Hot chat around Kostroma

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At the same time, their faith in positive change is diminishing and many are reed to seeing no improvements in their lifetime.

Hot chat around Kostroma

Voters will cast ballots Sunday across Russia to elect local legislators and governors, and the Kostroma region, which includes Galich, was alone among 11 regions voting for regional parliaments in allowing the anti-Putin opposition to run. Kostroma, an economically depressed area ranked 79 out of the 83 Russian regions in average income, is best known for the unkempt beauty of its crumbling medieval churches and weedy banks of the Volga River. Once the heartland of the medieval Russian state, its capital Kostroma is a typical provincial city with potholed ro.

Hot chat around Kostroma

But with election authorities refusing them registration elsewhere, opposition activists were left to canvass in Kostroma and places around it, like the sleepy medieval market town of Galich with 17, people. In the presidential election, Putin won about 53 percent of the vote in the Kostroma region, with turnout at about 61 percent. On Sunday, most voters are likely to stay home.

Petersburg into cosmopolitan centers where you can get a Frappuccino even in the most remote neighborhood. Life in Galich, however, has remained largely unchanged.

Hot chat around Kostroma

Most people still live in one-story wooden cottages with slanted roofs and carved window frames and rely on the food grown in their gardens. The main difference is that many young men now go to Moscow to work on construction sites or as security guards in one of the dozens of shopping malls. But with the economic downturn, aggravated by Western sanctions and flagging energy prices, jobs are more difficult to come by, even in Moscow.

Hot chat around Kostroma

Shatunov spent April to October last year outside Moscow, building summer cottages and bathhouses. This year, he said, demand was low and he was there just for a couple of weeks. His neighbor, year-old Natalya Gruzdeva, helps her son and daughter-in-law with their three children since she is out of work and past retirement age, which is 55 for women in Russia. These loans are now overdue.

Hot chat around Kostroma

She is discouraged but convinced that Putin is not to blame. If only, she sighs, he could visit Galich and see it for himself, rather than relying on what local officials tell him. But here in the Kostroma region, its candidates have been careful to steer the conversation away from politics and focus instead on concrete issues.

Ilya Yashin, a Moscow political activist and ally of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, said the Kremlin allowed them to run in Kostroma because of how difficult it is to campaign here, with 60 percent of the population living in villages and small towns.

Even though village voters have never supported the liberal opposition, he said he has been well received because he travels to places so remote that local bureaucrats rarely venture there.

Hot chat around Kostroma

Standing under the roof of a whitewashed medieval market arcade, opposition activist Nikolai Levshits hands out leaflets and asks passers-by to vote for RPR-Parnas. During a chat with the police chief in the village of Antropovo, Levshits said he was asked what he thought about the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

With the Crimea land grab in MarchRussian state television ramped up its patriotic message. Coverage has glossed over pressing domestic problems such as poor health care and crumbling housing, focusing instead on international issues and largely portraying the world as a hostile and dangerous place. A year on, the strategy seems to have paid off as residents of struggling towns like Galich say their problems are nothing compared to the violence in Ukraine or Syria.

Solovyeva, unlike her neighbors, says she will vote on Sunday. Sections U. Few jobs and little hope, but rural Russia sticks with Putin. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Hot chat around Kostroma

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