Russia: Shovel snow yourselves, says city politician

A woman shovels snow in St Petersburg Image copyright AFP
Image caption People should get off their sofas and start shovelling, according to St Petersburg's deputy governor

A Russian politician has irked residents in St Petersburg by saying people should clear snow from the city's streets themselves, it's reported.

Deputy Governor Igor Albin made the comment after city authorities were criticised for not keeping the roads clear following heavy snow, the Meduza news website reports. One complaint came from magazine editor Pavel Smolyak, who says in a Facebook post that he slipped and almost fell over because the road hadn't been cleared. But there isn't much sympathy from Mr Albin, a member of the city's development and maintenance committees, who describes dependence on government services as "the disease of modern Russian society". People expect help to "do their dishes, maintain the yard, raise their children, protect them from foreign aggressors, and put things in order in their country and their home", he says. Mr Albin suggests that instead of watching television, people should grab a shovel and get digging, adding that physical activity is "good for one's health and helps to order one's thoughts".

His suggestions haven't gone down well with some residents, who took to social media to point out they're paying taxes to the city government to maintain the streets. Others opted for an ironic tone. "If there is a fire, then do not call the fire brigade. You need to call your neighbours, grab a bucket and douse the flames yourself," says musician Mikhail Shevchuk. "If you are robbed, there's no need to call the police. You should gather all your friends, find the culprit and lynch him."

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