• September 30, 2011
  • 238

The whole world already knows and is stupefied by the fact that under Lithuanian law miracles happen with real estate, or more specifically with land, i.e. the parcel of land can change its place, be enlarged, or even change its … nationality.

Another curious thing that has been found by Kurier is that in Niemież, a place near Wilno (Vilnius), a moved piece of ground is “magically” cleared off its features and buildings. Even though they can be clearly discerned, the map claims otherwise. Accordingly, the map is what establishes law. However, let us start from the beginning.

In general, the uncanny thing about Lithuanian law is the fact that an unmovable piece of land becomes moveable and consequently, it can be moved freely within the length and breadth of Lithuania.

One more magical trick of Lithuanian law is that the moved piece of ground can be enlarged because the land’s worth is estimated not according to its market price but instead to a land’s arable quality. Hence, in exchange for a scrap of chernozem, for instance near Kaunas, one could get a few valuable, however barren hectares of land near Wilno (literally “could” for so much parcels of land have been moved that nothing has been left). Seemingly, this exchange made up for the losses for how could a farmer from Poswol grow beets in Wilno’s concrete jungle? If he cannot, then it means that there is some loss.

Still other magical trick is changing the land’s nationality for patrimony apparently has one. On the basis of the priority rule, a piece of ground moved from Samogitia to Wilno area acquires Samogotian nationality, despite the fact that prior to Soviet nationalization generations of local Poles had owned this parcel of land. Now they have to search Lithuanian forests through for some free clearings where they can move their Polish patrimony land.

Many stories have been told about these wonders which are even recounted in Wikipedia under the category ”Lithuanization.” However, even Wikipedia fails to relate the wonders that Kurier has found in Niemież near Wilno.

”Sir, do you see the transformer station, these posts and communications under the trees?” asked Anna £aniewska, pointing to the aforementioned objects on Arimų Street in Niemieæ.

We certainly did see them, or more precisely we saw posts, trees and the transformer station but the communications were concealed under the ground. Nevertheless, Mrs. Łaniewska argued that there was communications’ wiring and a sewage system. To support her argument, she pointed to the manholes along the street and existing wiring which was specifically signposted. Taking her word for that, we refrained from digging holes to check if what she had said was true.

“The fact of the matter is that all of that does not exist, because “someone” failed to include it in the maps” said Mrs. Łaniewska.

This ”someone” was Marek Andruszkiewicz, a local surveyor who drew up preliminary surveying plans for the parcel of land on Arimų St. Even though Mr. Andruszkiewicz had not been working as the surveyor in Niemieæ for some time, he could well remember this parcel of land because later on he had to explain himself at length before the Agrarian Regulation Department- even in the prosecutor’s office. He succeeded. He also explained to us that the drawn up plan was in accordance with the law, even though some objects were missing from this plan.

“The plans were prepared on the basis of the records provided by the Agrarian Regulation Department. All objects, which those records had contained, were included in the plan accordingly. It was not our fault that the records were updated ten years ago. We did not have any other records.” This was how Mr. Andruszkiewicz accounted for ”mysterious” disappearance of the existing objects. He also maintained that presently there has been the same mess in records concerning not only Niemież.

”When we asked the power company called RST for the document stating that their transformer station was located indeed in this piece of land, they were pretty baffled and could not believe that the transformer station had not figured in the surveying plans …” complained Mrs. Łaniewska.

”It sure is there because the plan outlines the electric communications protection zone, which means that these objects could be freely accessed by their owner” stated in turn the surveyor, Mr. Andruszkiewicz. He also added that if a certain object had not figured in preliminary plans, new landowners should order a supplementary plan on their own. However, the surveyor agreed that new landowners should have money and a specific need to first draw up a supplementary plan.

”It is because such a plan costs a lot” said Mr. Andruszkiewicz.

In the meantime, the owners of plots neighbouring the parcel of land with ghost-objects did not wait until an actual new plan would be drawn up. Complaints about new landowners and the surveyor were filed to, among others, the prosecutor’s office for it was suspected that the new landowners, who nota bene moved a parcel of land from the middle of country  to the Wilno area,  had expressed their gratitude for cleansing the plot’s plan of unwanted objects and communications by bribing the surveyor.

The prosecutor investigating this case established the following: the Łaniewka’s charge had to be dropped for as stated in the ruling, there was lack of evidence to support the claim of bribery or corruption that allegedly had taken place while preparing the surveying plans for new landowners. The assertion that during the land restitution no special conditions concerning the right of land usage had been agreed to, that no easements had been made, and that no signatures of neighbouring plots’ owners had been collected (all of which were facts proven by various institutions), did not qualify as a crime and accordingly could not be prosecuted under criminal law. Other document- the letter of the State Agrarian Service at the Ministry of Agriculture this time referred to these violations as “procedure violations” which were not enough to dismiss the drawn up plan or to return the land to new owners in kind. Both the Agrarian Service and the regional Agrarian Regulation Department asked the new landowners to supply as little as the missing objects in the plan. The neighbours who own the plots with ghost-objects were embittered and hopeless at the decision made by officials and prosecutors.

”There is no justice and we do not know where to seek it” said Mrs. Łaniewska. For the time being, however, she had a pressing need to find a new post to attach her mechanical counter to, because the one it was once attached to (and which did not figure in the plans) was located on the parcel of land belonging to new landowners. Their neighbours felt cheated because for twenty years they had been told that the piece of land in front of their households was classified as the “green zone” and so could not be returned.

”We certainly did apply for this plot to be returned. However, our demand was rejected on the grounds that the state-owned land could not be re-privatized and so we could not be compensated for our land which had been nationalized. This is why we never applied for it again but simply took care of it. We cut the grass growing there. In time, wonderful little trees grew there and we had a small grove in front of our house” said Mrs. Łaniewska.

Literally they did have, for now there were left only tree stumps. Instead of supplying the plans with missing information, the new landowners decided to cleanse the plot of unwanted objects. After all, according to the plan, there had not been any trees anyway …


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