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Pressure On Dam Finally Threatens Breakthrough

Published: November 1, 2005 (Issue # 1118)


St. Petersburgs 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 Putins 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.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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