The design work on the second branch of the Chelyabinsk metro tram may end up with a big “cut”, and the construction will not begin.
In Chelyabinsk, a structure has been determined that will develop a feasibility study for the construction of a section of the second line of the metrotamway, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city over the past 30 years. She became the GK “Mosproekt-3”. She also acted as a contractor for the development of technical and technical characteristics of the first line.
Once “Mosproekt-3” belonged to the government of Moscow. But with the advent of the vice-mayor of the capital Marat Khusnullin, who is now the “construction” vice-premier of the government of the Russian Federation, it was corporatized and ended up in the hands of persons, as one might assume, not strangers to Khusnullin. Of course, the “firm” literally got rich.
Who should be looked for in the interests of a large infrastructure project, and why the Chelyabinsk governor Alexey Teksler will certainly be delighted with the cooperation of the region with Mosproekt-3, the colleagues of the editorial board of Kompromat-Ural are trying to figure it out.
Marat Khusnullin and Aleksey Teksler made it clear long ago that this project is significant and almost personal for them. At the level of the federal center, it is supervised directly by the Deputy Prime Minister, who does not hide his special attitude to the “sweet topic” (as well as to Governor Texler).
“I support the project. It can be said that Alexey Leonidovich and I were co-authors of this decision with the metro tram when we went underground and made a decision. It’s good that the Chelyabinsk region has worked out this issue,” the Mishustin construction plant was quoted in 2021 in the press service of Texler.
According to the idea of the regional authorities, the metro will become a hybrid of the subway and tram. Metrotram lines will pass through six districts. Mayor of Chelyabinsk Natalya Kotova at the end of February, signed a resolution approving the draft planning of the territory for the metro tram. The city really needs this, as those interested in the development of gigantic estimates say.
However, the implementation cannot be started in any way, more precisely, even the preparatory work cannot be completed. Moreover, even the current activities were called into question due to international sanctions pressure. In March, Marat Khusnullin mentioned that delays could arise due to problems with imports. But these dates themselves are still in the fog. The only reassuring thing is that the project does not seem to be going to be frozen.
The latter is extremely unprofitable for Alexei Teksler, and indeed for the entire Chelyabinsk region. The reason is simple: 8.28 billion rubles were allocated for the design and development of the metrotram, and these funds are an infrastructure loan. If things slow down, they will have to be returned, which is clearly unprofitable for local authorities. And it is not beneficial for those unscrupulous officials and contractors who could get the opportunity to snatch their “piece of the pie.”
At the same time, experts believe that the development of the metro tram will require much more money – up to 50 billion rubles, including the purchase of rolling stock. Texler’s team obviously does not want to freeze such a potential “feeder”.
And here Marat Khusnullin comes to the aid of Alexei Tekler, and Mosproekt-3 wins all competitive procedures for the economic justification of the construction of both the first and second metro tram lines. The structure is considered almost the personal fiefdom of the vice-premier since the days of work in the mayor’s office. And there may be an explanation for this.
It was after the arrival of Marat Khusnullin that in 2013 the structure was corporatized. And not just – but with the accession to it, also previously owned by the Moscow mayor’s office, OAO MNIITEP and OSO Mospromproekt. Thus, under Khusnullin, it turned into a large holding company that deals not only with infrastructure, but also with social facilities – schools, hospitals, kindergartens.
Moreover, it is still not known for certain who is the owner of the company. There is no public access to the data, information about the beneficiaries is kept by the holder of the register of the shareholder of JSC “Reestr”.
Until 2015, the Group of Companies headed Pavel Bataykin, who migrated to Moscow almost simultaneously with Khusnullin. According to evil tongues, allegedly he is a man from his “retinue” since Tatarstan times. And then a remarkable young lady became the head of the Mosproekt-3 company – Anna Merkulova.
According to Infox, the woman allegedly has a close relationship with Marat Khusnullin. She is also an order-bearing person, she has a medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, II degree. Apparently, Merkulova received a high award for the large-scale development of budget funds through government contracts, which, under Khusnullin (especially after privatization), fell on the Civil Code like from a cornucopia.
