This clearing is perhaps the most controversial “crucifixion” of private property rights in Russia in recent years.
Recall that the program for the comprehensive reconstruction of seven blocks in Kuntsevo and the village of Rublevo in the west of the capital was adopted by the Moscow government in January 2003, but was not implemented until last year. Monetchik CJSC became one of the project investors in 2016.
In place of the demolished five-story buildings in the 47-48 quarters of Kuntsevo - only 37 houses - high-rise buildings should appear in several queues. To this day, no one has been able to find the social component in this investment project. A resident of the quarter, Alexander Ksenofontov, like several dozen of his neighbors, is not satisfied with the proposed replacement. From an elite house on the street. Ivan Franko, his family was offered to move into economy class on Yartsevskaya, 33.
The judge of the Kuntsevsky District Court of Moscow, Larisa Voronkova, satisfied the claim of the City Property Department to evict the owner from the five-story building.
The mayor's office determines the price of apartments for demolition unilaterally. The judge rejected Ksenofontov's petition to include an independent appraisal of the cost of his own apartment: there is no reason not to trust the officials' calculations.
An application for participation in court hearings of relatives registered in the apartment was also rejected. For a valid reason (leaving on vacation), they could not come to the meeting and asked to postpone the date of the hearing. The judge made the decision without taking this important circumstance into account.
The court also dismissed the counterclaim to the City Property Department for the underestimation of the cost of apartments.
The neighbors, a young family, have a registered child in the apartment being resettled. The parents applied for the involvement of the guardianship authorities in the process to protect the interests of the minor - the court also rejected this request and without hesitation resolved the issue in favor of the officials. In other words, the guardianship was not even allowed to speak at least with some word. The prosecutor did not object. The arguments were as follows: the child is not disabled, the family is complete, mom and dad are able to work, which means there are no obstacles to evict the child, residents say.
In the case of Alexander Ksenofontov, the mayor's department insists on the immediate release of the apartment. So far, the judgment does not take such a sin on the soul. The decision will settle, as it were, by itself, as soon as the appeal passes: all "thirsty" will have to wait a little.
"Judged by the absolute lawlessness. It seems that all the trump cards initially belonged to state structures: the DGI, the prosecutor, and you absolutely do not understand what can be done about this at all. We will appeal and go to the European Court", - comments Ksenofontov.
According to the interlocutor, he became aware of the forced eviction from the apartment in October 2020. Then, for the first time, he saw a notification from the City Property Department that the developer was ready to urgently invest in the transformation of his home quarter, in connection with which all owners are invited to get away from their own apartments. The tenants were handed drafts of a barter agreement and inspection orders, in which the addresses of their new apartments were indicated.
The notifications say that the houses are being demolished. Meanwhile, there is still no documentary order for the demolition of the house, and the owners have not been notified about this a year in advance, as required by law.
Some of the neighbors went and looked at the proposed options. Those who were attracted by newly built housing, fresh renovation, a slightly increased area, quickly agreed to an exchange. But there are still many owners who do not want to vacate their apartments, since the proposed conditions seem to them to be unequal. Forced eviction lawsuits poured in when people firmly refused to move into the proposed housing.
Our interlocutor is among them. With his wife, they went through three options.
"All the proposed ones turned out to be worse than our own apartment. In one - the floor is worse, in the other - the location is significantly worse, in the third - even a smaller area. The house in which we now live was built according to an individual project. It has improved layouts, high ceilings, a guaranteed parking space. It can be equated to business class. I am offered an apartment in a house that was being built for relocation - economy class in all its manifestations. At the same time, 4 residential meters are equated to the meters of the corridor and toilet. The last 26th floor. The population density of the quarter is 30 times higher. The environmental situation is correspondingly worse. In addition to my wife, I have an elderly mother who cannot stand the 26th floor", - says Alexander Ksenofontov.
What happened at the trial? The Department's lawyer simply takes two assessments from the diplomat: for an apartment in a five-story building and for an apartment in a new building where the family is to be relocated. Conclusions for each of the two apartments contain more than 100 pages. The judge gives a four-minute break to get acquainted with the "marks". There are only four days between meetings. We ask for more time to study the documents of the DGI and order your own expertise. Moreover, we show a receipt stating that it has already been ordered and will be made in seven days. The judge rejects requests for an independent assessment...
In the documents, the Department writes that the provided apartment is supposedly equal (meaning the cost) and equivalent (in terms of the number of rooms) to the housing being replaced.
“But they are not at all equal. They estimate my apartment of 34.7 square meters with three-meter ceilings and a kitchen of 8.5 meters in Kuntsevo at 6.949 million rubles. But back in 2016, it cost almost 8 million rubles. In 2019, for some reason, already 4,155. The developer, of course, prepared for "negotiations" with tenants and devalued the property according to the cadastre", - says Ksenofontov.
