The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, like other regions of Russia, has got also the problems of unfinished construction projects. Some of them have not been completed for decades.
Delayed Constriction Buildings are Calculated
Yugra authorities have created a register of unfinished construction projects in municipalities of the region. Thus, in the document (the copy is at the disposal of the editorial office) it is stated that there are 563 objects with the total value of 22.3 billion rubles ($32.61 mln.) The share of federal funds invested in the long-term construction projects exceeded 335 million rubles ($ 4.75 mln.)
Years go by, billions Dwindle Away
The authorities of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region have recorded that there are long-delayed construction projects whose deadlines have not been determined yet. For many of them, in spite of the statements of the officials, the commissioning has been postponed several times.
For example, the hospital in the Khanty-Mansiysk district that was promised back in December 2021 has not been put into commission by now, and the infamous delayed construction project in Nizhnevartovsk that was scheduled for completion in 2012 will, at best, be commissioned in summer 2023, according to industry experts.
Another long-delayed project that, according to the estimates of the public, might “fall into oblivion” is the reconstruction of a hospital in the Soviet district. A new maternity hospital and surgery were scheduled to open in 2015, but the timeline for completion of this project is still unclear.
While the officials in charge traditionally refer to “unforeseen circumstances and temporary difficulties,” and announce another optimistic deadline, their critics from among the public and construction workers speak of managerial errors and probably a “complete lack of interest in the efficient use of state budget funds.”
The activists cite as an example the hospital in the settlement of Gornopravdinsk Khanty-Mansiysk disctict.
“They started building the facility more than 10 years ago. However, during its design development the area where it was being built was not taken into account. The design organization did not take into consideration geological data, as a result, the hospital was placed in quicksand, and at the initial stage of construction, the building simply sank.
“When these violations were revealed, the first contractor simply ran away, because he realized that the water would not go away. The logic goes, it was possible to draw conclusions, but no. Officials of the Khanty-Mansiysk district ordered a new facility, the rural community center. And it is being built on the swamp again,” says Victor Snisarenko, head of the executive committee of All-Russia People's Front in Yugra.
Billions of rubles are already needed to solve the problems, and activists expect new “forgotten” and dangerous social projects and therefore new hotbeds of tension among the population of the region.
In this situation, the public has a reasonable question: why start new multibillion-dollar construction projects when hospitals, kindergartens, and schools that have already been partially completed?
Opening is Postponed... From 2012 to 2023
According to the industry experts, the hospital in Nizhnevartovsk, which is the most long-delayed construction project in the healthcare industry, might face yet another time extension. The construction began back in 2008-2009 as part of the cooperation program. The initial cost was 4 billion rubles ($56.72 mln.) However, the central 1,100-bed hospital has been under construction for over 10 years, and about 30 billion rubles ($425,370) have been invested in the project during that time.
After yet another failure to put the facility into operation, Natalia Komarova, the Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District, promised that the construction and installation work would be completed by November 2022. At the same time, representatives of Monolitstroy, the contractor, and the Department of Capital Construction of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District claim that the work will not be completed before December.
Even the recent transfer of 443 million rubles ($6.28 mln) to the contractor failed to improve the situation. It also raises the question of why the capital construction management of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District and Monolitstroy could not agree on a date and package of documents for completing the transaction to transfer this money for several days.
Probably, the officials were waiting for a “kickback.” Only when Azat Islayev, the deputy governor in charge of construction in the Ugra government, threatened the contractor with termination of the contract and threatened the Department with firing the employee in charge, the matter was resolved.
On the whole, according to construction market experts, at least 2 billion rubles ($28.36 mln) more is needed to finish the construction, which the contractor will not have enough time to spend by the end of the year. Considering the fact that bidding for some equipment, licensing, and handing over the facility still has to take place, the hospital in Nizhnevartovsk will not start functioning until next summer.
“As of today, the situation is, the facility will be commissioned in the summer of 2023 at best. The fact is that now there is a drastic shortage of funds for the purchase of the remaining equipment. In order for them to appear, they have to be allocated by Tyumen. And this requires amendments to the regional government regulations,” say insiders in the government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District.
Moreover, the builders of the Nizhnevartovsk district hospital said in social networks that in recent months they have been experiencing problems with receiving their salaries.
“We have not been paid for a whole month (no advance or salary, one might ask, what to live on?),” the VK employees wrote. They also added that they wanted to attract the attention to the problem, especially of higher authorities. The contractor traditionally denies any delays in payment of wages.
Under Bastrykin's Control
Head of Investigation Committee Alexander Bastrykin ordered to report on the progress of the investigation into the criminal case related to the embezzlement during construction of district hospital in Nizhnevartovsk.
The central office of the department put under control the criminal case against Alexander Makarikov, head of the Nizhnevartovsk branch of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug Construction Department, who was detained a year ago on suspicion of taking a bribe of 35 million rubles ($496,265) from an equipment supplier to the clinic.
In April 2022, Basmanny District Court of Moscow sent Alexey Repkin, former adviser to the CEO of the United Priborostroitelny Corporation, to the pre-trial detention center for two months on suspicion of swindling in the delivery of medical equipment to the hospital in Nizhnevartovsk which was under construction.
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region Residents’ Opinions
“Ten years ago Natalia took this poor hospital under her personal supervision, so why did it happen? They even set up a camera to film in real time, promised a weekly report, but it was a long time ago.”
“Somebody will be put in jail, there's no doubt about it. For the first time the word embezzlement has been said out loud!”
“Bastrykin takes personal control when local law enforcers are unable or unwilling to investigate... Huge sums of money have been siphoned off.”
Apologies by Governor
The heavily criticized authorities of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District are trying to “save face” by demonstrating that they are doing everything possible to finish many years of construction projects.
Natalia Komarova, Governor of the disctict, apologized to the people of Ugra for the long-Delayed constructions in the region. She made such a statement during her annual press conference the other day.
“There are 350 unfinished construction facilities, including those with the status of uncompleted construction, i.e. with broken terms. Of these, 80-90 are state-ordered. This is the amount of work that needs to be done. This is not a unique case for a federal subject of Russia, but it says nothing. I would ask all Ugra citizens to forgive me for not fulfilling the obligations on building these facilities,” said Komarova.
Long-delayed construction periods are observed in many Russian towns. When choosing contractors, officials understand that they give them big money, so they must have full control over them. And in the end, even large and important projects are implemented for decades. In this case, the cost of facilities increases due to rising prices for materials and other things. It turns out that the contractors benefit from long construction projects, and the budget and residents remain the losers.