The grounds for new scandals are piling up. Construction is being carried out on a wetland, officially recognized by experts as unsuitable for this purpose. The development of a difficult territory has already turned into multibillion-dollar unforeseen budgetary expenses. As the investigation of Octagon shows, the general contractor of the Universiade Dmitry Pumpyansky continues to resolve all disputes in his favor.
Holiday at your own expense
The International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced the venue for the XXXII World Summer Universiade at its meeting on July 2, 2019. The FISU verdict compensated for the image losses of the local authorities, which had previously lost tenders for organizing the international exhibitions Expo 2020 and Expo 2025 in Yekaterinburg. A major sporting event promises significant financial investments in the region.
The estimated amount of investments in the preparation of the XXXII World Summer Universiade has changed several times. And each new estimate became more and more unprofitable for Yekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk region.
During the approval of the application book, an agreement was reached on financing the project in the amount of about 79 billion rubles. 53 billion rubles of this amount were to come from the federal budget, about 14 billion from the regional. The rest is expected from sponsors of student sports.
However, the crisis caused by the pandemic forced to change financial plans.
In June 2020, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a federal program to prepare for the games. The volume of the estimate fell to 58.5 billion rubles.
The contribution to the federal treasury has especially decreased - to 13.8 billion, and at the same time the burden on the regional budget has increased - to 28.5 billion rubles. The federal plan includes measures for the construction, repair and preparation of 41 facilities. The most significant amount was proposed to be allocated for the construction of the Universiade village - 15.9 billion rubles.
The Sverdlovsk government did not agree with the proposal of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and in August approved its own program of preparation for the games. The amount of funding for the Universiade increased to 64.7 billion rubles. At the same time, the share of federal co-financing decreased to 10.9 billion, and the regional one - increased to 34 billion. However, the Sverdlovsk authorities offered the federals to compensate for part of the expenses incurred by the region after the presentation of positive conclusions of the state examination and supporting documents. The RF Ministry of Finance has not yet given an official response to the request of the residents of Sverdlovsk.
Earlier, on May 8, 2020, by order of the Government of the Russian Federation, it was determined that state procurement of goods and services in preparation for the games would be carried out by the State Institution "Capital Construction Department of the Sverdlovsk Region", and Sinara-Development was appointed their sole executor.
Sinara-Development received the right to involve other contractors in the implementation of the project, provided that it independently masters at least 30 percent of the funding allocated for the preparation for the Universiade. At the same time, the legislation guarantees payment of "Sinara-Development" commission in the amount of 3-5 percent of the volume of work performed by third-party organizations.
How many counted, received so much
Another success of Pumpyansky's team was gaining control over the ANO Directorate for the Construction of Universiade-2023 Facilities. The head of this structure was Danil Znachkov, who previously worked as the general director of Sinara-Development-Project and the deputy general director - head of the customer service at Sinara-Development. Previously, he coordinated a major construction project for Pumpyansky for the reconstruction of the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.
The Directorate is entrusted with two important functions. Firstly, extra-budgetary funds for the implementation of the project will pass through it. Secondly, it organizes the preparation of design estimates for the key Universiade facilities (hostels, community center, medical center, Water Sports Palace, training field and tennis center).
According to the regional program of preparation for the games, the organization will receive a subsidy for these works in the amount of 4 billion 202 million rubles. The validity of the amount raises questions from market participants. For comparison: in 2015, Rusgrad developed and passed through the state examination the design estimates for the 41,600 square meters Yekaterinburg-Expo congress center located on the same site for only 70 million rubles.
Thus, Pumpyansky's structures took control of the entire financial chain - from determining the volume and cost of work to distributing profits.
Until recently, only the deputy director of the capital construction department of the Sverdlovsk region, Evgeny Arkhipov, was not included in the sphere of influence of the Pumpyansky team. He took office in March 2020 to take control of public procurement for the Universiade - as the former vice-mayor of Yekaterinburg, Arkhipov is well aware of the peculiarities of the construction market and the price situation in the city. However, in early August, the ex-official unexpectedly resigned. According to unofficial information, the reason for the dismissal was disagreement with the policy of financing the project.
Five million cubic meters of swamp
The site chosen for the Universiade village is one of the most difficult to build in Yekaterinburg. It is described in most detail in the project for planning and land surveying approved by the Yekaterinburg administration in December 2019.
