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Translated by Ollie Richardson


Ukraine claimed ninth place in the UN ranking on the number of internally displaced persons. Experts estimated that 1,600,000 citizens of the country were forced to abandon their houses. The calculation can hardly be considered as objective – it is based on the data of the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy, which registers only those citizens who move from the East to the West of the country. Those refugees who moved to Crimea (500,000-1,000,000) or to “continental” Russia (from 2 to 3 million) weren’t considered.

The cunningness of the recalculation of refugees allow Kiev to save significantly on social benefit payments – those who fled the country to the East don’t receive a kopeck. Thus, compensation from the Ukrainian State is received, in fact, by only every fourth internal immigrant. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine already sounded the alarm: there aren’t enough funds for the payments of compensation to all persons in need.

But Kiev’s main problem is still ahead – it is necessary to face it when the IDPs start to submit claims to the courts, demanding compensation for destroyed houses. According to Ruslan Kalinin, the adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rozenko, it will be “a wave of cases”, because every third immigrant who is officially registered in Ukraine from Donbass was left without a roof over their head. The logic is simple: if the state conducts an “anti-terrorist operation”, shelling peaceful cities and villages, then it is obliged to offset the losses of law-abiding citizens affected by the destruction. But the claims will be submitted also by those whose houses haven’t yet been destroyed – as Ruslan Kalinin explained, many civil structures abandoned by inhabitants are used by the military and volunteers. Of course, they use all municipal amenities, but at the same time they don’t pay neither for electricity or for water. And the owners of housing have every reason to challenge the bills and penalty fees they have incurred – they live in other places, and this is documented by their registration in the Ministry of Social Policy.

“Of course, this is a war,” explains Kalinin, “and nobody will ask for permission – the military used and left it, and the bills came to the owners”. Besides this, according to the official, “there are many cases where the house was destroyed, the IDPs left in a hurry, and utility payments are accumulated, but the IDPs don’t know about it”.

In the country there is still no mechanism of compensation for destroyed houses – in three years no deputy of the Verkhovna Rada suggested to adopt the relevant law. Nothing is said about compensation in the package of “laws on Donbass” pushed forward by Petro Poroshenko’s administration. Most likely, Maidan activists expect that it won’t be up to them to deal with compensation and the destruction, but their successors.

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