The Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Alexander Bastrykin, was not allowed to enter the northern alluvium of Vasilievsky Island, but on the second attempt, after being “reinforced” by the OMON, he managed to get into the territory where the LSR Group is working. As a result, criminal cases were initiated on violation of environmental protection rules, as well as on abuse of authority. Local residents have been protesting against the construction of the alluvium for several years.
Last Sunday, May 14, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Alexander Bastrykin, made an attempt to enter the facility of the LSR Group – the northern alluvium on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg. He spent the past week in the northern capital, participating in the International Legal Forum, and, apparently, decided to personally respond to numerous complaints from St. Petersburg residents regarding the construction of this facility. The guards, probably following the instructions, refused to let Bastrykin, who appeared in civilian clothes and unaccompanied, through the checkpoint and demanded that he, as a stranger, leave the security zone. According to Fontanka, the general of justice showed them his official ID, but it did not make the proper impression on the security officers: one of them asked: “So what?”. Bastrykin left, but returned to the checkpoint an hour later – no longer alone, but with a support group represented by a detachment of OMON. This time there were no formalities – the guards did not ask the riot police for documents, and the chairman of the Investigative Committee was able to enter the construction site on the second attempt and personally inspect the object. Subsequently, the publication clarified in its Telegram channel that the employees of the Russian Guard were called by the private security companies themselves, and Bastrykin allegedly did not provide documentary evidence of his identity to the guards.
three to one
In the evening of the same day, it became known that Bastrykin had signed a decree on the initiation of a criminal case under article 246 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on violation of environmental protection rules in the course of work. By the way, this is the second such case – the first, under the same article, initiated a week ago, was canceled by the decision of the prosecutor’s office. The new case has not yet been approved by the supervisory authority, but a forensic environmental examination has been appointed within it, which means that all work should be temporarily suspended. The investigation involved investigators and forensic specialists from the central office of the department, as well as experts from the forensic center of the RF IC.
It was not limited to one criminal case. On the evening of March 14, it became known that the guards who refused to let Bastrykin into the territory of the northern alluvium were accused of abuse of authority (Article 203 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Also, Smolny officials, who coordinated the work on alluvium, were accused of exceeding their official powers. In addition, Bastrykin instructed to check the developer for compliance with the requirements of migration legislation.
The LSR Group reacted to the situation. As stated in the press service of the developer, in the process of raising elevations in the northern part of Vasilyevsky Island, the company was repeatedly checked by supervisory authorities, including the Investigative Committee, and the organization provided all the necessary documents.
LSR Group: “The Company continues to cooperate with auditors and act strictly within the legal framework. Recall that before the start of work, all the necessary stages were carried out: a project was developed, public hearings were held and a state environmental review was passed, which issued a positive conclusion.”
In 2020, LSR Group received the right to carry out work on alluvium in the northern part of Vasilevsky Island under a sublease agreement with Terra Nova. It cost her almost 3 billion rubles. Initially, the work was planned on an area of 143 hectares, but subsequently grew to 163 hectares. There are going to build about 875 thousand “squares” of housing.
According to the development project, it is obvious that a kind of analogue of Murino will appear here – not the most pleasant place in terms of aesthetics and infrastructure. Residential areas with high-rise buildings are unlikely to decorate the face of Vasilyevsky Island, and this was recognized by the City Planning Council of St. Petersburg. True, this did not prevent the development sketch from being approved: 19 members of the council voted in favor, 11 against.
In 2022, LSR Group began work on the territory allocated for construction. Now there is an engineering preparation of the site for future development. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2025, after which construction will start.
Local residents strongly oppose this project. Firstly, they are not satisfied with the imbalance of housing and social infrastructure – it is already obvious that there are not enough schools, kindergartens and medical facilities in the new district. Secondly, Petersburgers do not want to lose the sandy beach on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Thirdly, people are not satisfied with the noise at night.
The St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists, which also objects to the construction, tried to approach from the other side, believing that the alluvium would negatively affect the environment when wastewater was discharged. At the moment, the Kuibyshevsky District Court is considering a case with a demand to cancel the positive conclusion of the state expert examination and the order of Rosprirodnadzor on the approval of a positive conclusion on project documentation.
According to the position of the Investigative Committee, the employees of the developer violated the law “by arranging the foundation with sandy soils, erecting temporary bank protection of the slope type.” According to the department, their actions can lead to serious consequences for the environment – in particular, to the dispersion of pollutants. As a result, this can result in harm to the health of local residents if the maximum permissible concentration of hazardous substances in the air is exceeded. Now it remains to wait for the results of the forensic environmental examination.
It is worth noting that Bastrykin had previously unexpectedly visited problematic facilities in St. Petersburg. In particular, he similarly appeared at the Saltykova mansion on Bolshaya Morskaya and talked with the leadership of the Northern Land Company, which was engaged in adapting the mansion into a hotel, having received the go-ahead from Smolny. By the way, in September 2022, this building was recognized as material evidence in a criminal case on the demolition of monuments in the Northern capital. The story is a bit like the situation with the northern alluvium of Vasilyevsky Island – the developer, as in this case, emphasized that he had all the necessary documents and permissions, and the prosecutor’s office canceled the criminal case, but Bastrykin ordered to reopen it. As a result, the court nevertheless sided with the defenders of the historical heritage of the city, who won the court in a lawsuit to invalidate the building permit.