The biggest resort zone near Kharkiv (40-50 km from the city) at the banks of Pechenihy water-storage reservoir has become a subject of the public investigation.
Today the participants of the civic investigative project “Pechenihy: the Stolen Shore” presented in Nakipelo press center the results of their six months research and the practical trip along the shore on May 27 – June 4.
The investigators were gathering documents and taking photos of the impressive mansions, palaces, estates and farmsteads of Kharkiv politicians, businessmen and top civil servants who own huge plots of land in the resort zone. Also, cottage villages and recreation opportunities available to everyone were listed.
7 investigations have already been published on the project site and 5 more are to come out soon. Totally about 20 investigations are planned to be done until September 2017. Also this week the activists are going to submit two lawsuits on the violations they had discovered within their investigation.
“Our main purpose is to find out the cases when the land was misappropriated and the law was broken. We want to make the process of purchasing the most valuable plots of land open and public. We have had no intention to take away the private property or to call to expropriate it. All we want is to make the people, whether wealthy or not, to abide by the law and to know that they are observed and controlled”, explains Natalia Shylo, the project initiator and coordinator.
Shylo also adds that the project has become possible due to the open registers of land owners.
Besides revealing illegal schemas used for purchasing the plots of resort land, the main violation, discovered by the activists, was regular restricting access to the beaches (which are people’s heritage by Ukrainian legislation) and erecting huge fences, sometimes up to 8 meters high, which block approaches to the reservoir.
The most impressive fence near Martova village shields the property of Kharkiv ex-top tax authority, Stanislav Denisiuk who was arrested in May 2017 during a national raid on the detention of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine top officials, when 23 people were arrested.
Other key research landmarks are estates owned by the businessman Oleksandr Yaroslavsky in Martova and near Stary Saltov, politicians Mykhailo Dobkin and Dmytro Shentsev in Stary Saltov, and Piev brothers who are both regional deputies.
The project has become the first attempt, pioneering in Ukraine, to develop the most detailed public list of the land property at the Kharkiv oblast biggest health resort.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Olena Sokolynska, Nakipelo