Would-Be Homeowners In Bashkortostan On Hunger Strike

UFA, Russia — Five women in Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, have begun a hunger strike demanding overdue apartments they have paid for, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The women want Bashkortostan’s Housing Construction Fund to sign new contracts with them specifying the exact date when the construction of their new homes will be completed.

The construction of a new apartment complex called “Green Coast” started in Ufa in 2006. People who purchased apartments before they were built were told they would be ready to move into by 2008, but construction is still in progress.

The would-be homeowners already staged a hunger strike in March. The local authorities then pledged to intervene and allocated additional funds to expedite the completion of the complex.

However, the construction company is demanding additional money from the buyers, saying that property prices have changed since 2006.

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Russian Opposition Activist Released After Hunger Strike

MOSCOW — A Russian opposition activist who went on hunger strike after being sentenced to 10 days’ administrative detention was released early on October 20 after his health deteriorated, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Sergei Udaltsov, a coordinator for the opposition movement Left Front, was sentenced on October 13 after being found guilty of resisting police.

He told RFE/RL after the verdict was pronounced that he considered it unjust and would therefore start a “dry hunger strike,” meaning he would not eat or drink.

Udaltsov’s health deteriorated this week and he was taken to a Moscow hospital for treatment. Doctors then released him to recuperate at home.

Udaltsov told RFE/RL he felt normal and his health had “stabilized” after the hospital treatment. He said he was very surprised to have been released three days early.

Udaltsov was one of the organizers of the opposition Day of Wrath protest in Moscow on October 12.

He was arrested that day after he and other Day of Wrath participants tried to march to the president’s office to submit their written demands to the presidential chief of staff.

The Moscow authorities gave permission for the Day of Wrath, but only as a gathering, not as a march, which is why police intervened and arrested several activists.

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Hunger Strike Begins At Russian Labor Camp

KIROVO-CHEPETSK, Russia, — Convicts at a maximum security prison in central Russia have started a hunger strike to demand an easing of prison regulations and an end to “arbitrary reprisals,” RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Local rights activists told journalists that the prisoners at the labor camp in Kirovo-Chepetsk are demanding a meeting with Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika and human rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

Officials from the regional branch of the Federal Service for Correctional Institutions (FSIN) told RFE/RL that 24 inmates are on hunger strike. Human rights activists, however, estimate that the number on strike could be as high as 1,000.

The camp has more than 2,000 inmates; most of them repeat offenders of serious crimes.

A former camp inmate named Aleksei told RFE/RL that when convicts arrive at the penitentiary they are usually forced to perform up to 500 push ups and 800 sit ups. “If you refuse they immediately use electric shocks [on you],” he said.

Kirov Oblast Prosecutor Sergei Berezhitsky and Ombudsman Vladimir Klimov have arrived in Kirovo-Chepetsk from the oblast capital, Kirov, to assess the situation.

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Russian Homeowners Launch Protest Hunger Strike

KRASNOYARSK, Russia — Prospective homeowners in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk are demanding apartments or their money back — and have gone on hunger strike to push their point, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The 11 people who went on hunger strike on September 14 are demanding that the Stroitekhnika construction company either provide the apartments they have paid for or refund their money.

Stroitekhnika halted the construction of seven high-rise apartment blocks in Krasnoyarsk due to financial problems. A total of 900 local families have been fighting for several years to get their money back or the keys to their new apartments.

Aleksandr Chervyakov, a spokesman for Stroitekhnika’s general director, told RFE/RL that the hunger strike came as “an unexpected surprise.”

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