Not far from the metropolis of Odessa, a few kilometers along the Black Sea coastline, sits the small town of Zatoka.
To be frank, it is little more than an increasingly dilapidated Soviet holiday destination with decaying Soviet holiday complexes, and is also “datcha-ville” for those that desire a small (usually less than comfortable) holiday hovel on or by the sea.
Throughout the many years this blog has been running Zatoka has managed to gain a mention but once for nefarious reasons that are relevant to this entry – the desire to obtain this seaside land (relatively) cheaply and develop it.
The nefarious attempts to gain control over land – either bought or (normally) leased for 49 years – have gone on for many, many years. Numerous court cases have been fought and eventually won by existing owners and/or tenants, despite forged documents, armed young men en masse turning up and throwing legitimate occupiers out of the properties, illegal court actions,, colluding prosecutors and corrupt local politicians.
It appears that Zatoka, and those lawfully there, are once again undergoing an illegal onslaught with absolutely no response by the State to once and for all firmly deal with the matter.
— Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) May 23, 2016
As the aforementioned tweet of 23rd May stated, the illicit and clearly criminal attempts to obtain nefarious occupation and ownership/lease holding of prime Zatoka land, has resumed with assorted criminal actions that required prompt investigation and jailing of those involved by the State.
Failure to do so in all probability will see the Zatoka issues continue to gather momentum and the lawfully resident constituency be subjected to increasing violence and coercion – in this particular case, arson at two locations known as Topaz and Geologist. (It is not the first time either have been targeted by such criminality – as have other locations such as Lions.)
Lo it has come to pass, as pessimistically predicted in the absence of prompt and forceful action, another attack on a different Zatoka location occurred on 29th May – this time at the Zori Tiraspol recreation centre (and once again not for the first time). On this occasion a “security firm” arrived, throwing legitimate occupants out of the centre, and who then began to demolish the buildings.
All of the aforementioned locations are properties on local government land, leased to the tenants – yet the local authorities do nothing for they are complicit in events.
For those wishing to acquire occupation of much sought after beach-side territory and/or property at the expense of the longstanding legitimate leaseholders, the following outlines the bureaucratic illegalities/standard criminal schemes.
Those with nefarious intent with the assistance and collusion of the local prosecutors create concocted and imaginary events and incidents that in some way manage to breach a technicality in the lease. Those with nefarious intent can either do so directly with the local prosecutors, or by first approaching the Belgorod-Dneister court who then contact the local prosecutors with instructions to create and/or find a technicality that can eventually be ruled as being a breach of lease by the Belogorod-Dneister court.
The subsequent court ruling then allows the nefarious interests to bribe, coerce or act in cahoots with the Zatoka Village Council to cancel the existing lease and issue a new lease to the new and distinctly criminal tenants.
At some point a few years into the lease those then holding the lease will buy the territory and all properties thereon relatively cheaply from the local Village Council – even after accounting for the bribes necessarily involved.
Naturally there is no possible recourse for the legitimate tenants through the local prosecutors, local courts, or Village Council – all of whom are involved.
Appeals to higher authorities and courts are required which initially, if the complainants are lucky, basically issue an order banning any further action – by anybody. In short everything stops on the property/territory.
Eventually the nefarious acts are (often) overturned – but nobody gets punished for such criminal attempts/conspiracy, or criminal acts such as arson, criminal damage or assaults.
Some time passes and the next attempts begin – as seems to be the case now, and hence the tweet stating robust action need be taken posthaste this time, and once and for all.
If the regional rule of law institutions cannot (for whatever reason) implement the rule of law swiftly, why not bring in a team from another region – Lviv or Dnipro for example – that have no connection to Odessa to investigate? There is an audit/documented trail for this scheme to operate after all – and for each and every attempt.
Unless events in Zatoka are tackled immediately, robustly and vigorously then they are going to continue as was unfortunately predicted in the tweet above – and that will do little for public confidence with regard to the perceived sanctity of property rights under the current national leadership, let alone attempts at creating the perception of reformed governance and the institutions of State.
It is time those involved in such schemes now begin to be jailed for a long time if the desired perceptions within society are to materialise with regard to governance and State institutions.
Unfortunately, a reader may suspect that Zatoka will continue to see such criminal incidents occur throughout the summer – perhaps such suspicions are rightly founded too.