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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Debates Future of 'Dolgostroi'

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Dolgostroi, the Russian catchword for Soviet construction projects that dragged on for decades and were never completed, are city eyesores that should either be torn down or completed to turn a profit, municipal and federal officials agreed Tuesday.

"We don’t have any contradictions [on this matter], but a mutual wish to profit from these projects," said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov at his weekly City Hall roundtable.

Luzhkov called on the federal goverment and his own to approve a program presented by his property and land department and the federal Property Ministry.

The meeting and the proposed program mark "the first step to creating a single system to liquidate dolgostroi," Luzhkov said.

At issue are 170 federally owned buildings in Moscow that started being built decades ago, some as early as the 1970s, but were never finished.

Deputy Mayor Oleg Tolkachev said that 30 of the 170 listed dolgostroi projects are close to completion and could be finished within a year.

Both city and federal governments now intend to make a full inventory of the buildings and resolve the fate of each of them by the end of the year.

Financing for the buildings deemed worthy of completion could come from either the federal services that currently occupy them, Tolkachev said, or from the city in exchange for a cut of future profits. Another option is holding a tender to attract private investors, he said.

"The unfinished buildings are frozen capital, distort the architectural look of the city and are dangerous for Muscovites," Tolkachev said.

Aside from the architectural and safety concerns, however, the real issue is money.

Although Moscow’s dolgostroi have yet to be appraised, Shalva Breus, the deputy property minister, said that dolgostroi in the Krasnoyarsk region alone are worth an estimated 36 billion rubles ($1.2 billion). "Our task now is to upgrade these projects from passive to active," he said.

Luzhkov said the city was ready to take up the task, but a "tough legal system" has to be worked out to ensure that the projects do not stumble.