Podcast No. 42. Simon & Sergei – with Dmitry Petrov, member of the Yakimanka municipal council in Moscow

This week our guest on the podcast is Dmitry Aleksandrovich Petrov. Dmitry Aleksandrovich is deputy chair of the council of municipal deputies of the Yakimanka district in Moscow. He is also a co-founder of an environmental project for the public monitoring of air pollution levels in his district and the city more widely.

The issues we discuss in the podcast include: What is Yakimanka district? What powers do council members have? Is the public interested in municipal elections? How much time does working as a deputy take up? Why were you elected from the Yabloko party? What were the elections in 2017 like? Are local elections similar to national ones? What is the environmental project “breathe:Moscow”? How do you see the future of your municipality and the city of Moscow?

This podcast is in the Russian language. You can listen to it here:

You can also listen to the podcast on Podcasts.com,  SoundCloud,  Spotify  or  iTunes

The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “The poem ‘I enter every house on Yakimanka,’ which we remember from childhood can well apply to Dmitry Petrov. Last week Simon Cosgrove and I spent more than an hour in an interesting conversation with Dmitry, a member of the council of deputies of the Yakimanka municipal district. A huge puddle in front of the entrance to his house, which got in everyone’s way, was, as it is now called, a trigger for Dmitry.

“Over the next two and a half years, Dmitry worked to convince the local government that it was their responsibility to keep the local area in good order, and as a result of his persistent reminders and demands he achieved the desired result. ‘It’s difficult to participate in the life of the city,’ says Dmitry. The bureaucrat’s art of avoiding responsibility and issuing noncommittal responses often sends citizens who have lost hope ‘back to the sofa’ with the feeling: ‘The world is against us!’

“The desire to show people that in the city – at least on the municipal level – there can be government with a human face led Dmitry Petrov to run for deputy. I found his story about how he gathered signatures to stand for election particularly interesting, how he and his team visited all apartments (incidentally, when I lived in Moscow I never opened the door to any unexpected caller), how ten people were elected to the council of deputies of Yakimanka municipal district, of whom nine were from Yabloko and only one from United Russia.

“As to be expected, Dmitry told us how the powers of a municipal deputy (at least in Moscow) are severely restricted. As a deputy you are obliged, literally, to do very little. But if you want you can work to achieve quite major and important things for the city.

“The full verse of Agniya Barto’s poem sounds a little frightening: ‘I enter every house in Yakimanka. And I put iron scrap on my sled at every gate.’ Dmitry Petrov does not need iron scrap, and he does not need a sled. It seems to me that he is an excellent deputy, ready to help people, and he sees his main task as follows: ‘I would like at least some of those people whom I serve to rid themselves of the false notion of their own supposed helplessness’.”

Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here

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