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The authorities in Daghestan’s capital, Makhachkala, are to begin demolishing illegally constructed apartment buildings in the city, according to acting mayor Abusupyan Gasanov. At a meeting on 9 July, the mayor said a special commission would be set up to determine which of the buildings are dangerous.
Gasanov said that 328 illegally erected apartment buildings in the city may be subject to demolition. Most were built under Said Amirov, mayor from 1998–2013, who was sentenced to life in prison in August 2015 on murder, banditry, and terrorism charges. Others were built under the tenures of former mayors Magomed Suleymanov, who has been in hiding since the end of June 2018 after his previous workplace was audited, and Musa Musayev, who was arrested in January on suspicion of exceeding official authority.
According to local daily Chernovik, building permits and other documentation are often obtained in court after buildings are completed and once tenants have already moved in. Chernovik reported developers often obtain permission for only a private house, and then construct taller apartment buildings paying the fines for each additional, illegally constructed floor.
Daghestan’s Ministry of Construction and the city administration have both blamed each other for the illegal constructions, and court decisions to demolish buildings have so far often remained unexecuted.
Construction on the house territory
Several residents of Makhachkala’s Akushinsky Street told OC Media that construction of an illegal multi-storey building began several years ago in the yard of their building. According to them, in 2016, the Makhachkala city administration rented a plot of land to a local resident on the adjacent territory of their building. Soon after, construction of a seven-storey residential building began on the plot, consent for which was signed by the then mayor Musa Musayev.
‘But they did not obtain a building permit’ one of the residents told OC Media, adding that construction of buildings over three stories was prohibited on the area.
Local residents said they had gone through several courts, all the while the developer continued to the construction and completed four floors. This summer, Kirov District Court ordered the illegally erected building be demolished by 18 July. However, according to the local residents, the building’s developer does not plan to comply with the order. ‘According to our information, he is going to file an appeal and is sure the Supreme Court of Daghestan will take his side’, one explained.
‘They finance illegal construction’
Acting head of Daghestan Vladimir Vasilyev announced in early 2018 that illegal buildings would be demolished, and the first attempt to demolish several illegally constructed buildings took place in June.
This caused protests among residents, who on 6 June took to the city’s central square demanding a meeting with Vasilyev. The authorities then adjusted their plans to create a commission to determine whether houses on the list to be demolished posed a danger to people’s lives.
‘In these 328 houses, our countrymen have purchased flats, investing their money to improve their living conditions. Many of them are at risk of becoming homeless. It is necessary to find a way to issue permits for buildings in which people already live’, explained mayor Gasanov at the meeting on 9 July.
Local state-run news agency RIA Derbent, referring to Daghestan’s the Ministry of Construction and Housing, reported that citizens who had invested in buildings to be demolished would not receive apartments or compensation from the state. They cited Murad Omarov, head of the Construction Supervision Department, as saying that those people had financing illegal constructions, and therefore were also participants in the offence.
The city administration has continued to sell land for construction of high-rise buildings. The Property Management Committee has auctioned dozens of sites, despite the City Hall repeatedly stating they had no free land in Makhachkala to allocate or build social housing.