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Jan-26-2012 13:11printcommentsVideo

Mother Russia Ignores its Own:
Artist and Sculptor Faces Homeless Winter in Moscow

What Fresh Hell is This? - Dorothy Parker

Elena Odnovarchenko
Elena Odnovarchenko

(SALEM) - We know that people in third-world countries like Palestine live under the constant threat of having their homes destroyed by demolition crews, and that the same thing happened last year at Dale Farm in the UK... but did you know this is also taking place in Russia? Komi Republic resident Elena Odnovarchenko, who lives in Moscow today, has discovered how it feels to have no say over your personal destiny.

An artist and sculptor, she lost everything- her life's work, when bulldozers destroyed her former home. Odnovarchenko believes there is only one way to address this problem, so she is making an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to intervene and bring justice to the matter.

However her letter to the President was re-directed right into the hands of the local officials who were seemingly determined to cause her problems, and ultimately, homelessness.

The letter explained how she should have received an apartment of adequate quality in 2011, under the federal program for resettlement from run-down accommodation.

The ruins of Elena's apartment in Komi Republic.

Elena's old apartment, (see photo), where her family was living on the basis of a public rental contract, had been declared "unfit for habitation" in 2007.

In 2010, local authorities began the long-anticipated construction of a new building where Elena and her family were told they could have a new apartment.

She describes this as, "a really happy time, which unfortunately didn’t last very long". Staying out of town, Elena says she kept in touch with the local authorities about the progress of construction.

"They had always told me that I would have to pay extra in order to get an apartment. I was warned that if I refused I would get a smaller apartment than I was supposed to or even no apartment at all."

She says the local authorities carried out their threats, and justified their actions by reference to certain regulations that say that a person must pay "extra".

Existing laws should have prevented any of this from taking place, particularly when the resident is doing everything in her power to legally and morally remedy the situation.

Elena Odnovarchenko is one person, imagine how many others this may be happening to? This takes us back to the theory of Abraham Maslow, the basis for every human problem.
(story continues below video)

Write to President of Russia - lose your apartments and property!
(Напиши президенту - лишишься квартиры и имущества!)

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs; a theory in psychology, was proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. Long story short, if people don't have the ability to meet their basic needs, they will never be able to be productive toward the needs of others.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a pyramid consisting of five levels:

The lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose.

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer be met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level.

For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

We as members of society, can never forget this basic premise for a healthy existence. If we increasingly incorporate this type of thinking into our communities, it will help everyone. However at this point, it seems only President Medvedev can help Elena Odnovarchenko, and he should, it is the correct, honorable thing to do. If Medvedev does not, then there may be no reversal in trends of corruption.

People are fragile and fairness is not a concept lost on the masses, it is only lost in government and corporate circles.

Here is Elena Odnovarchenko's letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian version is below:

Dear Mr. President.

Since my letter had no effect on you, I decided to appeal to the public. I’d like to remind you about my horrible story, which deserves your attention because it concerns the entire state system of which you are head.

At the beginning of 2011 I should have received an apartment of adequate quality under the federal program for resettlement from run-down accommodation. I remind you that the building containing my old apartment, where my family was living on the basis of a public rental contract, had been declared “unfit for habitation” as early as 2007.

I won’t describe again the awful conditions in the place where we lived. When we realized that we couldn’t stand such conditions any more, we took with us some necessary things and temporarily moved to another region.

In 2010 the local authorities at last started to build a new building in which we could have an apartment. That was a really happy time, which unfortunately didn’t last very long. While I was staying in another town, I kept in touch with the local authorities about the progress of construction. They had always told me that I would have to pay extra in order to get an apartment. I was warned that if I refused I would get a smaller apartment than I was supposed to or even no apartment at all. Anticipating events, I will say that the local authorities carried out their threats. They justified their actions by reference to certain regulations that say that a person must pay extra. But I wasn’t provided with the documents concerned. I had to consider the issue from a legal point of view for myself. And I found out that demands for any extra payment are illegal. That is why I refused to pay extra. In February 2011 I asked your help, hoping that you would sort out this creepy situation.

But what happened next?

The letter that I addressed to you was redirected to the local authorities. Instead of sorting out the "misunderstanding" and giving me an apartment, the local authorities literally started to go crazy. First, they responded by letter, accusing me of not being a good householder. For example, I "did not pay for public utilities” (even though I paid for them in full). In fact, the law allows a person not to pay rent for such a house if he or she is living somewhere else, so I was paying more than legally required. Especially shocking in its cynicism was the accusation that I had violated the rights of my neighbors by not heating the apartment (since I wasn’t living there). It was supposedly disrupting the thermal circuit and damaging the house -- which had been declared unfit for habitation! I was literally accused of not living in my apartment.

Is our country a maximum security prison where everyone must stay within a specified zone???

Then at the beginning of May 2011 I got another letter from local officials, informing me that the new building had not been commissioned. However, people had already been settled in apartments in the new building in April. There was even an official article in the newspaper about it. But I was not notified in any way.

Was this letter an attempt to mislead me?

