Meeting of Moscow Dormitory Tenants: Housing is the right not privilege!
On June, 17, in Krasnopresnenskaya square, near the monument to the 1905 Revolution Heroes, a meeting was held by the Movement of Dormitory Tenants, protesting the harassment of the tenants who have worked hard enough to own their housing. The protest action was organized with the support of the RRP, KPFR Alternative City Committee, Left Front, Trodovaya Rossia Movement, and other left wing parties and movements.
The meeting was opened by Galina Dmitrieva (RRP), who told about how the dormitory tenants despaired into protest had held a two week vigil in the front of the City Mayor Office, and what it had resulted in:
«We have been promised that social rent agreements are to be signed with us. We don’t know if they will be signed. Everything has been sent up to the district department administrations, and those guys haven’t stirred a finger, and Fadeyev himself (Chief of Housing Department of Moscow City Government who gave those promises) is getting harder and harder to contact. We have an impression that the June, 12th , has passed, Putin has not been ousted and the authorities don’t care a pin about us!»
However, those tenants who were able to wrest away a social rent agreement are facing other problems, according to Dmitrieva: ‘’You can get a social rent agreement signed and at the same time get removed from the housing list because you have been added the space of the toilet and kitchen - if a tenant happens to have 18 and more square meters per head in his or her housing, he or she becomes withdrawn from the housing list, which is the list for better accommodation and evacuation from the dormitory into a private apartment, and the fact is that those 18 meters are not the space of his or her room, but the space of his or her room plus, as it was said above, the common corridor, toilet and other public space in the dormitory, this fact does not bother anyone up there. No one cares’’. As Dmitrieva told better housing for the people had been rejected on the grounds that there was no free space. And this happens despite the fact there are still empty apartments in the dormitory, there are vacant and empty newly built houses in the city, and these newly built residential areas had been announced as designed for housing of those listed for better accommodation, however, in fact, all those apartments have been bought out by banks’’.
A representative of the dormitories operated by the Glavmosstroy company told that the ‘’Zhilishchnik’’ company had almost ‘’doubled’’ their housing space, having added to their rooms the space of shared corridors. The tenants rejected such phony social rent agreements.
Flyura Kagarmanova (a tenant of the dormitory owned by the Krasnaya Rabotnitsa plant) was given the floor then. To your information, the dormitory is owned now by the ‘’Kvinta’’ company, and this company is trying to forcefully evict former workers from their housing by arranging repair in the house. Flyura told that the authorities were trying to resolve her and other dormitory tenants’ problems by obliging the owner to buy housing for them instead of the destroyed one. As a result, the people have been offered housing in the area of the Lyuberetsky aeration fields.
What is even worse, Galina Dmitrieva is quoted as saying, is the situation in the dormitory of Military Unit 62112. The tenants there live without electricity (it was cut off by the new owner of the building in order to force the people out of their apartments they have all the rights to own, and city administration claimed officially that they are unable to intervene and stop the owner from his illegal activities), the basement has been flooded, the only good news is the City Court has not approved the verdict ruled by the trial court on evacuation of Victoria Luganskaya, one of the dormitory tenants, and began to seriously examine the matter. A court session has been scheduled for June, 26, at 9:20.
Galina Dmitrieva called on everyone to support Victoria.
Dmitry Kochelaevsky (a tenant of Kamov’s helicopter manufacturing plant) told: «The negotiations were successful and everyone was full of enthusiasm. Now, the time is near (initially, the problem was about to be examined and resolved within a month), a week is left. Covering 12 families, who were involved in the negotiations, just nothing has been resolved. What is more, one house is untenable (after a fire happened which looked like an arson), even no temporary roof has been covered. I asked an official, an aid to Fedoseeva, and she requested the district prefect, but she herself said that she, as an officer of the city administration, did not exert any influence over the prefect himself. Now the apartment where I live together with my wife, little child and eighty year old father has no gas, no roof, no light, the walls are covered in fungus !’’ (Dmitry is still living in that house destroyed by fire) According to Dmitry, the dormitory tenants ‘’have to renew militant actions!’’
