Posted 15 марта 2023,, 13:22

Published 15 марта 2023,, 13:22

Modified 15 марта 2023,, 14:28

Updated 15 марта 2023,, 14:28

In St. Petersburg, authorities allowed to cut down part of the garden where vegetables were grown during the blockade

In St. Petersburg, authorities allowed to cut down part of the garden where vegetables were grown during the blockade

15 марта 2023, 13:22
Since 1942, there has been a garden association on the banks of the Neva River. During the blockade, vegetables were grown here. After the War, the plots were distributed to factory workers and veterans. But now the authorities have given part of the territory for development.

The history of this place in the village of Metallostroy on the banks of the Neva River begins in 1942, when gardening appeared on a vacant plot on the outskirts of Leningrad, where vegetables were grown for employees of plant No. 463 of the Ministry of Heavy Engineering. The products were also delivered to city hospitals. Since then, this place has been called the "Blockade Garden". In 1951, the territory changed its status and became the official Neva Garden Association. The plots were distributed to factory workers, war participants and blockade runners.

"The plot in the Neva gardeners' non-commercial partnership was allocated to my father-in-law," said one of the gardeners, Raisa Baldina, "in general, he lived in a Finnish house that stood nearby. In 1961, they were given an apartment, and the house and plot were included in the gardeners' non-commercial partnership. We have all the contracts, maps of different years, where it is clear that we did not seize anything, the garden was what it was, and remained so, its territory did not change. In general, at the end of the 80s, they wanted to relocate us, give out plots outside the city, but then the USSR collapsed and we were given a paper that there would be no relocation due to the change in the political situation. The old people lived, trusted the state, dug their beds, no one was engaged in documents".

The problems of gardeners began a long time ago, when the administration of the district and the city said that the territory was occupied by gardens illegally and it was necessary to demolish houses and cut down perennial trees, some of them have been growing since the 40s. Actually part of the garden has already been demolished. In 2017, about 20 gardeners were driven from the territory, an ambulance station was built in their place.

"The old station was given away for a song in the 90s, now there are offices there, people earn money, and a bulldozer was brought to us and the houses were demolished", - says Raisa Baldina.

Now gardening with a history is threatened again, part of the territory has been given over to the city authorities for development. They want to place a leisure center here, they promise to give part of the premises to a children's school, but most of the building will be private and it is not known what will appear in it – retail facilities or offices.

"They hide behind the fact that this is a social object", - says the gardener, -"but according to the documents that have been published, there will be a building of 2000 square meters, the school will get only 365. She now occupies two different rooms of 700-800 meters each and this is not enough for her. These 365 meters are a laugh".

According to gardeners, a hut for workers has already been brought to the gardeners' non-commercial partnership, they are trying to fence off the territory.

People write complaints to all available authorities, the Investigative Committee understands the situation. But as a rule, appeals go down to the district, and there they answer "you are not on the ground illegally".

In recent years, there have been several court proceedings, but according to gardeners, officials have not been able to prove that the land is occupied by people illegally.

"There is a problem that we had to register a new legal entity", -  says Raisa Baldina, "some time ago, the old SNT was liquidated by the tax service, due to the fact that there was no activity. It so happened that several people from the board died during the year and there was no one to deal with these legal matters, and when they began to put everything in order, it turned out that it was easier to create a new SNT than to revive the old one. This is what officials insist on, they say, there is no legal successor. Maybe it is, but the court decided that the SNT did not have rights to the land, they were members of the partnership and it is necessary to sue each individually. And no one did that. When our house was demolished in 2017, I went around all the instances of the prosecutor's office, the plenipotentiary, the commissioner, everyone asked, where is the court decision on which you were demolished? So I've been looking for it myself for six years, no one gave it to me. Before the demolition, they said we would bring it tomorrow, and that's it. So it is now, there are no court decisions, they are trying to do everything in a hurry".

And what do the authorities say? Officials insist that the plot of land for the SNT has not been formed at all and the partnership has no rights to it, and no one applies for archival data.

"Gardeners' non-commercial partnership "Neva", registered in 2009, is not the legal successor of the previously existing gardeners' non-commercial partnership "Neva", liquidated in 2006. – it is said in the response of the governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov to the request of the deputy of the State Duma, the leader of the SRZP party Sergei Mironov. – The circumstances set out in the citizens' appeal were comprehensively investigated by the Kolpinsky District Court of St. Petersburg during the consideration of cases on citizens' claims for recognition of the right to acquire plots of land for free. The court's decisions were refused to satisfy the claims. There are no grounds for transferring land to citizens either free of charge or for a fee".

According to Raisa Baldina, gardeners have repeatedly tried to formalize ownership of plots, but they simply do not give them the documents necessary to start this process.

"It's hard for old people to fight with the state, we sit and don't know when they will come to demolish us", - says the Petersburger.

In total, there are about 180 gardeners in the Neva gardeners' non-commercial partnership.