“Buyers of apartments in two blocks of elite development on Sofiyskaya Embankment will live “on the first line from the Kremlin”", - Olga, a sales employee at Capital Group, proudly told Novye Izvestia, - “You can already see the apartments. Part of the quarter will be commissioned at the end of this year. There will be everything: bars, restaurants, shops, a wine shop, a recreation area, a barbecue area... Yes, all this is in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin!".
By ear, all this is perceived rather strange: the quarters that are being mercilessly built up are located on Bolotnaya Square and on the Sofiyskaya Embankment, on both sides of the residence of the British Ambassador. This historical area is protected by law, it is a protected zone and at the same time a buffer zone of the Kremlin - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The regime of the security zone is known to everyone who makes decisions: no construction, except for the regeneration (restoration, replenishment, recreation) of partially or completely lost elements of the historical and cultural environment. However, the developer's desire to sell apartments overlooking the Kremlin turned out to be above the law. Buyers of Capital Group apartments have to live high up and look far away. So that in front - the Tsar himself, Ivan the Great and cathedrals, and behind - the Zamoskvoretsky churches and bell towers. It doesn't matter that the view of the Kremlin from Bolotnaya Square and the banks of the Vodootvodny Canal will be closed: the personal views of buyers are more important than those of the public. They pay for that. Or have already paid. As we were informed in the sales department of "Capital Group", in the residential complex, which will be commissioned in the last quarter of this year, most of the apartments have already been sold out. Of the penthouses, only one remained free, although the cost of one square meter in these apartments is from $ 100 thousand per square meter. In other apartments, the cost per square meter starts from $ 20 thousand per square meter. Especially impressive are the maisonettes - apartments on the ground floor with their own separate exit to the leisure area. Near the Kremlin.
The residential complex will develop in full force in the immediate vicinity of the place, which is associated not only with the Russian state power, but also with our history. It is clear that the view of the Kremlin is a very expensive commodity for which the elite are ready to pay well. But on the other hand, since the development of the Sofiyskaya Embankment violates the law on protected areas, the buildings of these residential complexes, according to the law, can be demolished as a squatter. Someone needed a very high protection for the permission of this development.
“The residential building being built by Capital Group in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin cathedrals will have 6 floors. I would like to note that in this historical quarter, only houses with a height of 2-3 floors have been erected for the last 200 years, so as not to damage the historical view of the Kremlin, not to spoil the panorama and in order not to damage the foundations of historical buildings in this place. However, taller buildings appeared occasionally. So, at the beginning of the 20th century, a tenement house with a height of 21 meters was built in this place, but it stood only for 10 years and was demolished, as it damaged the historical panorama of the Kremlin. The designers of the Capital Group clung to this long-demolished building as a precedent and received a formal permission for development under rather strange circumstances", - said Konstantin Mikhailov, editor-in-chief of the Heritage Keepers and coordinator of Arkhnadzor, to Novye Izvestia.
Who, after all, gave permission for this scandalous development?
On a May day in 2018, a sudden demolition began in the property between Sofiyskaya Embankment and Bolotnaya Square. The flag of Moscow fluttered over the place of demolition. The developer Capital Group acted under this flag. You are not mistaken, the developer on the Sofiyskaya embankment is the same one that was preparing to demolish the Badayevsky plant.
It turned out that on May 18, the developer received an architectural and urban planning solution for a "multifunctional center" signed by the chief architect of Moscow, Sergei Kuznetsov. The scandalousness and vandalism of the decision taken lies in the height of the project: up to six floors inside the perimeter. Housing began to be built across the river from the Kremlin, opposite Cathedral Square and the Tsar's Palace, in a quarter of two-three-story buildings-monuments . The architect was Sergey Tchoban, a long-term partner of Sergey Kuznetsov in the Speech bureau. The first (and also the last) meeting of the so-called Public Council on Heritage under the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow took place surprisingly. It happened on a symbolic day - June 22. On the same day, the coordinators of Arkhnadzor tried to fight off the project with two votes. However, the head of the department, Aleksey Yemelyanov, expert Elena Solovyova, and the faction of members of the Scientific and Methodological Council of the Moscow City Heritage Site headed by Andrey Batalov, in silence from the developer's representative, explained how six floors equal "regeneration" Everyone hoped for a reaction from the Public Chamber, but its representatives, headed by Margarita Rusetskaya, said that they were "incompetent to make a decision." Since then, the Cultural Heritage Council has not met. And really, why is it necessary?
