Infuriated by being left without gas in freezing temperatures, dozens of residents of the city of Khasavyurt in the east of the Russian Republic of Daghestan tried to forcefully enter the office of a local Gazprom subsidiary, RBC reported on Tuesday.
A video was posted on Facebook which shows a dozen or so people, mostly women, using a wooden bench as a battering ram in an attempt to break down the door to the Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Makhachkala branch in Khasavyurt.
Employees of the gas company hid behind the metal door, occasionally opening a small metal slot in order to shout at the women. The door held until riot police arrived.
Raisat Malikova, a resident of Khasavyurt, told local media that there has been little to no gas supplied to her since the beginning of October.
“The cold has come, and we are freezing. We know that the gas networks are worn out and no one is doing anything about it”, she said. According to Malikova, at the end of October they appealed to the Khasavyurt administration and blocked a nearby highway in protest.
But, she said they “never paid attention” to their complaints. Meanwhile, , affected residents were still expected to pay their gas bills, and that was the “last straw,” Malikova said.
Maryam Aminova, another Khasavyurt resident, told OC Media that, at the moment, over 500 residents in the districts of Yubilyeinyi, Sadovyi, and Novyi in Khasavyurt remain without gas and are unable to heat their homes. According to Aminova, the Khasavyurt administration told aggrieved residents that the lack of gas delivery was the fault of Gazprom.
She said that the residents came to the company’s offices in person “since they no longer believe in the promises that the situation will be fixed.”
The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Daghestan was the first to respond to the attempted break-in at the Gazprom office, calling the anger of the Khasavyurt residents “righteous”.
“A dialogue between representatives of gas companies with a rightly indignant population is necessary’, a post on the ministry’s official Instagram account read. ‘They have the right to receive both: warmth in their homes in mid-November and the answer to the question why it is not there,” they said.
A Daghestani Interior Ministry spokesperson told OC Media that administrative reports were drawn up on the two women who participated in the attack on the Gazprom office in Khasavyurt. After the incident, the two women were taken to the local police department and released shortly thereafter.