— Tatiana Nikolaevna, what problems do people bring to you as the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, what do our citizens most often complain about?
— In 2016, we received 42,549 applications, 3,400 of them were collective ones. This is half as much as in 2015. Statistics indicate that last year most people were concerned about the issues of criminal procedure legislation — 13,366 appeals were received, and the legislation in the sphere of housing and communal services — 7,183 appeals.
— This is the second key topic of our magazine…
— Actually, this is not surprising. After all, housing and communal services historically play a special role in our country, which is reflected even in children’s
— But what causes these headaches, if it comes to housing and communal services?
— Most often, complaints concern the problems of dilapidated and emergency housing, deterioration of communal infrastructure, rise in tariffs for housing and communal services,
The problems of housing stock deterioration are especially acute. Today, 72 percent of Russians live in apartment buildings — this is more than
It’s not surprising that from year to year we receive complaints about the relocation from emergency housing: in 2016 — 540, in 2015 — 361. Mostly, citizens complain about the lack of funding for the implementation of the resettlement program and the low quality of the housing being built — which is particularly disappointing. It turns out that people are moving from one wreck to another. As one complainant indignantly remarked at the personal reception, "On paper, relocation to a new building is enshrined, and in fact it is a mockery".
— How do you work with concrete appeals in practice?
— For example, we received a complaint from a resident of the town of Rzhev, Tver region in which she reported on the emergency condition of the apartment house and the failure of local
In the course of joint verification with the supervisory authorities, the arguments of the tenants were confirmed. The State Housing Inspectorate of the Tver Region concluded that the technical state of the house did not meet the requirements of legislation and required inspection. However, the city administration did not comply with the order. Only after the High Commissioner had appealed to the Rzhevsk Interdistrict Prosecutor’s Office, and the Procurator had taken countermeasures, the house was examined by an interdepartmental commission, recognized as substandard and subject to demolition. Residents had a hope for relocation to a comfortable apartment. Another typical case occurred in the Moscow Region. The residents of the city of Ozery complained to the High Commissioner about the unsatisfactory technical condition of the living quarters in the newly built house.
In the course of the joint check with law enforcement agencies, numerous violations were discovered during the construction and property delivery of a new building. At the same time, the administration of the urban settlement of Ozery did not take measures to ensure the safety of citizens living in the house. No tender was held to choose the property management company, moreover, the house was not prepared for winter. Only after the procurator’s office had taken the appropriate measures citizens were relocated to comfortable apartments.
It is worth noting that such appeals are received constantly, including during the live programme "Human Rights". There are a lot of problems in our housing and utilities infrastructure, and they need to be resolved immediately. The decent life of hundreds of thousands of our citizens, and hence the social health of society as a whole depends on how effectively we can do this. The Institution of the High Commissioner does everything possible, but it is not omnipotent. Such problems can be solved only by all the state institutions interested in stable and prosperous Russia.
— Another serious resonant problem has suddenly become the renovation program proposed by the Moscow Government. In your opinion, why has such a wonderful idea received so much criticism?
— It had long been clear that