Roma Families Evicted in Archangelsk

What is affected
Housing private
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 20 July 2006
Region E [ Europe ]
Country Russia
Location Archangelsk, Russia

Affected persons

Total 730
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details RussiaNE-Roma2006.doc
Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes 246
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative In 2004 in Arkhangelsk, Kelderari families obtained legal permission to rent their current parcels of land, which are located in the Novy Posyolok region. The permit was signed by Arkhangelsk’s mayor at the time, Mr. Nilov, and other local authorities. His political opponent, Mr. Donskoy, began to attack him over “allowing” the Roma to remain in
Arkhangelsk, accusing the former mayor of corruption for permitting the Roma to settle there, and accused the Roma of illegally building homes on their land parcels. Indeed, the permit given to the families allowed them to occupy the land, but still did not grant them permission to build houses, for which they had to wait for additional
documents, which were not forthcoming. However, the streets even received their names from the city administration, and the question was considered solved.

By the end of 2004, Mr. Nilov, as mayor, began the legal dispute over the Roma’s right to rent the lands which he had himself granted , to avoid the accusations of corruption with which he was charged. In July 2006 this whole Roma community had to leave the city on a train provided for this purpose by the city administration, taking them to the Moscow region, into another illegal situation… but out of the city’s political debates. []

The legal and administrative imbroglio regarding land property combined with the handling of its privatization by the local administration induced a situation of total dependency of the population upon local organs of power.

The Romani population is facing this difficulty to a tremendous degree. While groups forced to abandon their houses can hope to receive compensation for their duly registered property, only very few registered houses have been noted in Romani tabors. For example, in the village of Peri, only two houses out of 120 existing were officially registered; in Chudovo, two houses out of more than 130,
and so on, which makes it impossible to obtain any compensation for the demolished houses.

The fact that most of the Kelderari houses are not registered is due first of all to the conditions in which they had to settle, from 1956 onwards. Without any other directive except that they had to settle, they first built temporary houses on empty, unusable, and most often
marshy lands, which they themselves had made fit for construction.

Their rights to the houses they built were never properly documented. None of the attempts of ADC “Memorial” to find written traces yielded any results. In 2006, “Memorial” sent letters of inquiry to the Chudovo and the Novgorod State Archives, but was told that no documents related to the Romani settlement in Chudovo had been found.

At the same time, the authorities do not deny that in 1980, when the Kelderari community came to this location, they were permitted to settle there by the local authorities of the time (the District Committee of the Communist Party). As Mr Ivantsov, Head of the Administration of Leninskiy district (Tula) said to the mission, during the Soviet era “Roma built houses where they were pointed to” [Interview with Mr. Mikhaïl E. Ivantsov, Head of the Administration of Leninskiy district (Tula), 7 May 2007, in Ibid.]. The Romani families in all the places visited by the mission declare that their parents or they themselves obtained authorizations from the secretaries of local Communist Party of the Soviet Union in
the second half of the twentieth century. These agreements were viewed as a kind of “moral mutual confidence attitude.” Verbal agreements passed during the Soviet era no longer have legal value.

In other cases the arbitrariness

"In November 2004 the Roma’s attorneys won the court case by alleging that the construction of illegal houses is not a legal and valid enough reason to evict the Romani families since they were legally granted the right to inhabit on said property. The mayor’s legal team proceeded to declare
Costs €   0