On May 29, 2013 during a session of the city council mayor of Kurgan Alexander Yakushev has officially stated his position regarding the appeals to court on eviction of Roma people living in one of the districts of this city.
Responding to an appeal of a “popular assembly” of Zatobolny district, which was presented at the session of the city council by local deputy Boris Shalyutin and which stated that Roma people are a nuisance to local dwellers and thus the city administration should appeal to court for their expulsion from municipal land, Yakushev stated that Roma people live in Zatobolny district on lands that were allocated to them before 1994, when they were forced to leave the area due to a flood, and thus they live their completely legally.The problem of a lack of proper registration will be solved with the assistance of local administration. This position of the mayor is in full compliance with both international norms on the human rights, the ban on discrimination, and the “Complex of measuresfor socio-economic and ethno-cultural development of Roma people in the Russian Federation for 2013-2014” adopted by the Ministry of regional development at the end of last year, which is the basic document concerning state policy regarding Roma people.
As for the decision adopted by the “popular assembly” of Zatobolny district which was organized by the local dwellers dissatisfied with Roma people, it was characterized as an expression of xenophobia and racism and the mayor correctly qualified it as an attempt to create inter-ethnic conflict. Journalists also stated in media reports that “the proposals made by the outraged local dwellers do not fit into existing legislation and the legal field” (see report in Russian: http://aktualno.ru/view/kurgan/society/13728). It is certain that proposals concerning any illegal actions based on ethnic hatred, stated during such assemblies should not be supported by the local authorities.
Piotr Krasnov, a lawyer of ADC “Memorial”, has also made a similar statement earlier during a meeting with Kurgan local authorities. Krasnov has visited Kurgan on the request of local Roma people threatened by possible eviction on November 1, 2012. He participated in a meeting of the working group on legalization of dwelling of Roma people in Zatobolny district and spoke there about unacceptability of violation of the rights of Roma minority and Russia’s international obligations in this area. During this meeting first deputy mayor of Kurgan has assured the participants that there was no threat of destruction of the Roma settlement and that, on the contrary, the local administration will assist Roma people in legalizing their houses and lands there.
ADC “Memorial” supports this balanced and consistent position of Kurgan administration concerning the rights of the Roma minority, which is based on international norms, the laws of the Russian Federation and the corresponding program of the Ministry of regional development.