January 26, 2011

"The Beverly Hills" of Ukraine: Kharkiv's Rublevka and Public Land Grab.

     I guess that I shall start a new series of stories about a land grab in Ukraine. I am not taking about privatization or eminent domain. I am taking about different schemes that the government officials use to transfer public land into their private ownership. The land grab takes place all over the former Soviet Union area because a rule of law is weak and a system of property rights is insecure.
    I think that it is fair enough to call it a land grab because public land is grabbed rather than purchased or inherited. Since the government officials are the riches of Ukraine or vice versa, they can afford to develop the grabbed public lands into the upscale gated communities like the Beverly Hills in California, USA. Since the first upscale gated community so-called Rublevka was built in Moscow on Rublevsky highway, all similar real estate developments are named after it. 
    Today I would like to talk about Kharkiv's Rublevka. Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine. The two most important people in Kharkiv are the Mayor of Kharkiv, Mr. Kernes, and the Governor of Kharkiv region, Mr. Dobkin. Both government official are members of the presidential Party of Regions aka the regionals. I wrote about a series of conflicts between the City Hall and Kharkivians earlier. But I can see everything in a new light now when the Bureau of Land Management of Kharkiv Region releases a very interesting data. According the BLM, the city of Kharkiv auctioned public land only once in 2008. Back then the City Hall sold 3 hectares or 7.41 acres of land for 28 mln. hryvnia or $3,5 mln. The BLM, however, reports that more than 100 hectares or 247 acres of public land located in the Central Park of Kharkiv (The Gorky Park) are privately-owned and under the real estate development. Well, it is quite a mismatch. So here is a math question:
 Q. Suppose that A sells 7.41 acres of public land to B for $3,5 mln in 2008. How much can A get if A sells 247 acres of public land to B and price of land does not change?
 A. $116,6 mln. (FYI, it is the budget of Kharkiv in 2010).

  Who says that you cannot put a price tag on corruption? Simple math. Simple land grab. People lose favourite recreational spot and the city budget looses millions of dollars while while the government officials enrich themselves. What can I say? I look forward to more math problems from the City Hall of Kharkiv. These guys are math whiz kids.
   Here are the pictures that show the real estate development in Kharkiv's Central Park. The first picture shows the so-called "Kharkiv's Rublevka" gated community in the Gorky Park. The second picture shows a new real estate development adjacent to the Kharkiv's Rublevka. The Kharkivians have already gave a nickname to the new gated community. They call it "New Rublevka". Also, the Kharkivians start referring to their city as the Kernes City.

Here is the YouTube video about a real estate development of the grabbed lands in Kharkiv. It is in Russian. But you should check it out. It shows the maps of the Kharkiv's Rublevka in the Gorky Park.            

1 comment:

  1. It would be cool to googlearth it. Great stuff.