24 May 2010. Mari El Republic. Volzhsk Town Court of Mari El Republic admitted that Natalia Kuznetsova and other 17 residents of Volzhsk hadn’t acquired the right to use residential properties. The Town Court ordered the Department of Federal Migration Service of Mari El Republic in Volzhsk to strike people off the register of residence.
Since 1983 the family of Natalya Kuznetsova lived in a comfortable two-room apartment of the dormitory of a fire station. In 2004, the factory Volzhskprodmash was declared bankrupt and the building of the depot was transferred to the balance of Volzhsk. After that, the city authorities have created intolerable living conditions for residents of the house: they switched off the heat and then electricity. After all this the building was sold, despite its social significance. Since then, 18 families who have lived here for over 20 years were left without a roof over their heads.
The authorities of Volzhsk (Volzsk Town Court and the Mayor of the town) don’t wish to recognize the right to housing for 18 families. When the prosecutor of Volzhsk appealed to the court to defend these 18 families, the court did not want to take into consideration the statement because in the court’s opinion, the prosecutor had no right to go to the court with such a claim. The Supreme Court ordered Volzsk Town Court to consider an application from the prosecutor on the merits.
Then the mayor of the town refused the claim and the Town court accepted his refusal.
On August 19, 2009 the owner of the house went to the court for recognition the fact that 18 families did not acquire the right to use the accommodation, where they lived in accordance with the orders for more than 20 years. On March 3, 2010 Volzsk Town Court satisfied this claim in full.
— This is an example of impunity and arbitrariness, which is happening in remote provincial towns of Russia, when people are thrown out to the street, when the local administration goes against prosecutors, against their powers, against people for their benefit, – says Dmitriy Kuznetsov. – Is it time to look at the vital problems of citizens rather than squander the property of the city?
— It turns out that any person in the Republic of Mari El may be arbitrarily deprived of his accommodation. For this, you just need to sell the building to any enterprising citizen and recognize the environment around the building unfavorable, or to create conditions that do not meet sanitary standards, – says the lawyer of RPO “Human being and Law” Igor Voronov, representing the interests of Natalia Kuznetsova in the court.
For almost 5 years the inhabitants of the former dormitory of the fire depot have been trying to restore justice and defend their rights. The Supreme Court didn’t give them any opportunity to defend their rights to a fair trial (the Article 6 of the European Convention) at the national level. So people were forced to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
At the present moment the initiative group, which includes about 30 people, is going to hold a demonstration at the government offices of Volzhsk with the requirement to solve the problem, concerning their flats.