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'Plagued' By The Census


Inmates march before taking part in Russia's general census at a male prison camp outside the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on October 18.

Inmates march before taking part in Russia's general census at a male prison camp outside the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on October 18.

While the Russian census may seem innocuous enough, protesters in a few Russian cities see it as the long arm of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and are refusing to take part.

Protesters say they are against the census because "it doesn't have any effect on the country's economic situation or...any other things" and merely helps the government gather information about citizens' political persuasions that will be used later to round up dissenters.

In Moscow, Eduard Limonov's opposition coalition, Other Russia, staged a protest outside the offices of Rosstat, Russia's statistical agency, under the banner "Don't Let Yourself Be Counted."

Six people from Other Russia are on a hunger strike till the end of the census, which started on October 14 and will go to October 25.

In Kirov, around 6,000 people are refusing to take part in the census, while in Yekaterinburg flyers read: "Census takers are peddling the plague. Census takers are special agents." There have also been unconfirmed reports of residents in Yekaterinburg attacking census workers.

The census is voluntary. Rosstat states in its press release about the census that should a citizen refuse to participate in the census, their age and sex will be ascertained from the local housing authorities.

-- Ashley Cleek

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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