Akop Mkrjian was born in Athens. Since the age of fourteen he has been struggling with his beliefs and the ultimate ideals of freedom. He participated in the battles for the liberation of Lamia, joined the resistance at the age of fourteen and went to the mountains at the age of fifteen. He has lived an intense life full of adventures and experiences. Today at the age of eighty-three, Greek citizen Akop Mkrjian lives in Moscow. He does not live in an apartment or building, but in the streets of the Russian capital. For the past two months he has been living in his car.
An adventure with Moscow City Planning, has practically forced him to live on the streets “parked” next to the Embassy of the Netherlands in Moscow. This location offers him a unique experience. He has been provided with a phone line and fax. Embassy officials make sure he has enough water and warm tea.
From the streets of Moscow, the World War II veteran, in a telephone conference he had with ANA – MPA, spoke on the dramatic turns of his life, with optimism and pride.
“I came to Moscow as a political refugee in 1953, where I obtained Soviet citizenship. When the colonels’ regime was toppled, I returned to my homeland, in Athens, but I could not adapt and I returned to Moscow again. I acquired Greek citizenship much later, in 1992”, he states to ANA – MPA.
His younger brother lives in Greece. As stated, he wouldn’t want him to know about the hardships he went through “He is ill”, he explains “and that will make him very sad”.
Akop Mkrjian lives in a temperature below zero. He is a former secretary of the Greek Refugees Association of the USSR and tourist agent, with his own offices located near the Greek consulate. He claims he does not fear cold, nor snow.
City Planning took his home on the grounds that it was illegal, but he claims he has all the necessary documents proving his rights. “Authorization to build my home (in Trubnikovski Street) was granted by the competent Soviet authorities at the time. I have all the relevant documents”, he states.
Despite support from social organizations and journalist, the war veteran became homeless and spent Christmas in the street this year. When he lost the battle for his home which was demolished, he did not leave from where he stayed. He found an old iron kiosk and settled there, struggling against bureaucracy and seeking justification. Later on the iron kiosk was also demolished, which led him to use his old car as a home.
“I am known by all political refugees, because for many years I offered help in collecting the documents for their return to Greece. They knew me and they also know me at the Greek consulate as a trusted and disciplined person”, states Mr. Mrkjian, who, despite his age, appears to have patience and perseverance.
“I will resist the fascism of Russian oligarchy, who seized my property and home in Arbat (centre of Moscow)”, states the eighty-three-year-old man.
“Authorization to build my home – he underlines – was given to me by the soviet competent authorities at the time […] I have copies of all documents bearing the stamps and signatures, even proof of payment for maintenance bills, but they tell me these documents are not valid. They say whatever suits them and they threw me three years ago in the streets, freezing at -20 degrees”.
He attributes this development on the fact that his property was located in the “golden land” of Moscow, the Arbat area. “My property was sold for 10 million euros”, he notes, explaining that a luxurious apartment building will take its place.
Despite all the problems, he remains optimistic and concludes “I have been living in Moscow for over half a century, I love it and I consider it my second home. I believe I will be justified, which is something that makes me happy”.