It really looks like that because at the end of May, instead of a notification about resettlement, I received a judicial notification that the local authorities had evicted us to “nowhere” (making us homeless) on the basis of "resettlement to other accommodation"! The petition to evict us had already been filed in March and been considered by the court in my absence.

Mr. President, I wrote to you in February and told you that my family has no alternative accommodation. The local authorities received the same letter.

How should we describe the petition of the local authorities to evict us? Banal revenge, or what?

By the way, in Western countries criminal charges are usually brought against people who take others to court on fraudulent grounds. I don’t even mention moral satisfaction. The local authorities are dropping the case against me, three months after I hired a lawyer.

But the greatest shock came when my petition to provide us with the promised apartment was granted by the court. From the court ruling I learned that no apartment had been allocated to us in the new building. I also learned that the old building where I used to live had already been demolished together with my belongings!

Dear Mr. President, put yourself in my place. Can you imagine the shock I felt? All the belongings that we have acquired over the years are now destroyed!

For me as an artist and sculptor, it was a double tragedy. The whole of my life work was lost in a single moment! Even then we did not get an apartment, because there is none. The court even rejected my claim for financial compensation in lieu of an apartment.

Never before in present-day Russia, so far as I know, have the authorities destroyed buildings containing the private belongings of residents without notifying them in advance. It is a violation not only of the human right to sanctity of the home but also of property rights, subverting the constitutional foundations of the state.

I really have no confidence in the objectivity of the investigation being conducted by the local procuracy. They will just treat it as a case of ordinary theft and close their eyes to everything. What is there to talk about when they write as follows? “Allocation of the apartments in the new building was based on family composition and also on the opinions expressed by tenants at meetings and in direct conversation with each tenant.” Not a word about the law! So, it seems, they allocate apartments not in accordance with law but on the basis of "opinions." And this was in an official communication of the procuracy. Can we really expect an objective investigation by such people?

Dear Mr. President, I do not ask you for an apartment or for compensation. Not because I don’t need them, but because it would be too fantastic. As a voter and a citizen, I ask you to bring an action against the local officials concerned. I know that this will happen only if you take a personal interest in the matter. Take note that we have here a singular criminal offence!

Mr. President, I’m sure you realize that my story reveals the attitude of the local authorities not to me personally, but to the authority of the law and to you as the president. You cannot just do nothing!

I’ll be glad to get your response!

 Уважаемый Дмитрий Анатольевич.  

  Поскольку все мои письма к Вам так и не возымели должного действия. Я решила публично обратиться. Я хотела бы еще раз напомнить о своей чудовищной истории, которая, подчеркиваю, вполне достойна Вашего внимания т.к. напрямую касается целостности всей государственной системы, которую Вы возглавляете. 

  Вначале 2011г. мне должна была быть предоставлена благоустроенная квартира по федеральной программе переселения из аварийного жилья. Напомню, что мой старый дом, в котором моя семья проживала по договору социального найма еще в 2007г. был признан непригодным для проживания. О том, в каких нечеловеческих условиях мы жили, я лишний раз говорить не хочу. Об этом уже было написано. 

  Когда терпеть подобные условия жизни мы были не в силах, взяв с собой только необходимые вещи, мы временно переехали в другой регион.  

  В 2010г. наконец-то стали строить и для нас новый дом. Это был настоящий праздник, который, к сожалению, длился недолго. Находясь в другом городе, я звонила в администрацию, что бы узнать о ходе строительства. И мне все время говорили о необходимости доплаты за получение квартиры. А за отказ платить мне угрожали непредставлением квартиры либо предоставлением квартиры меньше положенной площади. Забегая веред, скажу, что все эти угрозы администрация реализовала. 

  В своих действиях Администрация ссылалась на какие-то нормативные документы, согласно которым переселенец обязан доплачивать. Но эти документы мне так и не предоставили. Мне пришлось самостоятельно изучить данный вопрос с правовой точки зрения, и я выяснила, что требование какой-либо доплаты незаконно.  

  Поэтому я отказалась доплачивать, и в феврале 2011г. обратилась к Вам за помощью, уважаемый Дмитрий Анатольевич, в надежде, что уж Вы поможете разобраться в данной ситуации. 

  И что же происходит дальше?  

  Мое письмо, адресованное Вам, легло на стол местной администрации. 

  Вместо того, что бы свести все дело к «недоразумению» (в скобочках) и предоставить мне квартиру, администрация начинает творить какой-то феерический беспредел (!). 

  Сначала она отвечает письмами, в которых обвиняет меня в том, что я являюсь недобросовестным квартиросъемщиком. Например, не оплачиваю коммунальные услуги. И это притом, что я оплачивала их в полном объеме, хотя по закону могла этого не делать т.к. проживала в другом регионе. То есть на самом деле я наоборот переплачивала (!).  

  А также особенно поражает по циничности обвинение, в том, что я нарушала права соседей, тем, что не проживала в своей квартире и не отапливала ее. Вследствие чего нарушался какой-то тепловой контур и разрушался дом (!). То есть меня фактически обвинили в том, что я не проживаю в своей квартире. У нас, что государство особого режима, где каждый обязан проживать в строго определенной зоне?  

