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3 Oct, 2019 16:45

Divine intervention: Cheated depositors in Russia write to Pope for heating to be restored in apartments... and get warm

Divine intervention: Cheated depositors in Russia write to Pope for heating to be restored in apartments... and get warm

Residents of a cold, unfinished apartment block in Ufa turned to Pope Francis for help when a construction company and the authorities seemingly ignored their plight. The heating was miraculously restored, but just for one day.

They say, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but it’s too cold to drink lemonade for the people living in the Lemonarium residential compound in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan. They say that their home, which should have been finished in 2017, is still under construction and has its central heating turned off. Now that it is October, temperatures can fall well below 0 degrees Celsius at night.


The people of Lemonarium blame local construction tycoon Valery Mansurov and his SU-10 company for the “hopelessness and despair” they find themselves in. They say that Mansurov and “his cronies” brush off of any complaints, telling them, among other things:

You can write to anybody. Write even to the Pope.

The residents weren’t going to give up without a fight, so they did exactly what they were told and wrote to the Vatican to Pope Francis, despite the fact that Bashkortostan is a majority Muslim republic.

An open letter to the head of the Catholic Church in both Russian and English was also posted on Russia’s VK.com social network. The cheated depositors called upon the Pope to use his authority to somehow persuade the construction company to fulfil its obligations before them.

“Winter is coming,” they wrote, referencing the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV show. “The heating season has begun. Mr. Valery Mansurov even turned off the central heating in our residential apartment building. Our families, children experience hardship in such miserable conditions in cold apartments in the unfinished building.”

The letter said that addressing the Pontific was “the last resort” for those freezing in Lemonarium.

We urge your Holiness to advocate for our legal rights. We believe that Mr. Valery Mansurov will listen to your wisdom and enlightenment. Please pray for his humanism and good sense.

It’s unclear if the Pope read the letter. There have been no official comments from the Vatican so far, but the residents’ bold move made a splash on social media and in the press.

Then an amazing thing happened. Central heating was restored at the residential compound. The people breathed a sigh of relief… but the miracle was short lived as it was switched off again the next day.


SU-10 said it couldn’t make the apartments warm because it has a debt with a housing and utilities company, which services the compound. It’s unclear when those obligations will be settled, and the bitter story of Lemonarium is without a happy ending. Perhaps intervention from the Pope is the only thing that will be able to change that.

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