The head of Sviyazhsk is accused of doghunting

The inhabitants of the island town of Sviyazhsk believe that local authorities poisoned the beloved dog, Buyan, to intimidate the unruly population

The head of Sviyazhsk is accused of doghunting Photo: change.org

The island town of Sviyazhsk, which appears in the news only in connection with visits of high-ranking officials from UNESCO, is being shaken today. Local peaceful way of life has been violated by dog hunters. What is more, local residents accuse officials of brutal murder of a dog. According to a petition published on the Internet, the dog Buyan, who was the attraction of the island and the favourite of tourists, was poisoned at the initiative of the head of the rural locality, Vladislav Chetverkin, and with the support of Sviyazhsk inhabitants themselves, who at a gathering of the rural settlement voted for killing the everyone's favourite. Read the details in the article of Realnoe Vremya.

''In broad daylight, on the eve of the holiday on March 8th, with a large number of tourists…''

''In a picturesque, tourist place, where the monastery is included in UNESCO World Heritage List, on the island town of Sviyazhsk, in broad daylight, on the eve of the holiday on March 8th, with a large number of tourists… there took place the brutal murder of an animal (by poisoning) — the dog named Buyan,'' so it begins the petition published on the Internet. The author claims that the dog, who was the guardian and mascot of the island, a favourite of locals and tourists, was poisoned at the direction of the head of Sviyazhsk, Vladislav Chetverkin, and with the support of some local residents.

''The decision to murder the dog was taken at a meeting of residents of Sviyazhsk, which was attended by less than 20% of the total population, and it is home to approximately 250 people. The initiator of all this madness was the head of Sviyazhsk, Chetverkin Vladislav Vitalyevich. No other alternatives were considered. The owner of the dog was not present at the meeting. They decided to carry out the poisoning of Buyan, his girlfriend Lyalka, with which he had been living for many years, and their puppies, that is — the whole family. By happy coincidence, the mother with the puppies managed to escape,'' said in the petition.

According to the residents, Buyan was an intelligent dog, in appearance like a big white bear – no tourists he left indifferent, almost every second visitor of the island has a photo with him. Buyan really trusted people and he liked being photographed. He even learned to pose. Many who visits the island not for the first time used to bring a treat for him.

The author claims that the dog, who was the guardian and mascot of the island, a favourite of locals and tourists, was poisoned at the direction of the head of Sviyazhsk, Vladislav Chetverkin, and with the support of some local residents. Photo: prav. tatarstan.ru

Local residents didn't stand up for the dog, being frightened by the officials?

The islanders themselves decide to eliminate the dog, which was almost worshiped, — the situation is absurd, but locals say that's exactly what happened. The decision was made at the meeting on February 26th. On the condition of anonymity, one of the participants told the details.

''We were talking about dogs, that they must be kept on a leash. And when we began talking about Buyan, the owner did not respond, he didn't attend the meeting. They decided that since the dog was unattended, it was necessary to take action. The head said that in Zelenodolsk district there was no such service, but in Kazan there was,'' said the interlocutor of Realnoe Vremya.

According to him, everyone at the meeting knew that Buyan had the owner, but they said nothing: ''We are all intimidated. Because the documents, permissions are issued in the village council, and the officials not always issue them, obstruct, so the locals are very intimidated.'' The owner of the dog, according to the interlocutor of Realnoe Vremya, also grieved for his dog, but he is not going to seek and punish the offenders. ''He said to me, ''I'm afraid, I have a business here, a stall, I have the family to feed.''

Doghunters went around the area?

The application for the initiation of criminal proceedings in connection with cruel treatment of animals was filed by women who found Buyan in his death throes, they also asked not to mention their names. The dog was still alive and they took him to a veterinary clinic: ''Doctors gave resuscitation but failed to save him. Judging by the symptoms, they said it was a poisoning.''

The application for the initiation of criminal proceedings in connection with cruel treatment of animals was filed by women who found Buyan in his death throes. Photo: ok.ru

Another two dogs with the same symptoms like Buyan had died on the same day on Sviyazhsk. No one has doubts that the food was added with poison. The question is — who exactly did it. Sviyazhsk inhabitants watched the security footage: ''One record shows that from the place where his bowl was, he was walking away 'drunk'. But people who could put poison didn't get in the picture.''

On the same day, according to the interlocutors of Realnoe Vremya, several dogs were poisoned in the nearby village of Nizhnie Vyazovye. ''They came here and stopped by. No one will do it for free,'' locals are confident that it is intelligence services poisoned the dogs.

Artyom Silkin: ''But some conclusions can be drawn from all this story. First, the fact that our people love animals, once they made a petition.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

''Local residents have no conflicts with the authorities. Separate out-of-towners do''

The head of the rural settlement, Vladislav Chetverkin, also believes that Buyan was poisoned, but he claims that he has nothing to do with it. According to Chetverkin, Buyan was unaggressive and did not pose a danger to anyone.

The head of the village calls the petition a slander, but he has no idea who needed to slander him. There are no people on the island with the name and surname designated in the petition: ''I wonder who needed to accuse me? My head is exploding from the guesses. If the government works for the population, what conflict can be here?''

The director of the museum-reserve 'The Island-town Sviyazhsk', Artem Silkin, calls a delirium the fact that ''the locals at a gathering decided to poison the dogs.''

''I was not present at the meeting, but I was told about it. Generally speaking, they are all the same pattern, each time the question is raised, especially in anticipation of summer season, that there are stray dogs, what to do? Keep them on a leash. The head didn't give any instructions. As for the fact that he is being accused – local people have no conflicts with the authorities. Separate out-of-towners have them and they are connected with construction infringements. There are rules which not everyone are ready to comply with,'' says Artyom Silkin.

Meanwhile, Artyom Silkin is well familiar with the owner of the dog. According to him, the owner also believes that Buyan was poisoned. What for? Answering this question, the director of the museum-reserve argues philosophically: ''A Russian village is a Russian village… Certainly, there are detractors.''

''But some conclusions can be drawn from all this story. First, the fact that our people love animals, once they made a petition. Earlier people were indifferent to cruelty to animals, now they defend. Second, it is sad that any incident is overgrown with fantastic rumours, which undermine the essence of the situation,'' concludes Artyom Silkin.

By Daria Turtseva
Tatarstan