  Но самое интересное было впереди.  

  В начале мая этого года я получаю очередное письмо от администрации, где мне сообщается, что новый дом пока не принят в эксплуатацию. Но на самом деле переселение жильцов уже состоялось апреле 2011г. Есть даже официальная статья. Однако никакого извещения о переселении я не получила! То есть этим письмом меня пытались ввести в заблуждение?  

  Получается что да, потому что в конце мая, вместо ожидаемого письма о переселении, я получаю судебное извещение, в котором администрация выселяет мою семью в «никуда» (т.е. делает бомжами) на основании выезда в другое место жительства! Причем, иск был подан еще в марте, т.е. суд уже 2 месяца шел в мое отсутствие.  

  Дмитрий Анатольевич, и это при условии, что я Вам в феврале написала письмо, где черным по белому было сказано, что у моей семьи нет альтернативного жилья. И это же самое письмо было у администрации.  

  Вот как назвать подобный иск администрации?  

  Это банальная месть, что ли получается? 

  И к слову сказать, в западных странах за иск по надуманным основаниям, можно привлечь истца даже к уголовной ответственности, я уж не говорю о моральной компенсации. В моем же случае, администрация отказывается от иска спустя 3 месяца после того, когда я нанимаю адвоката.  

  Но самое шокирующее выясняется только после того, как я выигрываю ответный суд по предоставлению благоустроенной квартиры.  

  Из судебного решения я узнаю, что в новом доме для нас вообще не было построено квартиры, а старый дом, в котором находилась моя квартира с имуществом, уже снесен! 

  Уважаемый Дмитрий Анатольевич, поставьте себя на моё место.

  Как Вы себя почувствуете, когда потеряете все свое имущество?!

  Вы можете себе предоставить, в каком я была шоке?

  Все, что было нажито не одно десятилетние - уничтожено!

  Для всей семьи это была настоящая  трагедия!

  Ну, а для меня как для художника, скульптора и инженера это было трагедией в двойне. Все результаты моего интеллектуального труда, все разработки, накопленные на протяжении всей жизни - в один миг были утеряны!  

  Даже на данный момент мы не только не получили квартиры т.к. её просто нет, но даже получили судебный отказ в выплате компенсации вместо предоставления квартиры! 

  Насколько я знаю, еще ни разу за всю историю современной России, власти не сносили квартиру с имуществом без ведома их хозяев. Это не только нарушение конституционного права о неприкосновенности жилища, но немыслимое преступление против собственности, подрывающее основы правового государства.  

  Я не особо верю в объективность расследования местной прокуратуры. Она сведет все, к какому нибудь банальному хищению и закроет на все глаза. Да и о чем можно говорить, когда прокуратура пишет такое, я процитирую:  

  «Распределение жилья в новом доме, осуществлялось исходя из состава семьи граждан, а также с учетом мнения жильцов, которое выяснялось как на собраниях, так и непосредственно в ходе беседы с каждый гражданином». И ни слова о законе! Те. по закону у нас уже, видимо, квартиры не распределяют? А распределяют согласно мнению жильцов. И это пишет прокуратура, заметьте? Разве можно от такой прокуратуры ждать объективного расследования?  

  Уважаемый Дмитрий Анатольевич, я не прошу у Вас квартиры или компенсации. Не потому, что мне этого не надо, а потому что это слишком красивая сказка.  

  Как избиратель и как гражданин прошу от Вас совсем другого. Я хочу справедливого суда над чиновниками. И я знаю, что оно осуществится только в случае Вашей личной заинтересованности. Заметьте, мы имеем дело с уникальным уголовным преступлением!  

  Дмитрий Анатольевич, Вы же прекрасно понимаете, что во всей этой истории дело даже не только во мне. Здесь речь идет об отношении местной власти к Вам как президенту, понимаете?! Подрывается авторитет федеральной власти, когда мы видим такой беспредел! 

  Вы просто не можете оставаться в стороне! 

  Спасибо Вам, я буду ждать вашего ответа! 


Tim King, summer 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 102 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

End Israeli apartheid

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Anonymous January 27, 2012 3:08 am (Pacific time)

Nah editor, I dont fault you, I believe in humanity, not race or creed also..just ranting I suppose.

Anonymous January 26, 2012 1:53 pm (Pacific time)

Actually, this is very mild to what I am seeing with my own eyes in the U.S. This article is a speck to what I see every day in my own country.
Homeless veterans, NDAA, children in poverty, 16 trillion dollar defecit, idoctrination camps they call skools, invading country after country on lies etc etc etc...I could go on all day

Editor: Well we aren't happy about those things either, obviously by our story lineup, but this isn't a small incident, of course if you're not standing in this person's shoes I suppose you fail to understand, however the rest of us, so sick of the borders and stupid laws you reference, don't see it as an us and them thing, we are world citizens as much anything else, and we care about our brother and sister human beings in Russia too, surely you don't fault us for that.

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