Development of the Solovetsky Archipelago: new rules are on agenda, but old problems remained

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Development of the Solovetsky Archipelago: new rules are on agenda, but old problems remained
Development of the Solovetsky Archipelago: new rules are on agenda, but old problems remained
1 September, 14:28Society
The government of the Arkhangelsk region last week approved new rules for land use and development of the Solovetsky archipelago, which are quite difficult to call them new.

The building rules were created back in 2019, and judging by the fact that the Solovetsky village has turned into a large-scale construction site devouring historical monuments.

In 2020, the general plan of the Solovetsky village was approved, which will now consist not of one, as it is now, but of 17 (!) Plots scattered on three islands. The area of the village has been increased 5.57 times — from 297 hectares to 1701.4 hectares.

Lyudmila Butuzova

The new rules, together with the master plan, are a fundamental and strategic document that will determine the development of the Solovki territory for a decade ahead, said the Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Alexander Tsybulsky in a press statement.

Experts and defenders of the Solovetsky archipelago do not share the governor's optimism.

“Solovki is a national property of the country, a symbol of the Russian North, a historical Spiritual Center, a UNESCO monument,” said Yuri Ekhin, a member of the Union of Architects of Russia. - It is impossible to determine its future at the regional and municipal level, even hiding behind “good” intentions such as resettlement of emergency housing stock and construction of social facilities. We are well aware of these tricks of the authorities, including the staged public hearings, which were repeatedly held in Moscow under the scandalous renovation program. It is also known the practice when well-thought-out master plans of cities or settlements are gradually destroyed on the ground by the so-called rules of land use and development.

Unfortunately, this is a negative trend that the authorities are pedaling.

I really didn’t want this to happen again on Solovki. The master plan, rules of land use and development of the famous islands should be discussed at the level of experts of the country, the construction of any object there should be coordinated by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. There are also interests of the Russian Orthodox Church. But as far as I know, the Solovetsky archipelago, as a national and world heritage, does not even have a protected status, and this is not a simple omission.

В таких условиях живут сегодня соловчане

Moscow, with its almost 900-year history, and more than 300 cities and villages across the country, which had such a status during the times of the RSFSR, does not have such a status either. Practical actions of the authorities at different levels, as a rule, are distinguished by their disdainful to contemptuous attitude towards the historical, cultural and natural heritage. In my opinion, everything suggests that this is not only commercialization, which exists in many countries that perfectly follow their history and culture. This is most likely a deliberate destruction of the history, culture and architecture of Russia. In such conditions, there is no reason to hope for the responsible attitude of the governor Tsybulsky towards the Solovki...

The governor has his own truth.

Жители островов ютятся в бараках, как и сто лет назад

- My task as the head of the region is to do everything so that people living here feel modern, comfortable and enjoy all the benefits of civilization, - Alexander Tsybulsky Solovkov defended the new PZZ in numerous interviews, not forgetting about ritual incantations that “all of us have a great responsibility for a careful attitude towards the spiritual component of the Solovetsky archipelago".

What you cannot argue with is the fact that the Solovetsky settlement is as far as the moon before civilization.

Бытовки уже повсюду - началась Большая стройка

“Life is extremely ascetic”, - the ecologist Galina shared with NI, who sent us photographs of the everyday life of Solovki. - In your world, scary wooden barracks are a relic. And on Solovki it is normal human habitation. Some barracks even have commemorative plaques - "women's barracks", "children's barracks". Heating is mainly stove, electricity is from a small diesel power plant. I have an apartment in such a barrack, recently the plumbing was installed. The water in the tap is the color of weak tea, but in principle you can even drink it: it is clean, just colored with peat bogs.

To get sick or break my legs, according to Galina, is best during the season: only a pediatrician and a therapist work in the local hospital, there are no narrow specialists, no tests can be done, there is an X-ray machine, but there is no radiologist. Several times a year, doctors from the mainland come to the island and receive Solovki residents. Aborigines go to solve serious health issues, for example, to Kem: they sail 50 km by sea and go another 10 km to the city.

The administration of the Solovetsky district, the district administration, the hospital and the pharmacy are located in the building of the former hospital. It was built in 1939 at the monastery cemetery. Gravestones were used for the foundations of this house, as well as the kindergarten and school. In Solovki there are no paved roads, no supermarkets, boutiques, fitness clubs, not even a gym, children go out into the corridor and do physical education there. Grocery and souvenir shops for tourists are located in the central part of the village in the former barracks for prisoners of STON and ELEPHANT. Due to expensive transportation, prices for everything are much higher than in St. Petersburg and even Moscow. Local residents are mainly self-sufficient - they keep chickens, cows, plow vegetable gardens. One of the main problems on the island is the lack of fuel. There were years when gasoline was sold for three hours a day, once a week. This hinders the development of the tourism business, on which everything rests. If you are not an official or a worker at a monastery, there is nowhere else to work.

