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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 12th August 2016 > BURYING THE ‘UNDESIRABLES’

BURYING THE ‘UNDESIRABLES’

Russia’s 12.5 million disabled people are rarely seen in public—and some Russians prefer it that way

@marcbennetts1

“I DON’T WANT to look at children in wheelchairs!” shouted one distraught woman at a tense public meeting in eastern Siberia late last year. “I can’t do anything to help them, and I can’t look at them and cry every night over this, you understand? I don’t want to do this, and I have the right not to!”

HAPPY BABY: Actress Evelina Bledans ignored medical advice to give up her Down syndrome child to the state and regularly posts on social media about raising him.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/GETTY

The local meeting was aired by Russian state-controlled TV after disability campaigners in the city of Krasnoyarsk sparked uproar when they applied for permission to install a wheelchair ramp at the entrance to a residential building due to house an inclusive child-development center. Under Russian law, tenants must give permission before any work can be carried out on the exterior of a residential building.

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