The Jewish community and Jewish charitable organizations of Obninsk, Russia, were evicted from the premises they rented since 2004.
In October 2009, a Russian government agency had expressed readiness to extend the lease on the property that the Jewish community is currently leasing. However, they were demanding a price increase that would put the monthly rental fee at three times the cost of the previous rental rate.
The price went from 159 rubles to 439 rubles per square meter. This price did not include the cost of utilities or taxes.
The rent for similar non-government organizations in Obninsk has stayed at the previous rate of approximately 130-150 rubles per square meter, depending on location.
The community was willing to pay the cost of rent according to the previous amount, though it was still slightly higher than the average for other organizations. However, it is entirely unable to pay such an inflated fee.
Zahar Ser, the chairman of the Jewish community of Obninsk, located in the Kaluga region, appealed to the governor of Kaluga Region, Anatoly Artamonov.
Previously, the Jewish organizations had repeatedly appealed to the Obninsk city government and to Governor Artamonov.
These appeals included requests submitted by Tatyana Kotlar, a deputy in the city legislature. Requests were made for the city to help provide facilities or land for the construction of a Jewish Community Center.
The Jewish community of Obninsk also services Jews in the surrounding settlements of Zhukovsky, Maloyaroslavets and Borovsk.
In light of President of Russia’s recent messages to the Federal Assembly, which spoke of the need to fight bureaucratic arbitrariness and improve cooperation with non-profit and religious organizations, Mr. Ser has once again sent a letter to Governor Artamonv asking for help in obtaining suitable premises or property at a reasonable rate for the Jewish community.