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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, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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