Juicy Scandal Around Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome

Juicy Scandal Around Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome

Photo: https://yandex.ru/

A huge scandal is unfolding around the hippodrome in Krasnoyarsk. Rosippodromes is planning to sell the facility as superfluous but according to experts, it’s the expensive land that matters.

Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome, which is over 100 years old, was once located on the outskirts but now it is practically the city center. It is a part of the Rosippodromes holding. The main company is selling it for 600 million rubles ($7,8 mln) because the Krasnoyarsk hippodrome was recognized as a “non-core asset.”

It remains a mystery why a state company with such a big name and activity profile would want to sell this property. The area of the hippodrome is allegedly not big enough for competitions. It has no parking lots. There is a cemetery and an industrial area near it.

All these arguments put the Krasnoyarsk horse-riders to a nonplus, because the situation in reality is just the opposite. The land plot area exceeds 16 hectares. It is enough for any kind of races. There are two parking lots. It is not clear what is meant by an industrial zone because there are only warehouses and tiny industries like pasta production. The Troitskoe cemetery is indeed next to the hippodrome but it has long been closed for burials and is now part of historical heritage. Decembrists, artist Vasily Surikov’s mother and brother, the famous bibliophile Gennady Yudin, and perhaps the commodore Nikolai Rezanov were buried there. It is unlikely that such a neighborhood can spell trouble for horse breeding.

The activists believe that all this is just an excuse. The bidding contest is scheduled for the middle of March. The documents are being prepared with many violations. Some strange things have been happening around the hippodrome for a long time. For example, Rosippodromes leased out all its property to the local Arsiko firm and transferred all the employees to it in December. It was done for the sake of clearing a promising land plot.

“The land is being prepared for a certain buyer. If we were located outside the city, no one would be interested in us at all. As it is near the city center, its market value is very high. At the moment, any information about the long-term development program of the Rosippodromes as well as about the staff and decisions of the board of directors is classified. They can do what they want. Krasnoyarsk hippodrome is not the only one located in a big Russian city. What is happening with us is just the beginning, and then they will target others, hippodrome judge Andrei Shevelev told wek.ru.

So far, according to the city authorities, development of this area contradicts the general plan. Therefore, the developers have no motivation to scheme to acquire this land.

“Housing construction there is not possible due to the city development plan. It is difficult to say what kind of activity the territory will be used for,” said Krasnoyarsk Mayor Sergey Eremin, commenting on the possible sale.

Practice shows that any master layout plan can be amended. There is always a lobby. Lastly, government officials can be paid to pass the right decision. There were such cases in Krasnoyarsk. Last fall the deputy director of Grazhdanproekt was detained. He received a bribe of 7.5 million rubles ($97 mln) from businessmen for changing the status of five land plots and clearing them for housing construction. By the way, three huge multi-storey residential complexes are already constructed across the street from the Krasnoyarsk hippodrome.

“One construction firm very quickly develops areas earmarked for schools, so no school project can be carried through. Another one develops the Abakanskaya channel on the Yenisei putting up high-rise apartment houses there. It is sad,” said the deputy of the regional Legislative Assembly Maksim Zolotukhin.

So far, the regional authorities only offer to combine Krasnoyarsk hippodrome with the hippodrome in Yemelyanovsky district to hold races and horse riding lessons for children there. It is unlikely that anybody will be satisfied with this option except Rosippodromes, of course. Meanwhile, activists have written a letter to the prosecutor general’s office.

“This hippodrome is a part of Krasnoyarsk history. They want to destroy it for the sake of the notorious principle of economic efficiency. So far, people are angry at the Moscow owner, to be more precise, Rosippodromes. A failure of the local authorities to take a clear stance on the matter in the near future will tarnish their reputation. Chances are all the efforts of the previous years to form the regional identity and promote the common interests of the authorities and the society will crash at the Krasnoyarsk hippodrome. The regional authorities have enough power and lobbying abilities to solve the issue on its preservation and development. All we need is political will and understanding that Moscow authorities cannot be blamed for all negative consequences,” says Andrey Seleznev, former deputy of the Krasnoyarsk City Council and head of the Communists of Russia party.

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