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Russian Border Town Seeks To Join Estonia

The bridge over the Narva River separates the Estonian city of Narva from Ivangorod in Russia.
The bridge over the Narva River separates the Estonian city of Narva from Ivangorod in Russia.
IVANGOROD, Russia -- People in the Russian town of Ivangorod on the border with Estonia have sent a petition to the Russian and Estonian presidents urging them to allow their town to become part of Estonia, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Ivangorod City Council Deputy Yury Gordeyev wrote the letter and sent the petitions to Moscow and Tallinn with the signature of some 660 citizens of Ivangorod, which has a population of about 11,000.

Gordeyev told RFE/RL the petition states that since Ivangorod and some other districts along the Russian-Estonian border were part of Estonia 300 years ago, the town should return to Estonian jurisdiction.

Ivangorod is on the eastern bank of the Narva River, just opposite the Estonian city of Narva.

Gordeyev said he has no hope that Russia's border with Estonia will be redrawn in the petitioner's favor. He said the aim of the petition is to draw attention to the town's problems.

"The arbitrariness of our bureaucrats and the complete indifference of the regional government towards our problems have forced us to this," the letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reads.

According to Gordeyev, Ivangorod's difficulties were compounded when the Ivangorod district was abolished and incorporated into the Kingisepp district three years ago. As a result, the town now receives some 50 million rubles ($1.7 million) less from the regional budget.

Another recent cause of discontent in Ivangorod is a steep rise in utility prices, which Gordeyev said are now between 60 and 100 percent higher than in neighboring Kingisepp.

"Of course there won't be any integration" of Ivangorod into Estonia, Gordeyev said. "I understand this very well. It's not within the competency of the Estonian president, but the president of Russia. But I wrote this appeal because nobody is paying attention to our problems."