to suggest its own draft laws in accordance with Article 75 of the Constitution of the Komi Republic.


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