Teen Penalized for Asking Medvedev for Guinea Pig Sparks Uproar

A 13-year-old Russian girl sparked an uproar after local officials scolded and penalized her for writing a letter to President Dmitry Medvedev on his official Web site asking him for a pet guinea pig, Russian media reported.

When local officials from the village of Kalitvensky in the Rostov Region discovered that Nastya Ivliyeva had requested a guinea pig from Medvedev, they went to her school and severely scolded her. Her parents were also called in and reprimanded for allowing her to disturb the president.

Ivliyeva was forced to write a public letter retracting her request, local newspaper Pik reported.

The girl's parents were furious with how she was treated and wrote another letter to the president complaining about the local officials' actions.

According to sources quoted by local media outlets, the next day, hours after a presidential response to the the parents' letter of complaint, local officials showed up at Ivliyeva's home with two guinea pigs.

The chairman of the committee on youth affairs for the Rostov Region told the Regnum news agency that the incident indicated the authorities' lack of empathy towards "the girl, young people and the leaders of social organizations."

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