Sergei Nikitin: "The truth will win, there is no doubt"

posted 6 Nov 2016, 07:39 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Nov 2016, 07:45 ]
2 November 2016

Source: Facebook

We've now learned what the Moscow city property department said in response to media questions.

The answer is interesting and is a demonstration – in my view – of a mixture of double-dealing and unprofessionalism. They write that ‘the property was let to the organization Amnesty International Limited on the basis of a rental contract. The contract expired in January 2008 and, on the grounds there were no objections from the city, it was extended on the condition that one of the sides had the right to terminate the contract with three months’ notice."

That is indeed the case. The office was rented from the mid-1990s and the contract expired in 2008. In 2009 I began to ask the Moscow city property department to extend the contract, but my request was refused. I remember that the preceding contract had also only been achieved with difficulty, and with a great deal of time spent waiting in corridors.

In 2008 officials at the department told me that they would not extend the contract in its current form, but each year they would send me papers – in January – indicating the new rent. They implied this would be a legal substitute for the contract. There was no option but to agree.

Each year from 2009 the Moscow property committee sent similar papers, but since 2014 they began to ‘forget’ to do this. I had to send a staff member so that the department would issue a paper showing the rent they wanted to charge.

The last time we did this was in March 2016, and then – after they had ‘forgotten’ yet again to inform us of the change in the rent – added up the money we were in debt – a bit more than 1m roubles.

We immediately paid this million – in April 2016 – and began to pay the new rent they announced. The new rent started in April 2016. We paid each month. To the rouble and on time.

But all the years we had rented the office we always made sure we paid the rent. And this year was no exception.

But what do we read further in the department’s answer? Here it is: "However, because of significant violations of the rent agreement, a notice was sent to the organization stating that they must pay the money owed in the course of one month. Also, the company was informed that if they did not pay the money, then in three months the rent agreement would be considered void. The complaint was ignored by the dishonest renter."

Any business person reading this statement would ask: when exactly ‘was the complaint sent’? In what month was it proposed that the money owed should be paid? When did the fateful three months begin?

The department cunningly omits the details that are so essential in any business text.

Because, probably, they didn’t send any warning?

Because, in fact everything had been paid, but evicting a human rights organization is a matter of honour in current times?

And to send five people with crowbars and a metal cutter is simpler for the department than to draw up a competent agreement or send a competent letter?

Tomorrow we are going to the department with financial documents for the so-called ‘checking’. We have documentary proof of rental payments for every month of this year, including the last payment for October 2016.

I had wanted to make the payment to the Moscow property committee for the November 2016 rent today.

But – we can’t get into the office. As yet.

The truth will win, there is no doubt.