Forced eviction of Russian family from their house in Riga

A forced eviction of the Russian Shirshins family from their apartments in the center of Riga where they had lived more than fifty years added a new momentum to the movement for alternation of Latvian housing legislation. Last year a group of left-wing parties "For Human Rights in Single Latvia", public funds and officials of the Latvian parliament called upon Latvian government to make alternations in the act on denationalization ratified by the Latvian parliament in the early 90's and abrogate amendments to the act on apartment rent adopted by the Latvian parliament the previous year.

The Shirshins lodged a complaint to the International Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Latvian Supreme Court has been given additional information on groundless eviction of the Russian family from their apartment allegedly because of extensive repairs. At present, Vladimir Bogdanov, human rights champion, told journalists that Maria Shirshina and her daughter Natalya had found a shelter in his daughter's flat.

Non-governmental organizations center began to collect signatures for an open letter addressed to Latvian President Vaire Vike-Freiberga, to the Latvian Prime Minister, the Latvian parliament and deputies of the Riga Duma (parliament). The letter says that "thousands of people are enslaved by landlords" because there exists no legislation that could "protect them from arbitrariness and humiliation in a denationalized house."

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