Police turns blind eye on apartments illegal squatting

Illegal seizure of apartments is a near-criminal business of purchasing a share in someone’s property and then creating unbearable conditions for other owners to persuade them to sell the rest of the apartment. Moscow resident Olga M. told Alexander Litoi about how that business worked.

They buy a share in the apartment but formalize it as a gift agreement, so you can’t buy it back and then they create unbearable conditions for you. In my case, the raider had been my niece. In 2013, she sold her share in my one-bedroom apartment where I’ve been living since 1980.

My niece sold her share to Alexander Galtsev, a former policeman. In my absence, they knocked the door out, stole my papers. Then he called me to inform that we had now been flatmates.

When I returned to the apartment, I found the door locks removed and the interior was a complete mess. Police refused to intervene as nothing had been stolen.

The next day Galtsev attempted to break into my apartment. When police arrived, he had produced the gift agreement. The police departed as he formally had a right to enter the flat.

I insisted he could enter only if the court rules in his favor. Still, police let him in.

In the presence of police Galtsev behaved politely but the moment the police left he had become aggressive. For eight hours he was persuading me to vacate the apartment. I refused because my mother, a war veteran, lives in the same building. I myself had lived in that apartment for 30 years.

The next day he came again, telling that he was going to move in with his mother-in-law, wife and two children. Later I found out he had no children. He also threatened to settle 15 guest workers in my apartment.

The next day he offered me to change my share in the apartment for the share in other ones. I didn’t get it, what’s the sense in the share swapping. Then Galtsev published an announcement that my flat had been for sale.

In my absence, Galtsev came in and sprayed the apartment with some stinky chemical substances. He stole passwords from my accounts in the social networks and broke my pages.

Since no one wanted to buy my apartment, he broke in with some other man armed with a huge jigsaw. They started to throw my belongings and my cat outside. Then they threw out of the flat myself. Galtsev warned that he was going to “behave tough with me”.

When I called police, they had demanded that I’d prove these had been my belongings.

Galtsev offered me to move to the towns outside of Moscow which I couldn’t buy.

Two weeks later he completely destroyed the apartment, but police once again refused to intervene.

Galtsev settled several outcasts in my flat who didn’t let me in. Police idled all the time.

I was scared to death, lost 15 kg, and my only goal had been to stay alive. I met online the people who had also been Galtsev’s victims. They told me he had been a member of the organized criminal group. Still out collective complaints fell on deaf ear of the law-enforcement agencies, who insisted that this was not a crime but a civil conflict.

Eventually, a criminal case against Galtsev was opened under articles “Beatings” and “Coercion into agreement”.

There are about 30 groups of apartment raiders in Moscow. Some of them have been imprisoned but the rest keep walking free.

Galtsev possessed 24 shares in different apartments he had been jungling with, giving them out to some “professional squatters” who make their living by occupying someone else’s property.

The ethnic Kyrgyz (but the Russian citizens) family couple and their three children, had squatted my apartment. They used my belongings, destroyed all furniture, set kitchen on fire and didn’t let me into the flat.

After three months of occupation they left the befouled flat and started to rent it out online.

I’d receive threats million of times: “We are young, you are old, we gonna wait until you’ll do your dash”. Galtsev, who had taken over my account in the social network, wrote offensives on my friends’ pages.

After I filed the lawsuit, the Kyrgyz woman had beaten me, and she did it very professionally. They weren’t afraid of police but understood that the court would be on my side.

At the court hearing Galtsev said he didn’t mind me living in the apartment. He agreed to return me the keys and to settle the dispute.

But two hours later they changed the locks again. As I had the court’s ruling, I opened the door and entered the apartment. A few days later the Kyrgyz women tried to break into the apartment and when she failed, she entered it through the window that she had smashed (this is ninth floor).

Galtsev kept calling me all the time, saying that he’d never forget me because the federal TV channel aired a report about that situation.

I live in that nightmare for three years now.

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