Deputies of State Duma to spend 2 billion rubles ($29.9 million) on cafes and restaurant
The sum mentioned in the heading has been allocated to install inter alia a dome on the State Duma building located on Okhotny Ryad. But the majority of the above funds are intended to build a canteen, two cafes, and deli shop for the Deputies. The contractor also promises to make the debating chamber more ‘democratic'. Perhaps, bread crumbs, grease stains, and anti-heartburn pills would help the Deputies to grow closer to the public?
The Deputies claim that the State Duma roof is leaking and want to renovate the building yet again. Last year, the lawmakers were so scared of the roof leaks that returned to their homes "for safety reasons". Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, was also concerned about the leak. He said that the State Duma building located on Okhotny Ryad hadn't been renovated for 23 years already. It is necessary to note that this refers to capital renovations – last year the Deputies had indulged themselves with cosmetic repairs worth 185 million rubles ($2.8 million). However, no one has corrected Volodin – and the works began.
Vyacheslav Volodin speaks of the renovations
Посмотреть эту публикацию в Instagram
В Госдуме объявлен перерыв на 10 минут из-за того, что потекла крыша #госдума #дождь #протечка #вода #перерыв #парфенов Обновление: Кстати, кресло принадлежит депутату Выборному, одному из соавторов закона о реновации. А женский голос на фоне, сокрушающийся о залитом столе, принадлежит Ирине Белых (той самой, что вносила закон о приравнивании встреч избирателей с депутатами к митингам). Есть в этом какой-то символизм.
Deputies are terrified with the leak >>
In late November, a contract to redesign and reconstruct the State Duma complex of buildings on Okhotny Ryad at the cost of 123.4 million rubles ($1.8 million) was posted on the governmental acquisitions web site. The contract has been awarded on a sole source basis (apparently, no one was willing to save the Deputies from leaks) to Mosproject 2 company whose General Director is ancestral architect Mikhail Posokhin.
Mikhail Posokhin is the son of famous Soviet architect Mikhail Posokhin – designer of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses and first concrete residential high-rises in Moscow. Posokhin junior was one of the favorite architects of Yuri Luzhkov. Together with Zurab Tsereteli and Aleksander Shilov, he is considered the author of the ‘Luzhkov style’ in the architectural appearance of the Russian capital.
According to Architectural Watch (ArchNadzor) Public Movement, Posokhin is responsible for the demolition of Neklyudova Home built in the 18th century on Malaya Bronnaya street and destruction of the historical appearance of Ostozhenka street during the construction of Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Center. As the author of Okhotny Ryad Trade Center, Posokhin was involved in the reconstruction of Okhotny Ryad as well. Currently, he is a Vice President of the Russian Academy of Arts.
Mikhail Posokhin junior
Now Posokhin and his company have to secretly (the Department of Presidential Affairs acting as the customer has classified the Terms of Reference "For Official Use Only") develop a new roof with a glass dome for the State Duma. The project also includes reconstruction of the canteen, two cafes, restaurant, and deli shop. The lawmakers are seriously concerned about gastronomy. Back in 2003, Deputy Aleksander Lotorev has explained the need to establish an Internet cafe in the parliament as follows: "To enable a Deputy to go out during a session and have a cup of coffee or a jug of beer, smoke a cigarette, eat ice cream..." Needless to say, each Deputy has the right to have a jug of beer.
Therefore, the catering establishments in the State Duma are designed with extra capacities: cafes for 100 and 64 patrons respectively and a canteen for 162 patrons – to make sure that not a single Deputy is left hungry.
But in fact, the reconstruction of the State Duma is not about catering – but about a huge and nontransparent ‘spending' of budget funds. Although the current contract cost is only 123.4 million rubles ($1.8 million), the Federal Targeted Investment Program (FTIP) has already allocated almost 150 million rubles ($2.2 million) for that project. Design works normally constitute 6–10% of the total project cost – so, the rescue of ‘starving' Deputies would cost the budget over 2 billion rubles ($29.9 million).