Мусор на островах - это отдельная и очень большая проблема

"This is not a resort. Everyone who could not live like this has already left, - ecologist Galina says without emotion. - There are the most Solovki residents left in spirit - who simply cannot live without this place and understand its significance for the country".

On Solovki there are 900 permanent residents plus 60 monasteries. They live their own lives, they do not often intersect with the townspeople. During the season, about 20 thousand tourists and about 10 thousand pilgrims visit Solovki. The general plan plans to reduce the population by 2023-2035 to 800 people, but at the same time (!) - increased the area of the village by almost 5, 5 times. A simple comparison of numbers leads residents to think that the actual customer of the general plan is the monastery, and the new rules for building and land use are not aimed at improving their village.

According to the materials of the general plan, at each new (attached) site it is planned to build a temple, a chapel, a cell building; hermit cells, auxiliary facilities - a garage, a hangar for storing boats and boats, warehouses for storing inventory and consumables; construction of objects of the pilgrim infrastructure - residential buildings and hotels, a house for the caretaker; construction or reconstruction of a sea berth; equipment of parking places for transport and rest of pilgrims; and also - improvement of the site with the equipment of hiking trails throughout the territory and the installation of a fence around the perimeter.

As you can see, the "revival" of sketes involves not only the historically established forms of activity. Is there a need to deprive the islands of more than a thousand hectares of relict forest for the sake of reviving monastic life in conditions as close as possible to the standards of urban civilization? Is such a "landing" expected of those wishing to be tonsured as monks, or, at the wave of someone's pointing finger, monastic life will come to the requested area of land? Rather, we will see dachas and residences of not the poorest citizens of Russia here ...

Уже очень скоро всей этой красоте может прийти конец

Another question. On the territory of the Solovetsky archipelago, including the territories alienated in favor of the church, there are examples of active historical nature management, which are of great scientific and practical importance. First of all, these are the largest lake-channel systems, dams, reclamation networks, meadows, hydraulic structures, the construction of which is an example of the rational use of natural resources. However, the restoration of these systems is not even discussed in the general plan - maybe because they have nothing to do with the issues of property redistribution?

“It’s not hard to imagine what will happen next”, - said Daniil Mikhailov, a member of the public council for the preservation of the Solovetsky archipelago, Doctor of Historical Sciences. - Unique natural spaces, classified by UNESCO as especially valuable natural and cultural monuments, will cross numerous roads to hotels and residential buildings. Quiet hermitages and deserts will have to be supplied with electric generators, antennas, new discharges will flow into the sea. The endless design of local waste disposal facilities, plans and concepts will begin. It is doubtful that the pilgrims of the holy places are interested in this. It is obvious that the general layout of the archipelago is a purely commercial project.

Why are the defenders of Solovki so confidently pessimistic? Because the village of Solovetsky and the surrounding forest are turning into a solid construction site before our eyes, because instead of solving problems, new ones arise. All-terrain vehicles plow not only the soft soil of forest roads, but even drive through swamps and "tundra". In places of nesting colonies, groups of tourists land, and picnics are arranged there. New Russians have new entertainment - poaching, boat races for beluga whales at the moment when their cubs are born ...

“Solovki are losing their outstanding universal value”, - says ecologist Galina bitterly, - "On the one hand, as a resident, I should be glad that at least some kind of civilization will come to the village, but the way it comes here, as an ecologist, does not just resent me. I am in favor of stopping this. But no one asked the residents and experts".

Public hearings took place in April this year. From the point of view of the government of the Arkhangelsk region, they were ideally prepared: on the eve, together with the Ministry of Construction, all energy facilities and water disposal facilities, water treatment facilities were inspected, an action plan and additional funding were determined in order to completely solve key problematic issues by the end of 2021. Patriarch Kirill personally blessed the construction of social infrastructure and a new hospital in the village. Consultations were held with the Union of Architects of Russia on planning solutions for residential and social facilities. They did not even hide from the people that the president of the union, Andrei Bokov, spoke very critically about the plan for the improvement of the island.

At the time of the hearings, the construction of the hospital had already begun on Solovki, the project of treatment facilities (the seventh in a row) was being adjusted, the facades of future housing, a kindergarten and a secondary school were drawn in accordance with the wish of the union of architects that "it is absolutely impossible to build junk".

“The only sad thing is that all our comments and suggestions, submitted in accordance with the established procedure, were not taken into account”, - the head of the municipality Yevgeny Tyutyukov laments in social networks. Although, after the approval of the Solovki Development Concept, all documents of urban planning will again require another adjustment. The general plan of Solovkov and the rules of land use and development are constantly changing ...

With the same persistence, questions arise that no one is going to answer. “I’m talking about water and sewerage in Solovki”, - Sergey Yurkovsky, an activist from Arkhangelsk, addresses the governor through social networks. - Since 2015, the amount of funds allocated to Solovki only for the sewerage system (712 million rubles) and for the water supply system (546 million) has exceeded 1 billion 250 million rubles and so far nothing has been built. Isn't it a bit too much, considering that the population of Solovki is only 900 people? Probably, it has already been enough for all residents of the settlement on the mainland to buy housing, and to make the island itself a truly museum complex".

