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Russian Mothers Begin Hunger Strike Over Lack Of Kindergartens

"Let's try the next place, kids."
"Let's try the next place, kids."
VOLGOGRAD, Russia -- Sixteen young mothers in the southern Russian city of Volgograd have launched a three-day hunger strike to highlight the lack of kindergartens in the region, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The women, who are members of the "Affordable Preschool Education for Russian Children" movement, picketed the Volgograd Oblast administration building on April 14, complaining that city kindergartens are overcrowded and will not accept their children.

They held placards with phrases like "My Son Did Not Attend Kindergarten And So He Will Not Serve In The Army," "United Russia! We Apologize For Giving Birth!" and "Build New Kindergartens Instead Of Paying Bureaucrats' Salaries!"

Volgograd Oblast Duma deputy Nikolai Parshin met with the hunger strikers on April 15 and took their written demands.

The women are insisting on additional funding for existing kindergartens and construction of new ones, as well as a salary increase for kindergarten teachers. They also want kindergarten places to be available for all children in the region by April 2013.

They say that until then, the parents of children for whom no kindergarten slots are available should receive financial compensation equal to $180 per month until the child starts attending elementary school.

The hunger strikers also demand that their children should be allocated places in local kindergartens by May 1. They say they will resume their hunger strike on May 4 if their demands are not met.

Read more in Russian here