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Russian Kindergarten Staff Write Open Letter to Putin Over Rising Prices

Employees of a kindergarten in the republic of Karelia have written an open letter to President Vladimir Putin after being threatened with termination for complaining of low wages, a regional lawmaker said Monday.

"Threats of layoffs and reduced wages have been made against the employees of a kindergarten [in the town of Segezha] who earn between 6,000 and 8,000 rubles a month. … If this is really how it is — if the authorities of this district are not capable of more — then these authorities are worthless. They don't value what the population gives them, or realize why they hold their posts and what they must do," Karelia republic lawmaker Andrei Rogalevich wrote Monday on his Facebook page. He also posted the full text of the open letter.

The open letter was signed not only by kindergarten employees in the republic, but also by workers at hospitals and schools who complained of wages so low that many could barely feed themselves, according to news site Flashnord.com.

The open letter slammed local officials for living lavishly while ordinary people lived in poverty.

"Explain to us, please, how we are supposed to live, and how we should explain to our children each day that there is no money and nothing to eat. If the government wants to kill off our families, then just say so. We will seek all opportunities to saves ourselves without your help. We are responsible people — first and foremost before our own children — and we want to ensure them a worthy life," the letter read.

"Prices in stores climb by 10 rubles every night — on every product. We can't even think about new clothes, the most vital appliances or toys for our children — that's all a luxury now," the letter said.

The news comes amid rising prices on food and increased inflation as Russia fights off the effects of the plummeting price of oil and Western sanctions imposed in connection with the Ukraine crisis.

In 2014, inflation was 11.4 percent — the highest it has been since 2008 — and it is expected to climb further.

The Economic Development Ministry last week warned that food prices could climb 24 percent by the summer, RBC reported at the time.

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru

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