Oryol Titanic

Oryol Titanic

Photo: http://www.infoorel.ru

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered to complete the construction of the Oryol regional clinical hospital as soon as possible. He said he would monitor the progress and promised Oryol region Andrei Klychkov to provide all possible assistance.

What caused this decision?

After listening to a long story of hospital construction from Klychkov, Mishustin criticized local authorities for delays in the approval of design estimate documentation. It was designed back in 2006, and then three different contractors started the project but never finished it.

“The situation is terrible. This is not the way it should be done. I have only one question: why didn’t they make the design estimate documentation earlier? I am going to talk with my colleagues in the State Duma and with the commission. Of course, we will provide support to finish the construction but it cannot be supported without justification and design estimate documentation,” said Mishustin.

“Mr. Klychkov, we will not transfer the money without the design estimate documentation. It is obvious that you can't put the cart before the horse. No offense, I'm speaking in a friendly way,” he said.

Irek Fayzullin, Head of the Ministry of Construction of Russia, assured that the process would be accelerated and that the documentation developed in 2021 to complete the construction of this multipurpose medical center (MMC) “in the manual control mode” will receive a positive conclusion of the Main Department of State Expert Appraisal.

Oryol Titanic

The construction of the medical center began in the early 2000s, but as the saying runs, hell is paved with good intentions. Instead of getting help, patients get numerous promises from officials and high-profile criminal cases.

This enormous building which has never been commissioned is commonly referred to as the Titanic. The multistory state-of-the-art medical center could have admitted patients from old buildings of the regional hospital and brought the quality of medical care in the region to a new level. Unfortunately, the construction did not go smoothly.

Yegor Stroyev, who was head of the region at the time, made a prophetic remark at the cornerstone laying ceremony: “There is no such center in the center of Russia and there won't be one for a long time.”

Federal and regional authorities invested more than 1.5 billion rubles ($20.34 mln) in the project over the years. All the governors of the Oryol region tried to carry it through but failed.

In 2017, hope came into the lives of the residents as governor Vadim Potomsky visited the construction site.

“A boiler house will be commissioned in the coming days. It will heat not only this building but also other buildings of the hospital. The work is now being done by a new responsible contractor,” the governor said. Four years have passed since but nothing has changed.

All the money literally went down the drain.

“I know that there are criminal cases. But this is terrible! Is it really possible? After that, what will people think about the authorities, including local ones, when they see this outrage?” said Mishustin.

The Prime Minister's indignation had an effect. In 2017, investigators filed a criminal case against ASK Engineering CEO Ilya Disman, suspected of fraud, non-payment of wages, and abuse of authority during the construction of the hospital. However, suspect remained at large and then left the Orel region.

In February 2021, regional prosecutors approved the bill of indictment in the criminal case over the theft of more than 229 million rubles ($3.11 mln.) An investigator said that Soyuzinform and Stroykom, in the period from May 2012 to December 2014, overstated the cost of the works under the state contract to build the medical center and eventually failed to fully meet their obligations.

The criminal case over embezzlement of almost 300 million rubles was initiated back in 2015. Elena Semina, an official representative of the regional prosecutor's office, explained that “we are talking about grand fraud (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code). In the period from 2012 to 2014, executives of the Soyuzinform contractor, the state-owned Orelgoszakazchik and the regional clinical hospital stole more than 295 million rubles ($4 mln) of budget funds allocated for the construction of a multi-purpose medical center.”

Will the Titanic float?

The regional government decided to allocate subsidies to complete the construction: 22.9 million rubles ($310,546.9) in 2021, 1 billion rubles ($13.6 mln) in 2022, 2 billion rubles ($27.1) in 2023 and more than 477 million rubles ($6.1 mln) in 2024. This is a lot of money. It is assumed that most of these funds will come from the federal treasury.

“After the project implementation about 12,000 patients will be annually treated at the hospital, and 7,000 medical operations will be performed. Commissioning of the center will make it possible to relocate to it 350 beds from other building, providing conditions for patients that will comply with sanitary norms and requirements,” the press service of the Oryol regional government reported.

Conducting an inspection of the unfinished construction, Mishustin underlined that the Russian government had a clear understanding that “we need this hospital for Oryol residents.” “Let's make a deal: the governor takes it under personal control, and we will follow it together,” said Mishistin.

“We will allocate the required funds as soon as the centre has become fully functional and the Orel medical institutions have been transferred there.”

He believes that the hospital should be re-profiled accordingly taking into account the new realities of the pandemic.

Completing his tour of the construction site, Mishustin expressed his hope that the population would have broader access to higher quality medical services.

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