Russian State Duma, pass a law so that the Children of GULAG can return home

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Alisa Meyssner, Elizaveta Mikhaylova and Evgeniya Shasheva should have been born in Moscow. Instead, they were born in special settlements of the GULAG (GULAG – Main directorate of labour camps in the Soviet Union), or beyond the “one hundred and first kilometer”, where their parents were deported to from Moscow in the 1930s and 1940s. 

The 1991 law "On the rehabilitation of victims of political repressions" guarantees that the "children of GULAG" have the right to return to the where their families had lived before the repressions. According to this law, the state must provide them with social housing. But for years, state officials and courts have denied the victims of repressions their right to return to their parents’ previous place of residence. The law does not work. The three women have been living in exile all their lives. 

Alisa, Elizaveta and Evgeniya won a case at the Constitutional Court. The court demanded to immediately amend the law. However, the execution of this decision is under threat. Contrary to the judgment of the Constitutional Court, the government put forward a bill, proposing that housing for victims of repressions should remain under the jurisdiction of regional authorities. This will put them at the very end of the line for social housing. In Moscow, for instance, one has to wait in line for 30 years. Alisa and Evgeniya turn 70 this year. After the decision of the Constitutional Court, Moscow authorities put them in line – there are 54 thousands families before them. By the time their turn comes, they will be more than 100 years old. 

There are only 1,5 thousand victims trying to return home. Their number is decreasing. In 10-15 years there will be no one to return. The bill proposed by the government is purposefully written in such a way that people, whom the state had harmed, would never get compensation. 

Human rights lawyers have prepared an alternative bill. According to this bill, victims should receive, within one year, federal subsidies for the purchase of housing. For example, such payments are provided for Chernobyl victims and veterans of the World War II. This bill is in line with the judgment of the Constitutional Court, but the Parliament has already rejected it.

We demand that the State Duma (the Parliament) follow the judgment of the Constitutional Court.

We demand to adopt a law that would allow victims of Soviet repressions to get priority housing in the place where their families had lived. 

We demand that the "children of GULAG" finally enjoy their right to return home.