Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Lists of debtors with 'solid income and a car' posted online

Tamara Savich, Euroradio

Housing and utilities services in Mahilou use modern technologies to fight malicious defaulters.

Mahiliou city center of information systems has made a list of persistent non-payers and posted it online. It hit people with "solid income, good flats and cars".

"We have been taking these measures (publishing the names, surnames and addresses - Euroradio) for several months now. We speak to the media, send sms, ring people up," Ryta Markava, head of cash settlement center 1, says. Indeed, every month on the 25th day, Mahiliou city center of information systems sends debtors SMS messages with the text: "Pay utility bills - save electricity, water and protect your housing".

In total about 1,000 texts have been sent, and in 80% of cases this measure worked.

Among the debtors of the settlement center there is a resident of Maghiliou who owes the state 500 thousand rubles. Half a million is not such a large sum: it is one payment, given that the amount of communal payment has risen. I asked them who was that persistent non-payer that once did not pay and already got blacklisted.

"The debt has been repaid. There seems to be two subscribers in the apartment. We call those don't pay periodically persistent non-payers," staff at the center 1 in Mahiliou say.

Is the woman living in a communal flat a well-off citizen? There is also a person with a debt of 11.7 million rubles living in the same flat. What's wrong with him?

"We do not know what happened to him. He does not live there, he turns up once in a while, repays some debt and disappears again. We have information that this person has no permanent place of work," manager says. He gets agitated when I ask him if that person may also be said to have "solid earnings".

All in all, the list has 40 people. The smallest debt is only 400-600 thousand rubles. The largest one -- 27 millions.

The debtor with 27 millions lives not in a mansion, but in a usual "social" apartment, which the state allocated to a large family.

"Here, social housing is not a private flat, not the one provided by the state. It was temporarily allocated to people. And 27 million rubles is the main debt plus penalty. There live underage kids, so you cannot evict them yet. A debt of 600 thousands is to be paid by a resident of the hostel," employee of the settlement-center 5 in Mahiliou explains.

We are looking for the persistent non-payer in the dorm. As it turned out, this is a young family with a year-old child, and among the dorm staff they are considered an honest unit of society.

Lists of debtors with 'solid income and a car' posted online

The very same non-payer girl (we will not call her name) is outraged by this approach.

"I have a very small debt -- 430,000 rubles. I do not agree with the posting of lists - you just cannot do it! This is my personal matter, besides there is not 600 but 430,000 there. I think I'll go and pay the rest of the debt today or tomorrow, and God forbid they keep me on the list! Me and my husband we recently were in a difficult situation, we did not know what to feed the child with, and the we do not have a car. And we only have 4 million rubles for the three of us," the girl living in a dorm with her husband and a small child says.

Head of the department for municipal payments and settlements of Mahiliou city information systems centre Tatsiana Korshunava explains that they tried to be careful when writing about addresses: they did not not give room and house numbers, observed anonymity.

"We have a large family on our list, which does not pay utility bills - they have a 25 million debt! We do not publish names of all debtors on the site - it is the top 5 of the best, as they say. We have everything you can imagine! We gave instructions not to write about the most downcast of them - alcoholics and those who do not know what the Internet is. An alcoholic may have a debt of 30 millions, but what is the reason to publish his name in a place where he would not see it? It aims to ensure that people have their conscience awakened," Tatsiana says. That means, alcoholics cannot be put online, and those people who are working or on maternity leave can?

The director says that their biggest struggle is non-payers, and in case they do not pay for utilities, they are going to hold a New Year campaign - the evening by candlelight.

Their goal is to make Mahiliou the most disciplined city in terms of payment for utilities. Now 96% of the population does it on time.