Fight at Grozny TAC between displaced persons and officials
By Umalt Chadayev
CHECHNYA – A fight has taken place at one of Grozny’s TACs (temporary accommodation centres) between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and district administration officials. A member of the Information Centre of the Union of Chechen Non-governmental Organizations (SNO) told Prague Watchdog’s correspondent that the incident occurred at the TAC on Tchaikovsky Street on the night of January 23. He says that as a result of the clash two women living at the camp were seriously wounded, and that one was taken to hospital with suspected spinal injuries.
The issue of the closure of TACs in the Chechen Republic is a recurring problem. The authorities have promised that none of the IDPs will be left without a roof over their heads, and that each family will either be provided with housing from municipal funds or be given land on which to build a property. However, the reality is somewhat different.
A few weeks ago, the closure began of a TAC located in the suburb of Chernorechye in Grozny’s Zavodskoy district. Migration and local authority officials ordered people to vacate the premises at very short notice. Each family was granted 18,000 roubles for rented accommodation over a period of six months, as well as certificates entitling them to preferential municipal housing. Many IDPs believe that actions of this kind amount to common deception.
"I know just how much these promises by officials are worth," says Maret (38), a female Chechen resident. "Two years ago, when we were living in a TAC in Ingushetia, a whole group of various kinds of officials arrived to encourage us to return to the republic, swearing assurances that everyone who returned would very soon be paid compensation for housing destroyed in the war and would receive every kind of assistance. As soon as we arrived, we were put into TACs, where the living conditions were no better – if not worse – than those we’d had in Ingushetia. And that was it – the authorities just forgot about us. Now they’ve remembered us again because the order has come from "up there" that all TACs are to be closed down and the problem of IDPs is to be got rid of.“
“Now they’re promising us the land of milk and honey again," she says. "As soon as we leave the TAC they’ll forget about us. In order to convince people of their good intentions, they usually provide apartments for two or three families, and the rest are promised that housing will be allocated. That’s as far as it goes."
"I know several families who were living in TACs and were then given apartments in Grozny. After a while people appeared who had all the legal deeds to the apartments , and the IDPs were left with nothing. I won’t mention their names, so that people don’t have problems later on. They’re now trying to provide them with new housing, " says a member of a local human rights organization.
"Nearly everything here is done Chernomyrdin-style (Chernomyrdin was Russia’s prime minister under President Yeltsin).You remember his famous ‘We hoped for the best, but it turned out like always?’ It’s the same here. Our authorities may be hoping for the best, but it’s turning out like it usually does – i.e. not in the interests of people who’re disadvantaged," he says.
Meanwhile the authorities claim that the problem of internally displaced persons in Chechnya is being dealt with quite successfully. "There are currently 12 TACs operating in Grozny. They are home to just over 1,000 families. Last year there were 21 TACs in the city, housing 4,445 families. In the space of only one year we’ve been able to resettle more than 3,000 families. Some of them received accommodation from the ‘refused housing fund’ [flats that have been transferred to the state by their original tenants, who typically left Chechnya], and others are being given the opportunity to rent an apartment," the mayor's office in Grozny says.
According to some reports, it is planned close the several large TACs still remaining in Grozny in the spring of this year. Where the authorities intend to resettle the families who live there, while the problem of IDPs living in TACs that have been officially closed has not yet been resolved, is unknown.
(Translation by DM)
(T) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Residents of TACs in Chechnya receive promises of help with resettlement (PW, 10.5.2007)
· Situation surrounding residents of TACs in Chechnya remains unclear (PW, 26.5. 2006)