Mayor of militarised border municipality Pechenga wins reward for local draft

By - April 15, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer
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It was the local Pechenga town council that on the 12th of April decided that Mayor Kuznetsov personally should be rewarded for his efforts to draft young local men. Ten of the 13 council members that attended the session supported the decision, the Russian version of the Barents Observer reports.

Kuznetsov reportedly himself took part in the process that led to the 229,000 rubles reward. The sum is equivalent to more than three average salaries in the north Russian region.

Member of the local council Valentina Tadeeva voted against the proposal arguing that the money “should instead be allocated to local soldiers.”

 

Drafted men from the Pechenga rayon. Photo: town Mayor Andrei Kuznetsov on Telegram

 

The reward to Mr Kuznetsov is strongly criticised also in local social media. “What a shame,” a woman writes in a comment.

“So many people support the soldiers of the special military operation without getting anything in return, but in this case it turns out it all comes with cash,” another woman writes.

“Earlier, this was called corruption, and now it is a “reward,” a third comment reads.

Andrei Kuznetsov is a strong supporter of war and has on a number of occasions participated in patriotic pro-war events. Shortly after the full-scale Russian onslaught on Ukraine, he decorated his car with a large Z.

The municipality of Pechenga houses two major brigades that have sent thousands of of men to war. Losses have been dramatic. Already in early 2023, a Norwegian intelligence report claimed that the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade and the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade had lost up to 80 percent of their pre-war capacities.

The municipality of Pechenga is located along the border to Norway and previously had a so-called ‘friendship agreement’ with the neighbouring Norwegian municipality of Sør-Varanger. The Norwegians in March 2024 withdrew from the agreement.

“In Pechenga, Putin’s soldiers are being trained to fight in Ukraine. Enough is enough,” Mayor Magnus Mæland said.

“We cannot have friendship agreements with municipalities like Petsjenga when the mayor over there drives around with a Z on his car,” Mæland underlined.