The poor were offered to be relocated to rental housing

Малоимущих предложили переселять в арендное жилье

Andrey Shirokov, Chairman of the Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation on Entrepreneurship in the field of housing and communal services, proposed transferring privatized apartments of poor Russians to municipal ownership, and relocating the owners themselves to subsidized rental housing.

According to Shirokov, the massive privatization of housing in the 90s was a mistake, as it gave rise to a huge class of “poor owners” who do not know how to manage their home in a difficult financial situation. The way out could be voluntary deprivation, when the apartments of Russians would become municipal property: “First of all, for the poor. Yes, the municipality will own the housing, but it will also bear full responsibility for its maintenance.”

This mood seems to be understandable: the debt of citizens for communal services will soon reach a trillion rubles, then this figure will only grow.

Mr. Shirokov’s idea of renting municipal housing to the poor is based on the experience of Soviet times. At that time, the main part of the housing stock was owned by the state – citizens used it on terms of social employment. The apartment was de jure managed by the authorities, and a citizen could only live in it for life, without having the right to buy it out. Parents and their children could also use the apartment for life. And what is important: the payment for social hiring was very affordable, mere pennies compared to today’s communal apartment.

Does the representative of the Chamber of Commerce suggest using this model? Does he not understand the fundamental difference between the government in Soviet times and today’s municipal one? After all, it is severely limited in powers, receives extremely scarce funding from above, which leads to insufficient financing of public services and a lack of investment in infrastructure and development projects. It’s scary to imagine what kind of chaos will begin where the poor will be evicted…

Then why did the Chamber of Commerce and Industry announce this ridiculous idea? A number of experts saw this as an attempt to stir up protest moods in society on the eve of the presidential elections of the Russian Federation. It really looks like a provocation.

Lavrenty Pavlov.

Figure: E. Crane.


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