Local dormitory tenants protest in Saint Petersburg
In the morning of January, 23, a gathering staged by a group of tenants living in some dormitories of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region took place in front of the newly elected City Hall (Legislative Assembly).
Due to the ongoing political situation in Russia, there was no chance of having this action legally authorized. This made it necessary to seek other forms of holding the action and it was held in the form of a meeting with a deputy.
Of all the elected Saint Petersburg’s City Hall deputies, it was only Miss Irina Komolova who renders real help to activists of the social movements and trade unions. This time, she went out to support the tenants who had come to the City Hall office. The ‘’Novoprof’’ Union Association has also played a major role in helping the participants organize the meeting and solidarity campaign.
The meeting was attended by about 30 people. Those were not only tenants of the local dormitories and other problem residential houses (first of all, the house located on Ilyushina street, 15/2), of the ‘’Raduga’’ dormitory located in the small regional town Boxitogorsk, but also activists of some organizations: Novoprof Union, Center of Workers Mutual Aid, Voice of Women Organization, International Alliance of Inhabitants.
The police, who were reported to be quite nervous, tried to stop the meeting: they threatened with arresting the participants. However, no arrests ensued. Having had a short time vigil in the front of the building, the action participants then entered the office and went on their action inside. They handed over their petition to Deputy Komolova with a short description of the predicament they had found themselves in due to a lack of due diligence on the part of the city authorities in the 1990 ies, during the large scale privatization in Russia, when local officials had connived some murky businessmen at their illegal business dealings.
The tenants are threatened with being evicted as early as this winter. The local courts, and first of all the Primorsky District Federal Court of Saint Petersburg, have already ruled verdicts that demand some tenants of the Ilyushina street house be evicted. The tenants are awaiting court marshals to enforce the verdicts. In reacting to the tenants’ petition, the City Assembly shall inquire the City Governor.
During the action, Rima Sharifulina, a lawyer and President of the ‘’Peterburgskaya EGIDA’’ NGO, talked to the protest participants and updated them on possible forms of legal protection.
The tenants of Russian dormitories that are being evicted now also need urgently international solidarity.