A group of Russians deceived by real estate developers have created a social-networking site in an attempt to bring together some of what they say are thousands of defrauded investors.
The Odnodolshiki.ru website - whose name mirrors the popular Russian Facebook equivalent Odnoklassniki.ru - says there are some 500,000 people in Russia who have been cheated out of money they invested in construction projects that were meant to provide them with apartments.
The site says many of them invested all they had in new apartments and now don't even have a roof over their heads, swelling the numbers of Russia's homeless. It aims through social-networking to develop strategies to solve the problems of these defrauded investors.
The site publishes a list of would be tenants with the addresses of the buildings they invested in, lists of those responsible for construction and the sums of money invested in projects, and information on criminal cases. The list of duped investors contains some 19,946 people.
Around 800 people have joined the network already and some 300-400 people visit the website daily.
While Odnoklassniki - classmates - is designed to give people who studied together a chance to keep in touch, people who join Odnodolshiki have a chance to discuss ways to solve their housing problems and share experiences of protests against unreliable construction companies.
In Russia, co-investing in planned construction projects is similar to Russian roulette, as it is hard to know if one will be deceived or get a bargain on a long-awaited apartment in a new building.
MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti)