Russian Families Protest Cuts In Children's Benefits
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 27, 2005
MOSCOW, RUSSIA--A group of seven children, their mothers and at least one grandmother traveled nearly 2,000 miles from Siberia to Moscow this week to protest cuts in benefits and services to their families.
The families expressed anger that the government has cut disability-related payments to below the poverty line while canceling a number of other benefits they had received until earlier this year. Those benefits include free medicine and long-distance train rides, the Associated Press reported.
"We don't want to be begging for money on the streets," said Galina Kolnogudenko, who receives a monthly allowance of $4.90 for taking care of her 13-year-old grandson at home. The boy receives a disability benefit of just $71 a month.
The group said they wanted President Vladimir Putin to pay attention to their situations and to understand that such cutbacks mean that Russians with disabilities would be even more isolated than in the past.
"The children hope he is a kind person," they sang as they got off the train in Moscow station on Thursday.
"Disabled kids appeal to Putin for better living conditions, benefits" (Associated Press via USA Today)