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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Repair Work on Ostankino Stalled for Lack of Funding

Major repair work on the Ostankino television tower was suspended in June because funding ran out, the state construction committee, Gosstroi, said Monday, the first anniversary of a tragic fire.

Only minor work on the tower — repairs to wall cracks, cleaning of the shaft — is still under way.

The federal government allocated 50 million rubles ($1.8 million) last November for Ostankino repairs, but the money has all been spent and no additional funds were provided in 2001, Gosstroi said in a statement.

Workers have replaced 120 of the 149 steel cables that run inside the tower and provide support, but the cables have not been mounted securely and tightened because of the lack of funding, the statement said.

Six of the tower's eight elevators and its fire-safety systems have not yet been restored, it said.

Gosstroi estimated that full restoration of the tower will cost 2.312 billion rubles ($80 million) and be completed in 2004.

To speed up the costly repairs on the Ostankino tower, the government negotiated a $14 million loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. As one condition for the loan, the EBRD demanded that All-Russian State Television and Radio Co., or VGTRK, be split into two parts, one in charge of programming and the other in charge of transmission for both state and private broadcasters.

President Vladimir Putin's decree of Aug. 13 overhauling VGTRK complied with the EBRD demand, and the money is expected to be released later this year.

For its part, the government earmarked 177 million rubles ($6 million) in the 2002 budget to finance tower repairs. The budget also provides for servicing the EBRD debt, the Gosstroi statement said.

As a result of the fire Aug. 27, 2000, three people were killed, and television services were knocked out for Moscow and the surrounding region. The fire is believed to have been the result of a short circuit.