19 July 2019, Friday, 16:13
We are in the same boat

Lawyer: The Housing Issue of Minsk Faces the Same Challenge as the "Parasite" One

Lukashenka's officials are walking twice into the same water.

In Belarus, the so-called "House of Representatives" adopted a new version of the Housing Code in the first reading, which tightens requirements for those willing to join the housing queue in the capital.

Now, in order to join the housing queue in Minsk, none of the spouses in a young family should have real estate in the capital. But the new edition of the Housing Code implies no real estate both in Minsk and the Minsk district.

Leanid Sudalenka, lawyer and legal inspector of the REP Trade Union, the national prize winner for human rights protection in 2017, commented Charter97.org on new restrictions:

- The adoption of the new code is a logical continuation of the policy of the state, which has one direction - the maximum cut of all social benefits.

We see how much the state "helps" citizens in the solving of the housing issue. The geography of new restrictions is noteworthy. Why have they decided to "press down" only the Minsk district? They could involve the entire Minsk region. Once again, it proves a step-by-step implementation of the plan to curtail social programs.

At first, an opportunity for native Minskers for preferential queue was revoked, now it's turn of residents of the district; Lukashenka wants capital's residents to move to fellow towns. The state rejects any help to citizens; it no longer has money for such projects.

- From a legal point of view, can people who have lost their housing queue because of the new code somehow fight for their rights?

- This situation has its story. According to the Constitution, Belarus cannot adopt laws that worsen the situation of citizens. But it has already become an axiom for the authorities to neglect the Constitution with by-laws.

Let's remember the story with the "parasite" decree. The Constitution stipulates the right of the Belarusians to work or not to work. But right now the Homel resident Maria Tarasenka is defending her lawsuit against the district commission, which, having violated the Basic Law, put her on the list of "parasites".

Here the Constitution provides for the right to own property, and the state does not provide them assistance, but also challenges their ability to buy housing in the capital.

Officials are accustomed to the fact that the Constitution exists somewhere far from them. And they adopt by-laws that complicate lives of our citizens.

Here is the repetition of a scandalous story: they want the housing issue to follow the fate of the "parasite" one.

Therefore, I recommend those citizens, who now lose the opportunity to build housing in Minsk, not to rush to surrender, but to go to court and defend their rights.

- The new code was adopted against the backdrop of regular statements of Lukashenka that "Minsk has its limits". In particular, March 11, he said to the head of Minsk, Anatol Sivak, "20% of the population lives in Minsk, it can't be like this anymore". What could you say about such statements?

- That's absurd. I'd like to remind of provisions of the Constitution, which guarantees every Belarusian the right to choose a place of residence.

And every citizen should determine where to live independently, without interference of the state. If someone wants to become a citizen of Minsk tomorrow, he or she has every right to come to the capital and no one should hinder him or her either by word or by means of various by-laws.

Who can say that two million people are enough for Minsk, and others should move to districts? Is this the creation of a ghetto for those who missed luck? Is this pulling the plug on those who have decided to change their place of residence too late?

From a legal point of view, there should be no such statements at all. This is an absurdity expressed aloud, nothing more.

- A few days after Lukashenka's words "Minsk has its limits," the Interior Ministry sent him for signature a draft decree on cheap apartments of the Capital Projects Division (CPD) to be sold through an auction. Is it a coincidence or a deliberate policy?

- I think it's decided to take under control all agencies, first of all the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Shunevich and to act in accordance with instructions of Lukashenka.

If he said "Minsk has its limits - that's enough," it's an excuse for performers at different levels to create all kinds of obstacles for people, willing to buy housing in Minsk.

Cheap apartments of the CPD were a kind of outlet to become the capital's residents. Auction means an increase in price. Every measure is taken to make people move to fellow towns.

Meanwhile, the authorities act at random as in the situation with "parasites". They ignore constitutional rights of citizens. They rush to comply with instructions they received from Lukashenka's administration.

And again, as in the situation with the decree on "parasites", they can make a lot of blunders. Therefore, Belarusians should take a stand and defend their rights.

Lukashenka's treasury is empty, social programs are being curtailed, and in order to comply with the ruler's decrees, his officials are walking twice into the same water.


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