Appetite comes with eating
Posokhin was the favored architect of Luzhkov. They had a common understanding of how to make money on construction in Moscow. The Mayor's favorite has earned some $30 million on Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Center alone. The architectural tastes of Posokhin haven't changed after the downfall of his ‘high patron'. A year after the resignation of Luzhkov, Posokhin became involved in the ‘spending' of 91 million rubles ($1.4 million) allocated for the restoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and installation of a memorial obelisk there.
The corruption scheme used seven years ago still astonishes with its impudence. First, the Department of Presidential Affairs has signed a contract worth 85 million rubles ($1.3 million) with Construction Association Federal State Unitary Enterprise to perform construction and installation works in Aleksandrovsky Garden. On May 9, 2010, Dmitry Medvedev, Aleksander Lukashenko, and Viktor Yanukovich have unveiled that memorial.
Ten days before this big event, the Department of Presidential Affairs has signed another contract to perform additional works in relation to the installation of the same obelisk – this time, at the cost of 91 million rubles ($1.4 million). The contractor was Construction Association company – not the federal state unitary enterprise. Journalists found out that the works stipulated in this contract had already been performed by the federal state unitary enterprise by that time. Finally, five days before the Victory Day, the third contract to perform survey and design works was signed with Mosproject 2 State Unitary Enterprise managed by Posokhin. Posokhin gained only some 1 million rubles ($15 thousand) – but, more importantly, he has established ties with the Department of Presidential Affairs.
Seven years later, the same story has repeated – although with slight variations. In November 2017, the Department of Presidential Affairs signed two contracts worth 21.5 and 35.7 million rubles ($321.6 and $534.1 thousand) with Mosproject 2 – that has already been transformed into a commercial structure by that time – to redesign the State Duma. The contract completion deadline was December 25, 2018 – which immediately triggers associations with the survey and design works carried out in relation to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In fall, the task assigned to Posokhin was limited to the dome design and expansion of the debating chamber. In summer, Mikhail Posokhin had promised make the lawmaking hall more democratic and resembling an amphitheater. The Federal Targeted Investment Program (FTIP) has even reserved 705 million rubles ($10.5 million) for these democratic improvements.
The spent sums
It is better to chew rather than to vote
However, in November 2018, the Department of Presidential Affairs has terminated the contracts – that were supposed to be 90% completed. Instead, a new contract worth 123 million rubles ($1.8 million) was signed with Posokhin. Advance payments under the terminated contracts totaling 15 million rubles ($224.4 thousand) were forgiven to the famous architect.
As usual, the new contract has been awarded on a sole source basis. Mikhail Posokhin, being the President of the National Association of Surveyors and Designers (NOPRIZ) openly advocates the restriction of competition in governmental acquisitions – and the Department of Presidential Affairs, apparently, supports him in this. After all, who would dare to compete with an ancestral architect? Based on the appearance and manners of ‘architects' in NOPRIZ, the author of the ‘Luzhkov style' is a very serious person. The comments to the video also show how skilled is Posokhin in standing his ground.
But the point is that the customer and contractor have struck a deal long before the contract signing. The new contract provides only two weeks for the survey works. Even if Posokhin uses the design ideas produced in the framework of the terminated contracts (the glass dome design was in development for an entire year), how can he redesign five catering establishments in two weeks? On the other hand, this could easily be done in the past year. In other words, Posokhin had been designing the entire complex of State Duma structures and facilities from the very beginning.
Mosproject 2 has only two weeks to perform survey works
Of course, the contract price had to be revised in accordance with the new architectural requirements. Furthermore, the Main Department of State Expertise Federal Autonomous Institution (Glavgosexpertiza) has been engaged into the new project: huge glass domes don’t require much expertise, but the Deputies’ diet is a strategic matter. Therefore, the total cost may ultimately exceed 2 billion rubles ($29.9 million). The Deputies take serious care of the things that matter – bread and circuses!