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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Plans Shutdown Of Shelter

Moscow city authorities plan to close a private shelter for homeless girls that has been the focus of an intense tug-of-war with city officials over residents' living conditions.

Alexander Ogorodnikov, director of the Island of Hope shelter in northeastern Moscow, said he was served Tuesday with papers from the eastern district sanitation commission requiring the shelter to close Wednesday.

A copy of the order obtained by The Moscow Times cites the shelter's failure to meet federal sanitation requirements, with no additional detail given.

Representatives of the district sanitation commission could not be reached for comment.

Calling the home a "ruin," police and city officials have repeatedly expressed concern in the past about the health hazards presented by on-going reconstruction work and lack of bathing and medical facilities.

The city has said nothing about plans for relocating the 12 girls, aged 8 to 18, who currently live in Island of Hope, Ogorodnikov said.

"We'll wait until tomorrow to deal with that, to see what really happens when the police come," he said.

After months of disputes with city officials, the shelter received last week a one-month grace period to meet sanitation regulations -- a compromise that commission representatives now have chosen to forget, Ogorodnikov said.

"They're just using the sanitation commission as a premise for closing the shelter," he said. "It's all just a game."

Ogorodnikov, a former religious dissident, has maintained city concerns over the shelter are only a cover for an attempt to gain control of the property for commercial use.