The house that does not exist any more

The Muromtsev dacha, once home and then museum of writer Venedikt Yerofeev and Nobel laureate Ivan Bunin, a veritable cultural center of Moscow’s Tsaritsyno district, scene of literary evenings, theater plays, city-preserving meetings, a house that twenty years ago was officially declared as non-existent and two months ago, on the night from the second to the third of January was arsoned – now really does not exist any more.

Today in the early morning the police and the OMON – the special units of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs – invaded the garden of the burned out Muromtsev dacha. Without showing any document of authorization to the inhabitants of the dacha and their friends keeping guard in the garden, they immediately cordoned off the house. Those who wanted to defend the house with their own bodies were arrested and taken to the police.

Ivan Mitin who since the arson in January has kept reporting on the fate of the dacha:

At eight in the morning the bulldozers started to pull down the house. A bus load of Tadzhik guest workers were delivered to the spot. They protested against being photographed. It was obvious that they are illegal workers and they could be expelled from Russia at any time. The Major of Moscow did not risk the success of the action by sending Russian workers.

According to Russian law, whoever has lived for more than fifteen years in his or her own flat cannot be evicted. The inhabitants of the Muromtsev dacha have lived here since the 1930s. Even the oldest inhabitant was born here. Besides, since 2009 the dacha has been submitted to the list of protected monuments, and thus it was automatically protected from being pulled down for the time of the judgment of the applicaton. Nevertheless, the Major of Moscow Yuriy Luzhkov has personally ordered its demolition. In Tsaritsyno the price of estates has recently risen in a steep way. “We pay 500 rubels (some 12 euros) of indemnification to you” – for the sauna built by the inhabitants and only recognized by the authorities as their property – “and then go away in God’s name”, the chief policeman commanded the inhabitants.

Whatever is found under the ruins of the January fire falls automatically to the Tadzhiks. They either burn them or take them to the flea-market. The inhabitants are strictly prohibited to cross the cordon and to collect their own belongings. According to experts, within some weeks, after the end of the frost it would have become possible to ascertain whether the January fire was an arson. Now it will be impossible forever.

The above photos were mostly made by Igor Podgorny and Vladimir Astapkovich, photographer of the ITAR TASS news agency. * In the last hours some additional photo series were uploaded to the Russian net as well.

The first English language report has been published too by Lena Lebedeva-Hooft, who has also opened a “cause group” on Facebook. Those present at the events and several Russian bloggers are sending written protests to President Medvedev. Not as if they seriously confided in its success – but because they know they cannot do otherwise:

“In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me - and by that time no one was left to speak up” – quotes Igor Podgorny the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller.

And Bell-ringer illustrates the song of Verochka Dolina My house is flying with a series of the photos of the dacha.

Мне что-то стало трудно дышать.
Что-то со мною нужно решать.
То ли это болезнь суеты,
То ли это боязнь высоты.
О, друзья мои, дышащие легко!
Почему вы все время так далеко?
Если мог чей-то дом над землей парить,
Почему моему это не повторить?

Припев: Никто не знает, что мой дом летает.
В нём орущие дети и плачущий пёс.
Никто не знает, что мой дом летает...
О, только бы ветер далеко не унес!
It’s somehow difficult to breath
I should resolve something in myself:
is it just a transitory illness?
or a fear of the height?
Oh, my friends, you who breath easily,
why are you always so far from me?
If others could build their houses on earth
why cannot I do the same?

Refr: Nobody knows that my house’s flying
with children shouting and a dog crying inside
nobody knows that my house’s flying…
Oh, I wish the wind would not take it far!

We invite our readers to spread the news (eventually by translating this post to their own languages). Some Russian photographers have declared that their photos can be freely used for the purpose.

4 comentarios:

Hayden dijo...

Thank you for your courage in standing witness. I will link to this tomorrow.

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks a lot for helping to make publicity to the case. This is very necessary now to support the evicted inhabitants of the destroyed dacha and their circle of friends fighting for their rights to the site.

Igor Zolnerkevic dijo...

It's sad to know everywhere in World stupid politicians destroy real art and culture in the name of nothing.

Studiolum dijo...

Rather, in the name of power and money. And this case was only one among many similar ones happening in these months all over Moscow and Russia.