Posted by Nadia Virna
Nearly 600 Ukrainian soldiers have died during the anti-terrorist operation (ATO). When it will stop – nobody knows.
Meanwhile, hundreds of families have lost breadwinners, and need social support, attention and care from the authorities and local governments.
The government has promised to create a State Service of Ukraine for War Veterans and Members of Anti-Terrorist Operations that will address registration, employment, medical and psychological rehabilitation, as well as provide affordable housing for families left without breadwinners.
The service still does not exist. It is unknown whether it will come to fruition, if ever. There is no knowing how the housing lists are formed. It was reported, however, that on August 13, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a decision on the allocation of funds for housing (70 apartments) to families of soldiers who died during the antiterrorist operation in Donbas.
Families, relatives and friends of the deceased independently are currently turning to local authorities to resolve the housing problem. The family of Sen. Lt. Vyacheslav Pelekhaty of Chernivtsi has chosen that path.
Vyacheslav Pelekhaty gave the military servicehis life and enlisted in the military operations in the East without hesitation. On June 9, his battalion was ambushed outside Slaviansk. Vyacheslav trotted onto a land mine; the doctors could not save his life. His widow and children lived crammed into a dorm room. Vyacheslav always believed that one day they would be able to get an apartment. After all, the family had been on the housing list since 2000. He did not live to see his dream of a home of their own to come true. His friends and loved ones demand the allocation of an apartment to the Pelekhaty family.
In the meantime, the Department of Environment and Tourism in the Chernivtsi Regional State Administration, where Maryna Pelekhata, the widow of the deceased, works, asked the Chernivtsi City Council to allocate the overdue housing. City Hall responded that there was no free housing:
“The Pelekhaty family, which consists of his widow and two sons, lives in a military barrack on 1 Chisinau St., which belongs to the Ministry of Defense, and has been on the housing list of the Chernivtsi army garrison since November 25, 2000.
“According to Article 15 of the Law “On the Status of War Veterans and Guarantees of their Social Protection,” veterans and their families can receive housing at the expense of apartments contributed by ministries and other central executive bodies, enterprises and organizations to local councils and state administrations. Today, construction companies have been banned from providing housing to municipalities. In addition, Chernivtsi City Council did not build housing this year due to a lack of housing funds in the city budget.
However, the Executive Committee of the City Council will look into the possibility of allocating housing to the family of Maryna Pelekhaty.”
We believe that such possibilities do exist if you search thoroughly enough, and especially if the search is aided by law enforcers. Read and analyze.
Here is more information on the distribution of housing in Chernivtsi over the last three years according to official information I obtained after the numerous requests for analysis, comparison and conclusions.
In 2013, the Chernivtsi City Hall allocated 11 apartments. All of them went to Chernobyl and Soviet-Afghan War veterans. So far so good, considering that there are about nine thousand people on the Chernivtsi the housing waiting list, of which nearly seven hundred enjoy priority rights.
However, a simple comparison of the year 2013 in the context of providing free housing with the years 2011, and especially 2012, raises a lot of questions.
In 2011-2012, 91 people received free apartments and areas that could be converted for to residences. A striking difference with the year 2013, isn’t it?
Among those who were lucky to get free municipal housing included Petro Koval, a former prosecutor of the Chernivtsi region (listed as number 340 and 22 December 2010, and thirteen people he works with control the waiting list).
Official paperwork says the prosecutor was allocated an apartment previously offered to number 4, who declined that housing, while the rest declined the living space due to the size of their families. In the meantime, prosecutor Koval’s tax declarations in 2011 and 2012 mention that his office accommodations include a Chernivtsi apartment of 112 square meters.
Hennady Movchan, the first deputy prosecutor of the Chernivtsi region, also received an apartment with lightning speed, despite the fact that he has lived in the oblast for less than a year (from December 2011 to October 2012), when he was first appointed the prosecutor of Ternopil.
A native of the Cherkasy region, he promptly made it into the housing list of the city’s Shevchenko district (on May 23, 2012, number 454 the priority list, number 14 in the workplace control list. However, due to the fact that numbers 1 to 13 declined the apartment due to the size of their families, Movchan got the apartment on 26 June 2012. Movchan has worked in Chernivtsi oblast prosecutor’s office for less than a year, and was on the waiting list for a month!
Ihor Markovsky, the Prosecutor Head of the Chernivtsi Oblast, became the lucky owner of a flat on November 27, 2012 (on the waiting list since 2004, number 204).
It is an established practice in Ukraine that when an official is appointed to a leadership position in another oblast for a short period of time, they get an apartment. Apartments can then be privatized, reassigned or sold to relatives.
A superficial look at the distribution of free housing in Chernivtsi indicates that in addition to border guard officers, the military and intelligence officers, and security officers, the apartments are also allocated to a quite different type of people.
In particular, consider the advisor to the Chairman of the Chernivtsi City Council Roman Dovhalyuk, who on September 25, 2012, obtained 64.70 sq meters of non-residential space along the main thoroughfare Chervonoarmiyska for conversion into housing. He got on the waiting list on March 24, 2010, and was number 2165.
A total area of 120.10 square meters located on downtown Ruska Street went to Vassyl Manchulenko, Deputy Chief of the Housing Department of the Chernivtsi CityCouncil.
The list of those who have been successful is impressive. Others, however, are less lucky. For example, in February 2012 in Chernivtsi, the Dovganiuk family’s apartment was totally destroyed by fire. Nobody even thought of providing new housing to them as they lived crammed in a tiny temporary apartment, and only last spring the Housing Department advised that they be placed on the housing list and asked the teachers’ trade union that the Dovganiuk family be assigned priority rights.
It seems a closer probe into the legality of the allocation of housing in 2011-2012 would have resulted in the availability of several other apartments. When there’s a will, there’s a way. I mean political will. It is about time for law enforcers and courts to shine the light into this very dark area of municipal economics.
Maybe this will eventually help the Pelekhaty family move into a long-sought-after apartment of their own – that Vyacheslav will never see.