...In the fall of 2020, the "multifunctional residential center" became visible over the remains of demolished buildings. You can admire it, it looks like this.
Today, one block of the residential complex has been practically erected. But questions remained. They were asked to the President at the last meeting of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights by the editor-in-chief of the Keepers of Heritage and coordinator of the Arkhnadzor Konstantin Mikhailov. Our editors have at their disposal a transcript of this meeting. Here is a short excerpt from it.
Konstantin Mikhailov: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, I would like to touch upon the subject, which I call for myself “Views of the Kremlin”. If you had literally a few minutes to stroll along the edge of the Kremlin hill and look across the river at the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin, at Zamoskvorechye, you, I think, would immediately see that the landscape, which had not changed there for about 250 years before , has changed significantly over the past year. Right on the Sofiyskaya Embankment, in the block opposite the Kremlin, in the protected zone of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, just to the left of the British Embassy, a 5-6-storey building has been built, in which developers who have already obtained such permission from the city authorities are selling apartments with views of the Kremlin. This is the Kremlin's security zone, which, it would seem, is closely monitored. What can we say then about other protected zones? .. I have to remind you that the public council for the preservation of cultural heritage in Moscow, created on one of your instructions, has not met for about a year and a half, since the summer of 2018... Unfortunately, our federal legislation for protected zones is not provides for a direct ban on the construction of structures that exceed the dimensions of historical buildings on this site ... Therefore, I would ask you to instruct the Ministry of Culture to prepare a relevant bill, which would clearly spell out what can and cannot be done in the protected zones, and clearly establish a ban the fact that it is impossible to build in them higher than historical buildings , otherwise these security zones mean nothing and are not needed, and the Kremlin will gradually be furnished with such six-storey buildings, as can be seen on the Sofiyskaya embankment".
In addition, Konstantin Mikhailov suggested creating an archaeological museum-reserve on the Okhtinsky cape in St. Petersburg, rather than building an office complex for Gazpromneft there. He also made another important proposal - to toughen criminal penalties punishing the destruction of historical and cultural heritage. Let's remind: in the Criminal Code there are as many as three articles (243, 243.1 and 243.2), which provide for punishment for damage or destruction of cultural heritage sites. They practically don't work. According to statistics, only nine cases were initiated under one of these articles in five years (from 2013 to 2017). And no one was held accountable. The few criminal cases that are opened are often terminated either after the statute of limitations has expired, or the courts consider them insignificant. Konstantin Mikhailov proposed to consider the issue of increasing the severity of these articles and transferring jurisdiction to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: “Konstantin Petrovich, you see, you are asking to toughen responsibility for certain offenses, and other colleagues are asking to soften for others ... Each has its own truth, each has its own reasons. I will definitely look at this, I promise you, as well as other issues raised by you ... I will definitely talk with the deputies, with the Chairman of the State Duma, and with Marat Shakirzyanovich Khusnullin, who, in fact, is the initiator of this bill. The same applies to construction in the protected zones of Moscow - we will discuss it with the Mayor of Moscow Sobyanin Sergei Semenovich, and with the St. Petersburg leaders and owners of the land plot you mentioned, I know him well. We need to work it out simply, it’s hard for me to say right away where we’re going, but the idea, in my opinion, is very good”.
The fact that the problem of toughening criminal penalties for the destruction of historical heritage has reached the level of the president is certainly a plus. But Vladimir Putin's phrase "we will discuss with Sergei Semenovich" raises questions. The city rights activist raised issues under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities. One order of the president is enough to stop the barbarism. What does the mayor of Moscow have to do with it? Or development issues are now being resolved exclusively in the capital's mayor's office?
“How long will it take to take action? How many more victims must Moscow make to stop the barbarism? I think this requires not a single voice, even if addressed to the president, but the voices of all people who consider themselves representatives of culture, speak daily from TV screens and from high tribunes about the protection of Russian culture", - Konstantin Mikhailov told NI.
The President asked the town activist to wait. But what else is there to expect if the building has approached practically the Kremlin?