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Moscow Officials Vote on Home Demolition Plan Despite Prosecutors' Warnings

An interior view shows a flat in an old five-story apartment building, which is demolished as part of the city authorities' project, in Moscow. Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

The Moscow government will vote on new changes to the capital's controversial home demolition program despite city prosecutors slamming the law as “unclear.”

The Moscow prosecutor's office flagged concerns about the law on Tuesday night, warning officials that the bill relied on “ambiguous language,” Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday. 

The law, which will appear before the Moscow City Duma for its first reading on Wednesday, had been lauded as bringing better protection for city residents affected by the mayor's controversial demolition program. The plans, which will see 45,000 four and five-story apartment blocks destroyed across the city, could affect as many as 1.6 million people. Tenants will be able to vote on the plans, with buildings only being demolished if more than two-thirds of residents agree with the scheme. 

The government has pledged to rehouse affected residents, but many are concerned that replacement apartments could be worth less than their original property.

The new bill hopes to tackle residents' concerns, as well as set out more detailed procedures in case of disputes.

But lawyers said that the legislation did not go far enough, and needed “further elaboration” in order to solve potential conflicts, Kommersant reported. 

The legislation stipulates that tenants who cannot decide whether their building should be demolished after a formal vote should hold a general meeting. Yet the legal consequences of these meetings had not been formally settled, prosecutors said.

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