Eminent Domain In Russia

Don’t miss the front page story in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Sergei L. Loiko, In the Wrong Place for the Games, Feb. 7, 2014, at p. A1, reporting the usual stories of hardship and bureaucratic callousness that usually accompanies large-scale exercise of eminent domain. Except that this one is, well, the Russian version where there is also much corruption. We recommend you read the whole thing to get the flavor of it all which was captured in the quote of the “head of Sochi’s non-governmental anti-corruption coalition,” as follows: “It was a very Soviet way of doing things: anything for a noble purpose.” . . . “Given the ample corruption around this theme, the project became a disaster for many families.”

The piece de resistance of this caper involved the taking of land for a new Sochi-Adler highway, which sounds reasonable — clearly a public use, except it turns out that the highway in question had already been built, “passing a good two miles from the [subject]┬áhouse.”

Unsurprisingly, complaints of undercompensation have also surfaced. Some of the┬ádisplaced folks are complaining that the money they received as compensation is inadequate to buy replacement housing. But then again, you don’t have to go to Russia to see that.