Evgeny Kopyshev, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Officers Union, General of Aviation, highlighting the plight of the tenants, said: ‘’Now we live in a society where we are commodities. We have to restore the workers power and give property back to the Soviet people. Such people, who deprive people of the housing they truly deserve, should be in prison and are worth being executed. We have to show the authorities a workers’ fist and every action should be accompanied with the words: this power be cursed, long live socialism!’’
Vasily Shishkaryov, a representative of the ZIL plant dormitory, a member of the Moscow Workers Council told about how the new ZIL owners had been destroying the plant and said: ‘’We don't want Moscow to be a city of banks and offices. It was a workers town. We are for the construction of housing for workers, and not only for the bourgeoisie. We must fight for the preservation of the enterprises and for a return to the normal economic system!’’
Olga Morozova, an employee of the ‘’Salute’’ air- engine plant, an inhabitant of the ‘’Salute’’ dormitory said that ‘’instead of the former Director an economist took over, who is interested not in production but in profit making and in pocketing profits, and we saw our salaries fell dramatically. Then, on May, 17th , a decree was issued on privatization of the company. This is the last step to the demise of the plant, which is likely to be disassembled bit by bit. And then where shall we go? We have a narrow specialization. And in fact we are the only design bureau, which is able to design the fifth generation engine, of which President of this energy superpower has been talking so much, this is what our design bureau is!’’.
Alena Zhelyapova, a Salute plant worker and a tenant of the dormitory located at 9 street of Sokolinaya Gora, said that at first things were pretty scary but then people began to organize themselves. They fought back electricity supply cut off by the intruders.
Everyone is able to change the situation in society, let's unite together and make our society free!’’
Vasily Kuzmin (Left Front) said: ‘’last year, our society found itself at a crossroads and people began protesting. After merry tag games with the riot police on May, 6th , our movement had missed the moment when people were sitting at the mayor's office, and OccupyAbay activists were sitting at Barrikadnaya, where nothing is decided. If the white ribbon had not stepped over this point, we would have lived already in another country. There is in the protest movement the liberal trend that insists that everything that has anything to do with private property is not our problem! This is a shame. Now we must unite around the topic ‘’housing is a right, not a privilege!’’
We have one solution - revolution, but it will be a socialist, red and proletarian!’’
Then, the participants of the meeting observed a minute of silent contemplation in commemoration of Irina Bergalieva, the founder of the Moscow Dormitory Movement. Irina died of a heart attack on June, 17th , 2010 in the Khimki district court.
Nikos, a non party Communist, called on everyone to remember the experience of 1905. According to him, feudalism was strangling the country at that time and now exactly the same is going on, and, therefore, it is time workers councils were reestablished.
Ruzena Pugacheva (RKRP party) said: ‘’With all its shortcomings, the USSR system was standing on guard over the working people’s interests. Then the longest waiting time on the housing list was 15 years, now people have to wait for 20 years at least and receive not a bloody thing’’.
Yaroslav Nikitenko (the Environment Movement ) has declared that he agrees with the social demands put forward: ‘’I'm a researcher and I witness the degeneration of science from inside!». He also mentioned other issues, created by the Moscow city authorities: «Emblematic case with the deceived owners. They, as well as the residents of the dormitory of the Red worker factory re offered housing on the Lyuberetskiy aeration fields. You know what kind of environment there. It is better to live in a dormitory than in a place like this. Now the destruction of forest protection area around Moscow, cutting of the Khimki forest, Natashinsky Park are under way. Or take the expansion of roads: they are expanding the roads in such a way that the Federal highway passes three meters away from the walls of your residential house!’’
Sergey Biets (RRP) said: ‘’We are the workers - we create all the goods in the world, and this world will belong to us! A day long strike is enough and this power will fall. If we make a joint effort - no government will withstand! Long live the proletarian revolution - all power to the workers!’’
At the end of the meeting, it was announced that if within the period of one week (remember, Fedoseyev promised to resolve the problem of the dormitory tenants within a month and this month is about to end), the Mayor's Office fails to provide people a satisfactory answer, the protesters will go for the answer to the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation.
The participants also expressed their solidarity with the activists of the camp pitched in defense of the Khimki forest (this is a permanent camp operating in the Khimki) and the fact that activists of the Moscow Dormitory Movement are going to join the campers on June, 24th , at 15: 00 and support with this action the protest staged by the campers for the preservation of Moscow forest protection belt.
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