Feb 21, 2021
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“The girl asks to go home”

In Kaliningrad, the guardianship authorities seized an eight-year-old granddaughter from a pensioner after complaining about the poor condition of a municipal apartment. A 70-year-old woman lived with her child in an old house without gas and sewage and repeatedly asked the administration to connect communications. Instead, the officials suggested that the pensioner move to an uncomfortable, smaller apartment on the outskirts. The woman agreed, however, while she was signing the resettlement papers, her granddaughter was seized from her, saying that the girl was being brought up in inappropriate conditions.

70-year-old pensioner Raisa Shalaeva single-handedly raised her eight-year-old granddaughter Alina. The girl’s mother died six years ago.

On January 27, 2021, Alina went to school, but did not return home. During the lessons, the guardianship officers came to the educational institution and took the girl away. The reason for the seizure of the child was the grandmother’s refusal to leave the municipal housing without communications in the city center and move to a smaller apartment on the outskirts – according to the grandmother, even more uncomfortable.

At the same time, Shalaeva asked the city administration to provide her and her granddaughter with acceptable housing.

According to Raisa Shalaeva, they tried to evict her back in 2015. The family lived in an old German house with four apartments in the city center. The apartment allocated as a municipal housing was without amenities: the toilet was located on the street, there was no gas, but there was a garden right in the center, and a school was located nearby.

Shalaeva notes that she has repeatedly turned to the city administration with a request to help improve housing, in particular, to supply gas (the other three apartments have already been gasified), but instead of help she received a lawsuit for eviction.

Shalaeva’s lawyer Irina Kosenkova tells RT that her client was evicted illegally.

In particular, the house itself was not recognized as emergency, only the apartment where the grandmother lived turned out to be unsuitable for living.

“Instead of a full-fledged examination, the lawsuit cites only an expert’s report, where the threat of collapse of the finishing layer is indicated as the reason, that is, apparently, plaster has cracked somewhere. The city itself provided her with such housing, without sewage and gas, and now she is accused of raising her granddaughter in improper conditions, ”explains RT Kosenkova.

According to the lawyer, a neighbor, who had allegedly already bought up living space in the house, had views of the grandmother’s apartment.

“He bluntly said that anyway the apartment would become his, he survived in every possible way, completely blocked the basement,” says Kosenkova.

In 2019, the city administration filed a lawsuit against Shalaeva for eviction. The pensioner lost the first trials, but did not give up – she appealed the decision in the cassation court.

In early 2021, according to the woman, she was called into custody and threatened to pick up her granddaughter if she did not leave the house.

“In the guardianship they told me:“ If you don’t move to another apartment, you will not see the child again ”. They were given three days of the term. I came, signed everything, and they told me: “You are late, you won’t see the child again, they will be transferred to other hands,” she tells RT.

Granddaughter Hid From Grandma

The guardianship officers took Alina from school on January 27, just at the moment when her grandmother was signing the documents in the guardianship.

“I came to school, I’m waiting for her from school, and then her classmate says that Alina was taken away. I went to find out, and it turned out that she was taken by the guardian. The head teacher asked her granddaughter: “Do you know this aunt?” Of course, Alina knows her, she used to be with us, checked how we live, and gave her gifts for the New Year. The head teacher thought that I asked to take it away and let her go, ”recalls Raisa Shalaeva.

Since then, according to the pensioner, she was not allowed to see her granddaughter.

“They didn’t let me into the hospital, where Alina was first put for examination, citing quarantine, they even refused to hand over my things. Then they didn’t say where the granddaughter was transferred, ”says Shalaeva.

Only when public figures got involved in the case did they manage to find out that Alina had ended up in the Rostok orphanage located in the region.

“Finally I managed to call her, I immediately hear: a sad voice. No matter how long I didn’t walk, I didn’t study. Now they seem to be allowed to visit her. I’m still worried: will they be allowed in or not? The child was taken hostage, I signed everything, got a terrible apartment, almost outside the city, but they still won’t give my granddaughter. The poor girl asks to go home, but they do it, ”the pensioner complains.


In turn, lawyer Irina Kosenkova notes that the lawsuit filed by the Kaliningrad administration lacks the legal wording that she is provided with “comfortable housing”, limiting herself to the word “other.”

“Why didn’t they? The dwelling is not comfortable. The apartment was rented out without heating, there is still no stove, there was no linoleum: it was only when this question was raised that it was quickly glued on, ”the lawyer explains to RT.

Now activists help Shalaeva to make repairs in this apartment at their own expense.

“We organized the gathering ourselves. The apartment needs to be equipped, now the girl cannot be brought there, the guardianship will be the first to say that the conditions are not suitable. There is no door, no gas stove, housing is really not comfortable, it is blowing from all the cracks, ”says Natalya RT, who is involved in helping Shalaeva.

According to her, she decided to support Raisa Leonidovna only when she fully understood the situation and was convinced that she was being unfairly persecuted.

“I communicated with my grandmother personally, took the situation under my control so that there were no stipulations on the part of the guardianship. They also try to convince her that she drinks and does not follow her granddaughter. And all her friends, parents of Alina’s classmates sympathize with her, say that the girl was brought up well. She was always well-groomed, attended circles, the only complaint was the poor condition of the apartment, which the city itself gave her. It can be seen that she loves the girl very much, the apartment is in order, children’s things are already neatly laid out, there are no signs of asocialism at all, ”says Natalya.

In addition to the fact that the apartment is in poor condition and is located almost outside the city limits, the family has been seriously cut square meters, Kosenkova notes.

“They lived in an old, but large house with a garden. In addition to the fact that they were forced to move to an uncomfortable apartment on the outskirts, although the girl was already used to the team at school, the orphan was also infringed upon. If earlier she had more than 9 sq. m, then allocated 6 sq. m – at the rate of the hostel. That is, now she, like an orphan, legally needs a separate one-room apartment, ”says Kosenkova.


Elina Zhgutova, the head of the Ivan Chai portal, believes that the orphan living with her grandmother seemed to be “easy prey” to the guardianship.

“You can relocate to even worse housing for the sake of businessmen, and then declare that the child’s rights to a“ dignified ”life have been violated by the grandmother. The grandmother who replaced the mother for the girl almost from birth, ”she notes.

According to Zhgutova, appealing against the decree to abolish custody and helping sympathizers who decided to put the apartment in order are the only correct actions “in this monstrously unfair story.”

Now, according to RT Irina Kosenkova, an administrative lawsuit has been filed to appeal against the order to abolish Shalaeva’s custody of her granddaughter. In addition, the eviction court continues. According to the lawyer, the move agreement can be declared illegal, since it was signed under pressure.

Complaints about the actions of guardianship were also filed with the regional prosecutor’s office.

In turn, RT also turned to the prosecutor’s office with a request to investigate the situation. Meanwhile, the Kaliningrad administration did not provide a comment on RT’s request.

Pavel Chernyshov

© Photo from personal archive

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