Photo Gallery: Citizens' Defense In Sagra

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    Made up of dilapidated wooden houses set along snow-covered dirt streets, Sagra lies near Russia's Ural Mountains, the natural border between Europe and Asia. Sagra is not far from the Siberian city of Yekaterinburg. Here, plants stay warm inside, despite subzero temperatures outside.
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    Sagra has been in the headlines since last summer, when residents — including 56-year-old Viktor Gorodilov — successfully fought off an armed criminal gang that they say threatened their community.
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    Laundry hangs out to dry in the winter sun. Few homes in Sagra have indoor plumbing.
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    Villagers say they had no choice but to defend their town after the police ignored their requests for help.
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    A resident of Sagra wears a T-shirt with the words "Sagra 2011" and a picture of Homer Simpson wielding an ax.
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    Gorodilov recalls the events of July, when ordinary people used pitchforks and hunting rifles to defend their town.
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    Visiting Sagra — with a population of about 130 — is a bit like taking a step back in time. Guard dogs are a primary means of security; wood stoves provide heat.
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    In a twist of justice not uncommon in Russia, the government has charged some Sagra residents with hooliganism for their role in fighting off a criminal gang.
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    Gorodilov says he took part in the fighting to defend his home, his children and his grandchildren. A lawyer and a local nonprofit are helping to publicize the villagers' message on the Internet: that the police had neglected the people of Sagra, leaving them to defend themselves against criminals.
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    "Power has always been separate," says Gorodilov, shown here walking in Sagra. "Power lives its own life. People live their own lives." But he believes that is changing.
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    The tiny grocery store in Sagra stocks only the most basic food — though the beverage selection is plentiful.
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    The residents of Sagra want something different, but not revolution. There is momentum, but even the younger generation is wary of too much change at once.
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