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Grigory Pasko: The Bridges of Vladivostok

Investors aren’t burning with desire Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. First such a report from the RIA Novosti agency: Prime minister of the RF Vladimir Putin is demanding that works start right away on erecting bridge crossings across the Vostochny Bosfor [Eastern Bosporus] strait and the Golden Horn cove. “Construction works on the most complex sections from the engineering point of view – bridge crossings across the Bosfor Vostochny [Bosporus of the East] strait and the Golden Horn cove – must start right away”, declared Putin at a meeting on questions of preparation for the APEC-2012 summit. “They are already reporting, that already supposedly they are going on. I, it is true, have not seen these works, but, at any rate, preparation for them already must start”, underscored the premier. vl-kzimoi091208 Vladivostok in the wintertime (photo by Grigory Pasko)

In Russia they are building a lot of housing. It is understandable why – it pays for itself quickly for those who put money in it. And it brings insane profits. Just as an example: a square meter [roughly 10 square feet for our American readers—Trans.] of simple and not very good-quality housing in Moscow costs 6 thousand US dollars.There are a multitude of reports in the Russian mass information media about how in Russia they have built a house or a shopping center (also a profitable business). Against this background, a report from Vladivostok was surprising: there they have begun to build a temporary holding isolator (IVS). That is – a new jail.It so happened that in the current, that is, the old IVS, I sat a whole week. In the capacity of an inmate. In essence – this is that same jail. Conditions in it – are awful even by Russian measures. And the status of this establishment is not totally comprehensible to civilized people. The fact of the matter is that the IVS – this is a small jail attached to the territorial administration of the MVD. There had been one like that in Vladivostok under the FSB as well. Now four cells remain there. In the IVS under the administration of the MVD for Primorsky Kray – 10 cells. There they “soften up” people, beating testimony out of them, right after arrest and before placing the detainees in the SIZO – the investigative isolator. By law it is allowed to hold a person in an IVS no more than 72 hours. But in reality they hold them 7, and even 10 days. If not for several months. The law, as a rule, is not written for Russian jailers.The construction of a new jail – is a matter of necessity, because under president Putin the quantity of prisoners in Russian jails has begun to increase precipitously. If at the time of Yeltsin’s departure from power there were a bit more than 700 000 people in confinement, then under Putin there became just under a million of them. The official figure now – as of 1 April 2008 in institutions of the criminal-execution system of Russia were held 891.7 thsd. persons.However, Vladivostok attracts attention today not only by the construction of a new jail – there in the year 2012 must take place a summit of the countries of the Asian-Pacific region. About this event once again reminded premier Putin, who spent time in Vladivostok right after two of his interviews to the television companies CNN and ARD.We will remind that for the preparation for the APEC summit from the federal budget will be allocated 100 billion rubles. Planned is the construction of 96 installations, 42 of which will receive funding from the center. In part, on account of the federal budget the airport “Vladivostok” will be modernized, transport interchanges between the airport and Vladivostok built, including two bridge crossings – across the Golden Horn cove and the Bosporus of the East strait.I lived in Vladivostok for 20 years, and can easily imagine what specific efforts all this will cost not only for the federal budget, but also for the inhabitants of the city. The fact is that the city’s infrastructure is literally squeezed into a series of narrow spaces between several hills. As soon as some small construction project starts anywhere – right away huge traffic jams occur in half the city. And the roads in this city have always been abominable.vl-k091208Vladivostok has been called the San Francisco of the East – by people who have obviously never been to San Francisco (photo from the Grigory Pasko archive)The mass information media transmitted the thought of Putin about how the installations for the summit ought to be built «more modestly», without architectural superfluity.Funding of the development of the Far East will be increased by 102 bln. rubles, declared Putin at one of the sessions of the presidium of the government. However, it is known already now that even those budgetary finds that have already been allocated are being used extremely inefficiently.It is likewise known that until the year 2013 it is planned to spend in excess of 600 bln. rubles, including more than 500 bln. rubles from the federal budget. The federal targeted program (FCP) prescribes the construction in the Far East of 6600 kilometers of automobile roads, 112 kilometers of railroad, more than 5000 kilometers of power transmission lines, 800 kilometers of gas lines. of budgetary funds.“Every ruble spent not as intended is equated to marauding”, threatened once the minister of regional development, Dmitry Kozak. But despite this matters in the region stand not very well. Many foreign investors have refused to participate in the construction of the installations, leaving without answer the call of Dmitry Kozak to “hurry up, or else there won’t be enough space”.And although the FCP was approved by the government nearly a year ago, certain of its directions are funded just 12-13% of the planned level. It can be expected that after the armed conflict with Georgia, the number of potential investors for the construction of installations of the APEC summit will diminish even more.