There seems to be no choice in this story. Looked at three options - take what they give. If you don't like it, wait for the arrival of the bailiffs or the arrival of the bulldozers.
"The City Property Department says that there are no more options for inspection. There are no other one-room apartments. Give a kopeck piece with a surcharge. They answer - we have no such right, this is not renovation. Do you want to get money? Please, 6 million 949 rubles. Is your head all right? Give me this money - and what can I buy with it in my area? Nothing".
Question number 1 for many displaced persons - and on what basis, in fact, people are evicted from their own apartments? Why is the owner unilaterally named the price of his housing and forcibly transported to the supposedly "equivalent"?
In the barter agreements with the owners, the City Property Department refers to the investment contract of the Moscow Government No. 633 dated June 20, 1996.
However, in modern Russian legislation there are still not so many legal grounds for the forced removal of citizens from their own apartments. The demolished quarter in Kuntsevo was not recognized as emergency or dilapidated, and the act on the seizure of the property of individuals in state needs was not issued either.
In 2019, the Supreme Court of Russia gave explanations about the mentioned investment agreement with the developer: it cannot in any way diminish the rights of owners in the Kuntsevo quarters.
There is not a single state program on the basis of which the resettlement of people could be unilaterally organized, which means that all agreements on the release of apartments between the Department of City Property and homeowners can be reached solely by mutual agreement within the framework of the Civil Code. In the reasoning part of the decision of the Supreme Court it is written in black and white that neither Government Decree # 30, nor Government Decree # 903, to which the mayors refer, can be grounds for resettlement.
There is not a single normative legal act that prescribes that after three inspection orders, the city property department (state body) can sue the owner in court. But the department of the mayor's office is filing a statement of claim for eviction - this is a civil action, a civil procedure, in which the principle of equality of arms must be respected. In this case, an agreement must be concluded between the owner and the developer, the PIK group of companies. And only if the owner has not complied with this agreement, the Department can file a claim for eviction.
But here the authorities evict the owner with the family without an agreement, without negotiating with them, and even urgently. Residents comment on impudent, overt lobbying of the commercial interests of friendly merchants.
"Law and common sense cannot explain this exemption. Moreover, there were two more courts after the Supreme Court. In the first lawsuit, the tenants notified the Moscow government that the general meeting of homeowners was refusing to participate in the mentioned investment project. The owners have such a right, they have such powers under the law. In our house, for example, more than 70% of those who voted asked that the house not be resettled. The government just ignored our document. In some documents, officials refer to the renovation program, but it does not apply to us at all. The investment project itself is one name. Not an investment one, of course, but an ordinary commercial contract. The city sold the land to the developer, with virtually no profit of its own. Sold to the "serfs" and what happens is a forced deportation".
"Laws in a state governed by the rule of law must be respected, and in this case they are on the side of the owner, but state bodies do not comply with them. Residents' rights violated, namely PROPERTY RIGHTS. The right to choose, place of residence, permanent location, which they cannot just be deprived of, since he is the owner of the apartment, is violated. The European Convention on Human Rights is being violated. As far as we know, the Russian Federation did not refuse the convention. In addition, the convention prohibits the abuse of power, and in this case, the state authority, the DGI, acts in the interests of the private group of the PIK company", - comments lawyer Olga Vlasova.
For the coming dates, courts have been appointed for nine more owners from the settled quarters of Kuntsevo, who did not agree to move out "in an amicable way." Class actions have also been filed to disagree with the forced eviction. The owners, who are dragged into court by their hometown only because they have the good fortune to own apartments on a plot of land they like, ask for legal assistance.
"The trials are carried out in an emergency order. Under conditions of quarantine, the participants in the process do not always manage to even get into the courthouse. The authorities decided to take advantage of the covid pandemic to urgently resettle 47-48 quarters. We cannot even invite people to court, as in 2018, when 200 people came to our sessions", - residents say.
"We are anxiously awaiting the trial. The only question is whether the judges will kick us out of their apartments today or will have mercy and pull us until the next session. The decision of the courts is easy to predict: the precedent for the eviction has already happened. The judges are in a hurry to curry favor with the authorities, clearing the territory given over to building from living people. However, we will continue to fight and defend our right to live in our apartments and own our property. The outcome of this process will have consequences not only for us, but also for all Russians, who from now on can be deprived of their property with one stroke of an official's pen. This is the Kuntsovsky District Court. Justice did not spend the night here. Property rights in Russia have ordered a long life", - comments Ivan Rozhkov.
He and his family are the second after Ksenofontov on the "death list".