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City Shipyard Hovercraft Is 1st Delivery to NATO State

Published: December 29, 2000 (Issue # 633)


Last week St. Petersburg's Almaz shipyards delivered the first of two enormous Zubr hovercraft it has contracted to build for the Greek armed forces under a deal arranged by Ros vooru zhe niye, the Russian state agency responsible for arms sales abroad.

While the $100 million price tag for the contract, which was signed in January 2000, makes the delivery impressive enough, it is even more significant as Ros voo ru zhe niye says that it represents the first delivery of a Russian-made warship to a NATO member country.

In fact, this was the first time one of the craft had been sold abroad at all.

Alexander Osin kin, head designer at the Central Sea Design Bureau in St. Petersburg, where Zubr was designed 10 years ago, says that the vessel's abilities make it unique.

"For example, the United States and Great Britain also have hovercraft, but the Zubr is much quicker with a maximum speed of 110 kilometers an hour and is superior in relation to many technical parameters," Osinkin said.

"The Zubr can clear land obstacles 1.6 meters high while other craft of this type can clear less than a meter," Osinkin said. "It can also carry three tanks - at 50 tons each - or 10 armored troop-carriers, while the American Landing Craft Air Cushion vessels can carry only one tank and a maximum weight one-quarter that which the Zubr can haul," he said.

The Zubr weighs 540 tons, is 57 meters long and 22.5 meters wide.

Anatoly Pavlov, a consultant at the St. Petersburg office of Ros voo ru zhe niye, said that the fact that a NATO member country bought the ship from Russia rather than from other producers could become a precedent and proves the high quality of the Zubr.

And Valery Che repovsky, technical director at Almaz, said that the sale presented no security problems. "We've sold other navy ships to Northern Af ri ca, Algeria, India, and some other countries, but never to a NATO country," he said. "This is a very profitable contract for Russia, especially since there is nothing secret about the vessel."

Cherepovsky said that the vessel delivered last week had been serving in the Russian Navy since 1994 and had just been overhauled and modified. The second ship called for in the contract will be new and is due to be finished in June 2001. Construction on the ship began this May. A group of Greek inspectors will remain in St. Petersburg to oversee the construction of the second craft.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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