Tsybulsky has the right not to answer -1 billion 250 million. His predecessors “pumped” incorrect management decisions regarding these facilities, disregarding the opinions of qualified specialists, which threatened the destruction of the most valuable hydraulic and engineering structures of the past and the possible flooding of the entire territory of the Solovetsky Fortress. But the people who made these decisions no longer work in the Arkhangelsk region, seven firms from St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, having boiled over on "toilet contracts", also safely disappeared. New specialists have come, and the residents suspect that the laying of water and sewerage is going in the same places and with the same threats.

People also see the plans for the construction of a hospital on Solovki as very ambiguous.

“The contract was concluded with the White House firm, which did not complete the construction of the House of Culture for us and simply left the facility,” the chairman of the municipal council of the village Yevgeny Tyutyukov commented on this event on the 29.RU portal. - The price of the new contract for the hospital is 600 million 337 thousand rubles. The firm was the only participant in the auction and, as expected, came out the winner. As for the construction of a hospital in general, this is not a priority object in Solovki. We have two and a half doctors. We will build a new hospital with all the normative offices and so on, and who will work there? The position of the village is unambiguous: we must complete the construction of a water supply and sewerage system so that there is somewhere to connect new buildings. And to build residential buildings for the resettlement of emergency gangs and resettlement from memorial houses. This is logical. And then you can do everything else.

But it seems that logic and blessing from above do not always coincide. The regional administration did not dare to argue.

According to Tyutyukov, there is another huge problem, but for some reason no one thinks about it and does not voice it. The Tamarin pier is the main pier through which almost all the tourist flow to Solovki goes. It is municipal, is in disrepair and requires complete reconstruction. There is a corresponding court decision in this regard. Now the Fund for the Preservation and Development of Solovki is designing the reconstruction of this berth. But if it does not start in the coming years, then Tamarin will be closed. And this will entail problems with tourist flow and practically create budget paralysis for the Solovki municipality. Because the settlement earns on this pier and lives on this money, without federal funding or God's help.

All interested parties in Solovki - and, we recall, there are quite a few of them - the government of the Arkhangelsk region, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the administration of the Primorsky district, in whose subordination the municipality of the Solovetsky settlement is located - their own worries, respectively, and each of them pulls the blanket upon himself... In April 2018, by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the Fund for the Preservation and Development of the Solovetsky Archipelago was created - as if to coordinate the existing multi-command. The Foundation is chaired by Russian official Mikhail Fradkov. A long list of members of the Board of Trustees is headed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

According to available data, the Fund intends to master at least thirty billion rubles in Solovki. But the year 2021 will end soon, and no visible results of the Fund's activities are found. Unless a large number of meetings are held in Solovki, and there they regularly promise to implement development plans, for the implementation of which projects are being developed...

On the other hand, under the auspices of the Fund, various structures, which are its contractors, are already in charge of Solovki. In the area of the brick factory, they are building something, and upon inquiries from the residents, the workers answer that these are temporary structures. But upon closer examination, it turns out that this is a complex of modern buildings standing on piles and bearing clear signs of capitalism. In the approved general plan of the settlement, there should not be any capital construction on this site. The works are carried out on the federal lands of the forest fund. In a large-scale project that seems to have arisen from nowhere, an early commissioning of an entire bath and laundry plant is already envisaged, and the creation of a catering unit, garages, warehouses is not far off ... There is also evidence that a scheme for laying a separate water supply system in this area has been considered! Perhaps all this together is the creation of a large tourist complex with the appropriate infrastructure.

And it is no longer clear whether these plans are compatible with the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church. In any case, at a meeting of the Foundation in August last year, Patriarch Kirill urged not to turn Solovki into a center of tourism: “You know, this way you can immediately litter everything and, in addition to causing direct damage, create a certain trend, which will then be very difficult to change. People will get used to arriving, arriving and behaving in Solovki as in any other place, and then try to reverse it!"

To the confused residents, everything that happens is reminiscent of the recently died down scandal around Shies. There, too, similar "temporary buildings" were built, supposedly for the residence of workers and environmentalists, and not in fact, turned out to be housing for aggressive employees of the private security company. And in the same way, roads were destroyed, the territory was littered, the opinion of the northerners was ignored. On Shies, the case ended with the inglorious closure of the construction site. The main problem here may be the possibility of excluding the archipelago from the UNESCO list. And this is already an international scandal, which the sacred Solovetsky land did not deserve.

PS .

In preparing the text, the materials of the study of the Solovetsky archipelago were used, on which scientists from the Interregional Center for Independent Historical and Cultural Expertise worked on the direct instructions of the former Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. The purpose of the state order is to refer the Solovetsky archipelago to a significant religious and historical place, to provide a comprehensive protection status, to establish requirements for conducting economic activities and regulate construction. The results of the study did not suit the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and remained unclaimed.

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