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Dialogue with High Commissioner. Struggling to survive

05 March 2018
Dialogue with High Commissioner. Struggling to survive

The story I’m going to tell you causes sympathy and bewilderment — a woman was left alone to fight for her life and only after years she was lent a helping hand.

I was approached by deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation K. in the interest of elderly woman M. who was in an extremely difficult situation.

According to her, in 2001 she became a victim of black realtors who took advantage of her difficult situation: she experienced temporary financial difficulties and brought up a mentally unhealthy daughter.

After a serious occupational injury the enterprise allocated M. a dwelling area. She accrued a debt for municipal services and «good people» offered a woman to exchange an apartment for a cheaper one and with this pay off the debt.

In 2001, the applicant’s daughter who had been under the supervision of a psychiatrist since childhood, wrote a refusal to privatize the housing without the knowledge of her mother, and two days later she was discharged to a non-existent apartment. After some time, on the basis of a power of attorney for conducting transactions, which M. had never executed, scammers signed a contract of sale, but the signatures on the power of attorney and the contract were different. According to the woman, she did not receive money for the apartment and was deprived of her passport when she was issuing the documents.

Until 2008, M. lived without documents and means of subsistence in another apartment, but in 2009, on the basis of a temporary identity card, which she had never received, this apartment was sold on behalf of M.

All her appeals to the competent authorities did not yield any results, since the applicant was perceived in all instances as an unhealthy, asocial personality. For many years she lived without a roof over her head, in the communal entrance halls and abandoned country houses. The investigation authorities did not take into account all the evidence provided by the woman.

Given the importance of this appeal, I immediately sent a request to the prosecutor’s office of the Vologda Region, the administration of the city of Cherepovets, the regional Department of Social Protection of Population, the branch of the Pension Fund of the Vologda Region.

According to the replies received, a criminal case was initiated in connection with the theft of property. To date, M. is paid a properly indexed pension and a federal social co-payment.

In addition, I applied to the city of Cherepovets with a request to provide information on the prospects of providing the applicant with a dwelling, and to consider the possibility of providing her with temporary accommodation on an exceptional basis.

In this egregious case, we see cruelty and indifference manifested not only by swindlers but also by officials who steadfastly and consistently ignored the cries of help.

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