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The law on the housing and communal services sector reform adopted by the State Duma will have serious consequences for both the population and the sector

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The law on the housing and communal services sector reform adopted by the State Duma will result in price increases and lead to a situation where the problems of "freezing" regions will not be resolved by next winter," stated Head of the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma Grigory Yavlinsky after the adoption of the amendments to the law "On the Basis of the Federal Housing Policy" (on April 9, 2003) in the third final reading by the lower house of Russian parliament

Yavlinsky also stated that the actions of the government "do not make it possible to restore the housing and communal sector," and, on the contrary lead to "complete destabilization in the housing and communal services sector in the very near future.""We express our categorical disagreement with such government policies and [Duma] factions supporting the government," stressed YABLOKO's leader.

For adoption of the amendments to the law "On the Basis of the Federal Housing Policy" in the third final reading.
Factions Votes,%
Communist Party 0%
"Unity" 98.77%
"People's deputy" 92.45%
"Fatherland - All Russia" 100%
Union of the Right-Wing Forces 21.88%
"Yabloko" 0%
"Russia's Regions" 65.96%
LDPR 92.31%
Agro-Industrial group 0%
Independent deputies 28.57%

Complete results

Grigory Yavlinsky also noted that many deputies of the Duma are aware that the draft law is targeted against their electorates and "was pushed though with violations of the Regulations of the Duma."

"The law was adopted in favour of monopolistic and oligarchic structures, - said Yavlinsky, - tariff increases for housing and communal services will lead to a rise in non-payments and communal services agencies will be transformed into debtors and bankrupts and will subsequently be transferred to the hands of quite another structures that will dictate their policies to both business and administrative bodies." He added: ?That is the essence of this law."

"YABLOKO will do all it can to explain to the Federation Council the consequences of the adoption of this law and will then insist that the President return this draft law to the Duma for radical changes," added Yavlinsky.

Answering a question from a journalist on the leader of the YABLOKO faction explained that YABLOKO submitted to the Duma about 100 amendments to the draft law, which can also be used to form an alternative draft law. The essence of YABLOKO's proposals is to demonopolize the sector and attract small and medium-scale businesses, stimulate the formation of housing owner associations and introduce mandatory public auditing for monopolies.

Asked about YABLOKO-s attitude to the creation of a large company, with the participation of the RAO UES, Gazprom and a number of other companies, to manage the housing and communal services sector, Yavlinsky responded that the involvement of such large monopolists in the sector represented "merely a method to obtain all remaining resources and money from the sector. This is the worst thing that could be invented for the housing and communal services sector."

According to Yavlinsky, this approach is dangerous, as all these companies will privatize the entire infrastructure of the housing and communal services sector to recover debts and will use this infrastructure as an instrument of political pressure, including against the the population. "Finally they will gain access to political power on the threshold of elections, and we have already seen this 'signature' before," said Yavlinsky.

According to Yavlinsky, small and medium-sized businesses rather than "monopolies v the dinosaurs of the Soviet period which come and suck all the money out of the sector - should be allowed to enter the housing and communal services sector."

"The housing and communal services sector reform represents a mirror of the reforms in Russia," said Yavlinsky. "In 1992 when inflation reached 2,600%, the population was deprived of their savings, and then with the help of 'vouchers' (Ed. word coined up by journalist and used in Russia for 'privatisation certificates') the most profitable pieces of the economy were torn apart, but in that period neither flats, electricity, telephones or gas, i.e. the infrastructure proper, were affected, and people got used to the changes and survived. And now the turn has come for the population-s very surroundings, the flats they live in." This represents another step in the same direction, but now affects the entire population of our country and will lead to heavy losses for our citizens and our country in general," stressed YABLOKO's leader.

See also:

Housing and Communal Reform
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