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


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


“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.

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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