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Expert Opinion: Ukraine Must Respond to Cases of Nationalization in the Crimea

Date of publication: 4 June 2015

Mikhail Ilyashev, Attorney at Law, Managing Partner

Source: Ekonomichna Pravda

Ukraine needs to respond to nationalization in the Crimea and make the appropriate court decisions. It was declared at a meeting with the journalists by Mikhail Ilyashev, Managing Partner of Ilyashev & Partners.

“We can say that Ukraine also responded to the cases of nationalization in the Crimea in a certain way. However why it was decided that all acts issued by these bodies shall be null and void tacitly and shall not be recognized in the Ukrainian courts”, the attorney said.

“If we come across any decision on nationalization in the Crimea and go to Ukrainian courts to appeal against such decision, our claim is dismissed with the qualification “the challenged decision does not create legal consequences. Although in the operative part it is written simply: to dismiss the lawsuit”, he explains.

The attorney believes that Ukraine most likely did not want to be overwhelmed with cases not to overload the judicial system.

“However, on the other hand it will be difficult to explain somewhere in Germany. It will be difficult enough to explain why your claim was dismissed, why the Ukrainian courts did not set aside this decision. To treat any decision as illegal tacitly is a simple, but wrong way. It would be better for everybody if it was possible to obtain a court decision on its illegality”, the lawyer says.

“I think that the consequences will be bad”, Ilyashev emphasized.

The managing partner of the law firm also notes that there are many cases of the so-called nationalization in the Crimea.

“For example, we can find the following: to nationalize the residential property at a certain address. People call it nationalization, though in fact this process is called differently, because nationalization implies payment of the effective market compensation. And the current developments are more like confiscation. They took your property away from you and gave nothing in return”, he emphasizes.

The lawyer says that in the Crimea the process of nationalization is carried out “in a creative manner”.

“They have just now realized that it is possible to nationalize not only the property, but the legal entity itself. Therefore, there are already contentious issues at the level of local authorities”, Ilyashev explains.

Ilyashev says that if a legal entity is registered in Sevastopol, and assets of the enterprise are located e.g. in Yalta, and the authorities of Yalta (the so-called “Republic of Crimea”) want to nationalize the property, and the local authorities of Sevastopol want to nationalize the legal entity itself and the property of such legal entity indirectly. And it is here where another conflict begins.

In his opinion, decisions of the local authorities of the Crimea, which were created according to the legal framework of Russia, can be challenged in the courts of the Russian jurisdiction. The lawyer also notes that it has no any positive result as long as lawsuits are considered at the local level.

“While it is considered in the local courts, it is unlikely that something will change.”

However, sooner or later the lawsuit comes to the upper courts, which will have to make some decision. Having exhausted all the possibilities in Russia and Ukraine, you can apply to the European Court of Human Rights, and defend your interests there”, he believes.