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Russian Town Cuts Down Local Resident's Tree for New Year Decoration

The felled spruce tree in the town of Minyar seen being loaded onto a truck's flatbed. Administration of Minyarsk Settlement

Russian authorities in the Ural Mountains region of Chelyabinsk cut down a spruce tree growing on a local resident’s property so that it could be installed in a town square as a New Year decoration, the Telegram news channel Podyem reported Wednesday.

Authorities in the town of Minyar, which has a population of around 8,500 people, published a video online last week showing the felled tree being loaded onto a truck’s flatbed. 

“The most beautiful spruce tree is coming to Minyar,” the video’s description read.

Elena Shaldina, who owns the property where the tree was growing, said her husband planted the spruce more than four decades ago. 

“The administration didn't tell us anything. They didn't ask us for permission,” Shaldina told Podyem.

“Something needs to be done so that this does not go unpunished,” she said.

Officials in Minyar later apologized for cutting down the spruce, claiming that public records listed the land where the tree grew as “ownerless” since the “heirs did not register the property correctly.”

“The administration… apologizes to the family. We will strive to provide compensation for the damages caused. As a replacement for the felled spruce, we propose planting a new tree,” an official statement read. 

This was not the first time that officials in Russia have chopped town trees located on private land so that they could later be used in public spaces.

Last year, officials in central Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region cut down several blue spruce trees on private property without notifying the owner and used them as New Year decorations. 

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