Who will win? Peaceful Farmers have laid siege on Kremlin

12.02.2010 – Evening Kazan

Arbitral Court of Tatarstan Republic shall clarify the boundaries of the preservation area of Kazan Kremlin in order to resolve the disputes about the legality of the construction of so called Palace of Farmers. On Wednesday during the court trial a number of maps and schemes were attached to the court case, however another one may recently arise. By the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tatarstan Republic, officials from Moscow decided to perform expertise regarding Kremlin reservation area in Kazan.

The Administration of the Federal Service of supervision of compliance to the legislation in the sphere of preservation of cultural heritage in Povolzhsky Federal District have presented a claim for arbitral proceedings, this State body was against Farmer’s Palace one year ago, during the stage of approval of the project. The specialists of the service were stating that building with cupolas, moulding and symbolic tree will destroy the view of the middle age fortress and will draw all the attention to itself. The fears regarding the exclusion of Kazan Kremlin from the UNESCO’s World heritage list or the demolition of the building spread by federal officials were unable to stop the construction.

Today, the object is not operating officially, people say that even elevators don’t work. But the looks of the car park crowded with cars confirms that the Ministry have moved. Thanks god it’s not a skyscraper – four floors only, but Tatarstan had never had such pompous offices.

Initially in its claim, the Administration of the Federal Service of supervision of compliance to the legislation in the sphere of preservation of cultural heritage in Povolzhsky Federal District was disputing the order of Executive Committee of Kazan as of October 5, 2008 regarding the granting of this land for construction. However on the last hearing on February 10, the claim was clarified. Now Rosokhrankultura demands to adjudge the actions of the officials regarding the selection and identification of the boundaries of the land plot as being illegal. The representatives of the Federal body deem the act of selection and boundaries of the land plot approved by the Executive Committee on May 7, 2007 as being illegal.

The representatives of defendants from executive committee, main investment and construction department of the developer “Antica-plus” and administration of architecture of the city which is attracted to the trial as third party do not accept the claim. The all state the same: the land for the construction of Palace of Farmers was allocated strictly in accordance with the legislation. With regards to the preserved area, after presenting the maps and schemes to the judge, the employee of the Administration of Architecture Maria Starodubtseva have stated that the preservation area of the Kremlin does not exist.

“This boundary was approved by the order of council of Ministers of TASSR in the year 1988 and no one have ever cancelled this order, consequently it remains in force”- said to the judge the employee of Rospkhrankultura Svetlana Persova, she showed the judge that the land plot under the new building of Ministry of Agriculture is within the boundaries of preserved area. The opponents did not argue, but they have presented the “trump card”: the letter of the head of the department of preservation immovable monuments of history and culture of Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation – Alexander Rabotkevich, the letter was addressed to the directorate of “Kazan Kremlin” culture preserve.

The letter states that, currently, on the federal level, the expertise regarding the approval of the boundaries of the Kazan Kremlin preservation area will be carried out. This expertise is expected to take approximately two months and the defendants expect that the preserved are will be decreased. However, even in such case the Palace located under the ancient walls will be deemed as illegal. The law does not have retroaction, and the building of the ministry was erected on the area, where such construction is banned. At the same time, federal officials does not talk about demolition anymore. Even the partial alterations in the facades of the building will be the victory for them, but they have to strive for it.

The next court hearing is scheduled on March, 15. Prior to this date, most of defects of the building will be eliminated.

Irina Plotnikova

Source: Evening Kazan №17 (3977), February 12, 2010, Friday