|Communal Living in Russia: Documents|
|A police chief rejects a resident's petition to bring criminal action against her neighbor.|
|Basic Facts and Background|
An elderly woman who lives in a communal apartment in the center of St. Petersburg received a reply to her request to take legal action against a neighbor who, according to her, had caused her bodily harm. The transcript of a telephone conversation referred to in the reply from the police chief was most likely sent from the emergency room where the petitioner could have gone to have an official record of the beating drawn up.
This document is one of a series of such exhibits. Our materials include another response from the police and a letter from the head of the local administration which are official responses to the numerous petitions and complaints from this petitioner, as well as a petition about a robbery, a complaint that her fellow residents torment her in various ways, a demand that her neighbors' room be searched, a complaint about bodily harm done to her by neighbors, and one other such document.
Robberies, fights, and the systematic harassment of some residents by others do occur in communal apartments. Police (usually precinct officers) are required to respond to citizens' petitions and carry out an investigation. In some cases, however, it turns out that the evidence set forth in the petitions exists only in the petitioner's imagination.
In this case, the petitioner may truly have received bodily injuries and a medical certificate confirming this. However, the investigation showed that the circumstances under which she did so did not involve an assault or the intent to cause harm on the part of another resident.
|Translation of the Russian Transcript|
[Police department and date stamp]
E— A— A—, M— Street, No. 70, apt. 4
I am writing to inform you that we have examined telephone transcript No. 2432 regarding bodily injuries received by you.
A decision has been made not to initiate criminal proceedings due to the absence in the actions of your neighbor, M— resulting in bodily injury to you, of the elements essential to a criminal offense.
Letter prepared by K— A.M. Outgoing Correspondence Logbook No. 12279, dated 29 December 1996.
Acting police chief, precinct 28
[on the envelope]
St. Petersburg, M. Street, No. 70, apartment 4
[return address, including zip code]
[number and address of the 28th police precinct]
E— A— A— M— Street, No. 70, apt. 4