Bailiffs recruit debtors for war in Ukraine

A resident of Karelia, who owed 169 rubles (€1,70) for utilities, was offered to go to the front. (Federal Bailiff Service of Russia)

By Georgii Chentemirov

In Karelia, a bailiff sent a notice to a local resident, strongly recommending that he go to war in order to avoid paying his debt. The document is available to the Barents Observer.

According to the database of enforcement proceedings, the debt was 169 rubles (less than two euros) in unpaid utilities bills. The very first paragraph of the notice which the bailiff sent the debtor explains how one can get an exemption from paying the debt. According to the law, enforcement proceedings are suspended if a citizen enters into a contract with the Armed Forces and goes to war in Ukraine.

“After concluding a contract… it is necessary to send a petition to the bailiff department in any convenient way, including through the public services portal,” the official said in the notice.

Next, the official tells where exactly a citizen can express their desire to conclude a contract. It turns out that this can be done through the Bailiff Service as well. The notice also provides the addresses and telephone numbers of the military registration and enlistment office and military service sign-up stations.

At the end, the debtor is warned that they may be brought to the bailiff’s office by force if they avoid the meeting.

The young man who received this notice has nine enforcement proceedings for loan payments, utilities bills and state duties. Most proceedings have been terminated because the debtor does not have property that can be foreclosed on. However, the proceedings for which the man was summoned to the bailiff now were opened quite recently – on December 1.

“It is known that the Bailiff Service has been instructed to advertise participation in the SVO (Special military operation – this is what the Russian state requires the war in Ukraine to be called), but the inclusion of such advertising in the text of an official document is certainly an abuse of official capacity and exceeding authority,” says municipal council member from Karelia Olga Tuzhikova.

“There’s a general feeling that this is not an isolated case, since it is obvious that 169 rubles is not an amount that can make a person afraid and agree to a contract. Most likely, such demands will now be actively sent to all debtors with the expectation that someone’s debt will turn out to be a large and unbearable burden, which will push the person to go to the SVO.”

It should be noted that the volume of overdue loans is growing in Russia. The number of loan defaulters now exceeds 20 million. About 8 million people have debts stemming from unpaid utilities bills; the total amount of debt is near a trillion rubles.

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The Independent Barents Observer

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