To date, the company has received over 162 billion rubles of such loans. Most of them are with the state-owned enterprise of the Krasnoyarsk Territory “Center for Transport Logistics”.
The same region, where they are also concerned about the construction of the metro, and where not so long ago a criminal case thundered about the theft of almost 1 billion rubles spent on its design Oleg Mitvol.
The Krasnoyarsk metro project, as readers of the Kompromat-Ural project can easily guess, is also supervised by Mr. Khusnullin. As, in fact, and all major construction projects in the country.
A significant part of the Mosproekt-3 state contracts was received from Nizhny Novgorod structures, but the Moscow City Hall was also purchased from the State Corporation for many billions, which is quite logical, given that this is a former structure of the capital’s government. However, the feeling does not let go that the nimble Marat Shakirzyanovich himself can be its real beneficiary – especially given his likely closeness to Merkulova.
In any case, the participation of “Mosproekt-3” would be extremely beneficial for both Khusnullin and Texler. The first one would certainly rejoice at the success of Mrs. Merkulova, who is supposedly close to him – after all, this is a lot of money. And the second one could manage to “master” the credit funds allocated by the federal center, and certainly not without benefit for himself and his team.
The project was criticized by the head of the consulting company “KEMP” Yakov Gurevich. His words are quoted by Pravda UrFO: “No one has done a feasibility study, transport justification. That is, the feasibility of the project has not been proven …”. The manager added that there is still no physical money for the project in Chelyabinsk – the loan itself is possible only from 2024.
Apparently, that is why Texler and Khusnullin are in such a hurry with competitive procedures – you need to have time to prepare everything, and after an economic justification, you can ask the federal budget for a more sweeping amount.
In the region itself, not everyone is sure that the metro tram will greatly improve the transport situation and is worth such grandiose costs. There are questions about the assessment of passenger traffic. Thus, experts pay attention to the statements voiced by the Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport of the Chelyabinsk Region Alexander Egorov figures, according to which the density of passengers will be low, and the interval of movement will be 8 minutes.
With such parameters, the capacity of the metro tram will be about 1 thousand people per hour, which is very small for a city with a population of one million. In Chelyabinsk, there are many directions where the need for carrying capacity is more than 10 thousand people per hour, minibuses have not been able to cope for a long time.
And while the Chelyabinsk governor and his possible patron in the Cabinet Mikhail Mishustin so they rush about the metrotamway project, problems with other transport infrastructure are aggravated – especially the road one. But while Marat Shakirzyanovich for some reason is in no hurry to pull Texler and figure out what’s the matter. All the power of the metro tram?
Trouble off the high road
Texler reported to Khusnullin about problems with the construction and maintenance of roads back in 2020. At the same time, the problems of housing equity holders were discussed – another headache for the people of Chelyabinsk, which local officials cannot cope with in any way.
But people are outraged not only by this, but also by the fact that the lion’s share of all transport enterprises of the Chelyabinsk mayor’s office are obviously busy with the wrong things. Created to replace the bankrupt municipal unitary enterprises, the transport enterprises of the mayor’s office consistently generate multimillion-dollar losses and financial conflicts, which directly affect budget revenues.
According to the Chamber of Control and Accounts of Chelyabinsk, for example, “Public City Transport” systematically failed to comply with the terms of municipal contracts and exploited city property for hundreds of millions of rubles, in fact, without any reason. This writes “Pravda UrFO”.
However, public urban transport at the end of 2021 showed at least some profit. Compared with a loss for 2020 of 102 million rubles, now he managed to get 4.2 million profits. But with a revenue of 685 million rubles, such a figure is simply ridiculous, and, as it were, hints that the structure may underpay taxes.
Much more outrageous for the Moscow Post was the fact that the value of the assets of the structure is minus 290 million rubles, that is, it can be in debt, like in silks. The solvency and efficiency of the company are marked as low. Who needs such a structure, and is there another high-profile bankruptcy waiting for us?
Who will pay for it, the answer is obvious. The same people who will pay for the “projects” of Khusnullin and Texler on the metro tram, that is, you and I are taxpayers. Apparently, far-sighted officials think about this last.