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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Property Boss Wants Gem Complex on Red Square

Already angered over the shrinking amount of federal funds earmarked for his budget, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov now has a new problem with the Kremlin: It is apparently trying to elbow in on his territory.

At an investment symposium in Boston, President Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked manager of all Kremlin property, Vladimir Kozhin, unveiled an ambitious plan to build a state-of-the-art complex on Red Square, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

The proposed complex will include a state-owned federal center for precious stones and metals, an auction hall to sell jewelry and antiques and a hotel for VIP clients, the news agency said.

No one at City Hall — which has jurisdiction over all new buildings in Moscow not inside the Kremlin walls — was eager to comment.

Officials at Moskomarkhitektura, the city-funded agency that presides over construction work in the city, said that they knew nothing about the project and passed the buck back to the city.

City Hall officials said they were not aware that Putin’s people were planning to expand their reach beyond the Kremlin and onto Luzhkov’s territory.

Alexei Druzhinin, spokesman for Gokhran, the state depository for precious metals and the tsar’s gold and jewelry, said they had not been informed of the plan.

Neither Luzhkov nor his press secretary were available for comment Tuesday, but officials at the press service said they were baffled by the news.

Officials at Kozhin’s office first agreed to comment, but later refused to talk.

In theory, the proposed building could be built close to the GUM department store’s Middle Shopping Mall, or at the crossing behind St. Basil’s Cathedral, said an unidentified official of Moskomarkhitektura, according to Interfax.