Poor Siberian Village Roasts Russia with Name Change to 'Syria'


It goes without saying that there are likely “forgotten” and overlooked men and women in virtually every nation and society, some more so than others.

While in many countries those men and women are compelled to continue toiling along in abject misery and impoverishment, others have found ways to make their voices heard, or at least make it more difficult to be overlooked by the distant authorities that ostensibly care about their health and well-being.

For example, take a look at the small Siberian village of Bungur in eastern Russia — population about 600 — which is about to change the name of their village into one that will hopefully grab the long-sought attention of the government in Moscow, according to RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.

The residents of the small village have grown exceedingly tired of the “pitted roads, intermittent electricity and water supplies, dilapidated housing, nonexistent health care” and other woes brought about by government inattention, and are seeking to rectify the situation by renaming their village “Syria.”

“We don’t have any expectations,” explained Sergei Zhavronkov, a local resident who started the renaming initiative. “The only thing we want is to rename Bungur as Syria. Then we will apply to the Russian Federation for humanitarian aid.”

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He and others reasoned that since the Russian government has seen fit to spend tens of millions of dollars in the Middle Eastern nation of Syria — developing military bases, rebuilding infrastructure, providing humanitarian aid — the small village within Russia’s own borders can grab a slice of those millions by sharing the same name.

“Write this,” urged Zhavronkov. “We hope that instead of Bungur there will be the Syrian Arabian Republic. We’ll invite some Arabs. The government is helping Syria and the destruction here is just as bad as it is there. But we aren’t getting any attention.”

“I’m not joking. I’m completely serious,” he added, as he explained that he has discussed the idea with other village residents and virtually all agreed that it was a good idea and worth a try.

Zhavronkov and other locals told the visiting reporter that they have attempted to garner the attention of Moscow to meet their needs for decades, to no avail.

Do you think this is a clever way for the small village to gain the attention they seek?

“I worked in a collective farm (in the Soviet period),” recalled local Aleksandr Volkov. “We saw the regional committee secretary and the other bigwigs three times a year. They came for the planting, the haymaking, and the harvest. You could ask them whatever you wanted.”

“Now there is not a single deputy in the local administration from Bungur,” he revealed, referring to the Zagorsk Rural Settlement, an administrative body that oversees about two dozen small villages in the Novokuznetsk region, the nearest large city.

Despite the village having dozens of school-aged children, there is no kindergarten or other school in the village anymore. About 18 children are bused to the nearby town of Zagorsk, while some 30 others are bused to Rassvet.

Unfortunately, the area roads are in such a dismal state of disrepair that villagers fear the buses will soon stop making the daily journey back-and-forth, leaving the villagers and their children essentially cut-off from the rest of the outside world.

“We had a school, but they ‘optimized’ it,” said Zhavoronkov. “We had a library, but it is closed. All they left was a village council and a monument to participants of World War II. There is nothing here. Just a cemetery.”

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This is a sad tale of citizens in a small village being all but forgotten about by their national — and regional — government, and is one that could likely be shared by some citizens in virtually all nations, even here in America.

It remains to be seen if this village’s gambit of changing their name to “Syria” will succeed or not in gaining them attention from Moscow.

Hopefully it doesn’t bring them the wrong sort of attention from leaders who don’t like being called out … but we have to give them props for the creative effort at hopefully making a positive change to the dreary reality they live in.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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