Minskers united against compaction
Initiative groups of
citizens protesting against the policy of the compacted construction
in Minsk, have signed a memorandum on cooperation and mutual
assistance. With the mediation of the "European Perspective"
they want to influence the urban planning of Minsk City Executive
The construction of a Chinese hotel in 40-hoddzia Kastrychnika park, the demolition of the bus station "Maskouski", the planned new buildings in the Uruccha suburb district and Sevastopalski park – these are just a few problem areas of conflict of interest of the city authorities and local residents. To protect their rights, citizens of Minsk decided to unite.
Activist Vera Tsitovich: "For ten years we have lived in a state of defense, and now – in the state of war. Our Tsnianskaya Street is adjacent to Kamarouski market. This is air pollution and a hard environmental situation. The only bright spot here is the stadium. We have been offered a plan of destruction of the stadium and construction of buildings six times. Therefore, we, the people, have decided not only to write letters of protest, but also unite. So we decided to compile a document – a memorandum to mark ourselves not as a group of individuals, but as a some kind of organization which unites people for cooperation and mutual assistance. "
The first step of the new association of citizens should be the creation of the Community Advisory Board at the Committee of Architecture and Urban Planning of Minsk City Executive Committee, with the participation of members of the initiative groups. The activists also plan to ensure that the so-called "arbitrators" of the Belarusian Union of Architects, who are experts in conflict situations, act transparently. They also intend to involve in this work deputies of all levels and apply to the Presidential Administration, as far as the factor of corruption has a great influence on the question of compacted building.
Viktar Talmachou: "Since 1997 we have been dealing with the problem of Sevastopal park, and the plans to construct an Iranian entertainment center there, which we finally managed to get cancelled. The reason for the compacted construction was found out in 2007: the construction companies, which use the existing infrastructure, get 300% of the profits and have a great opportunity to bribe the administration at all levels. Their main target are officials of Minsk City Executive Committee. You know one of them, Ihar Vasiljeu, who was so much corrupted by these construction companies have corrupted that he began to take bribes which were too large even for the Presidential Administration. It is necessary to build new apartment, but the order must be as follows: if 20 years passed after the building of a suburb – nothing must be built there afterwards."
The new association of citizens emerged with the support of the "European Perspective" and has no plans to register as a civil society organization. Activists plan to set up a working group and call all citizens who dare to defend their rights and interests to join the initiative.
An activist of "European Belarus" Denis Kabrusiou: "The task of this memorandum is to bring people together for mutual support and the exchange of experience. All of us have similar experience of dealing with the same officials, the same officials impose their thoughts on everybody and ignore the opinions of citizens. Another aim is to increase the influence of citizens, because that fact that representatives of six civil initiative gathered here indicates that such cases are not occasional, but systemic. It means that the policy of compacted building without taking into account the citizens' opinion is carried out on a regular basis."
According to Mr. Kabrusiou, at present the information support to the new civil association is given by the website of the "European Perspective". The activists also prepare information about their activities on their own.