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Pressure On Dam Finally Threatens Breakthrough

Published: November 1, 2005 (Issue # 1118)


St. Petersburg’s dam was given a boost Thursday, with the announcement of a new manager together with a massive increase in spending. Thanks to pressure at both local and federal levels the project is now due for completion in 2008.

Begun in the Gulf of Finland in 1980 but neglected for more than 15 years due to a lack of funding, the dam will next year receive 2.4 billion rubles ($84.137 million) from the federal government, compared to the 467.6 million rubles ($16.4 million) it received this year.

The figures were disclosed by Boris Paikin, head of the Directorate of the flood protection barrier construction, at a news conference last week. “I have no doubts that the city will have the dam by 2008. Of course, what infrastructure there was has been destroyed, and we have to update the works according to new technologies,” he said.

Construction of a 25.4-kilometer complex was resumed in 2003 and would comprise 11 stone and earth dams with two ship passages in between. A highway would be laid on top of the dam. To complete the construction 15 billion rubles ($525.67 million) are needed Paikin said.

Thanks to President Vladimir Putin’s personal interference the project got a second wind this year. Apart from an increased budget the dam received a new manager, straight from the private sector.

On Nov. 1 Paikin is to leave the Directorate of the Flood Protection Barrier Construction, and will be replaced by Vladimir Kogan, giving up his posts as chairman of the Industrial and Construction Bank and president of St. Petersburg Banking House to run the challenging dam project.

According to Igor Gorsky, general director of Kommercheskaya Nedvizhimost Becar, there is no technical obstacle preventing the completion of the dam on time.

“The dam was not completed earlier because it was not being constructed. At the moment all necessary documentation is ready. The most difficult part — earth mound and concrete constructions — is finished. Only highway and ship passages are left to complete,” he said.

Gorsky said that if the financial schedule was met then the dam could be completed by 2008. However, he admitted, financing has so far been rather irregular, intermittently rising and falling.

“That is exactly what the new team headed by Vladimir Kogan is supposed to improve. Financial specialists are coming to run the project, people who know how to count money and how to give grounds to spending,” Gorsky said.

Demonstrating confidence in the project, Gefest insurance company insured the project until the last quarter of 2007 for 1.5 billion rubles ($52.57 million).

“The insurance covers construction of protective dams linked to sluices and anti-waves protective barriers. After completion of those works the north part of the dam will be finished,” Vladimir Karyukin, insurance department director of Gefest, said in a statement.





 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.