The experts declared the wetlands unsuitable for use and not subject to restoration. “For the implementation of any construction in this area, it is necessary to provide for the most complex measures for the engineering preparation of the territory,” the document says.
The main activity for preparing the site for construction was the removal of a layer of peat and sapropel with a thickness of 1.5 to 5 meters and its replacement with more than 5 million cubic meters of rocky soil. Additional - the organization of a complex drainage system.
Sinara only partially complied with the recommendations. In November 2019, the customer, Sinara-Development-Project, hired Trest Uraltranspetsstroy as a contractor for the removal of 1,532,240 cubic meters of sapropel and weak soils from the territory of the future Universiade village, followed by strengthening the site with 1,716,490 cubic meters of rock. The contract documentation says that this is only the first stage of the joint project with Sinara - it was completed in July. The timing of the start of the second stage has not yet been announced.
According to an expert familiar with the site, current legislation does not oblige to carry out a full study of the hydrogeological structure and preparation of a complex territory before starting construction. For example, during the construction of the nearby buildings of the Yekaterinburg-Expo exhibition center in the 2000s, the developer drilled in search of groundwater and soft soils only those areas to which there was access. Facing in the future with unregistered flooded areas at the start, he made changes to the construction project, asking the state expert to increase the total cost of work.
The price has risen even before its approval
The first to enter the construction site of the future village was the developer LSR. Real Estate-Ural ". The contractor selected by Sinara-Development will erect a three-section building with an area of 240 thousand square meters, which, according to the plan, will be able to accommodate 1,700 athletes. The regional government approved the financing of these works in the amount of 11 billion 538 million rubles. Whether this amount corresponds to the one specified in the contract is not reported.
The cost of the second facility on which work will begin in the near future - the Water Sports Palace - began to grow even before its approval.
In the Universiade-2023 application book presented last summer, it was said that it would cost 4.5 billion rubles. In the comprehensive program approved by the Sverdlovsk government on August 20, 2020, the construction of the palace was already estimated at 6 billion 821 million rubles.
It is curious that on August 18 - two days before the entry into force of the government program - Sinara-Development signed an agreement with Atomstroykompleks-Construction LLC to engage him as a contractor. The contract value is already 9 billion 999 million rubles. Why this amount turned out to be more than the one included in the government budget is not explained.
The construction project was prepared 12 years ago
An incomprehensible situation has developed around the construction documentation for the Water Sports Palace. The author of the sketch for the future sports facility was the Archinform architectural bureau, headed by Timur Abdullaev, the former chief architect of Yekaterinburg. Information about who exactly is the developer of the design and estimate documentation and whether it passed the state examination has not been officially published.
Meanwhile, the design and estimate documentation for the building of the Water Sports Palace, similar in many parameters, was prepared back in 2008 by the production and technical department of the construction committee of the Yekaterinburg administration.
Representatives of the city authorities planned to place it at the intersection of Shchorsa and Mashinnaya streets directly near the entrance to the Mayakovsky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, but could not find an investor. In 2009 prices, the construction cost was 2.5 billion rubles. In 2015 prices - about 3 billion rubles (three times lower than the cost of the contract concluded with Atomstroykompleks). The former chief architect of the mayor's office, Timur Abdullaev, was considered one of the lobbyists for the project.
A source in the mayor's office of Yekaterinburg explained to Octagon that over the next years the developed project was not submitted to the archive. On its basis, within three months, using a simplified procedure, it was possible to create a more relevant document, adapted to any construction site.
- I think that the developments made by the administration of Yekaterinburg were partially used by Sinara. Why reinvent the wheel a second time when there is no time to invent it? - explained the interlocutor of "Octagon".
A representative of the construction industry, who wished to remain anonymous, added that the authorities and the developers working with them resort to manipulating design and estimate documentation when the goal is to obtain additional funds from the budget.
- The following scheme is the most popular. The general contractor associated with officials receives money from the budget for the development of documentation, after which he finds many legitimate reasons not to start construction. After some time, the documentation becomes outdated and requires revision. To do this, the general contractor re-requests budget funding for the development of a new project, in fact, only slightly adapting the previous version.
The bowls of patience overflowed
The most constructively complex and expensive elements of the Water Sports Palace will be the bowls of three swimming pools - jumping (25 meters long), sports and training (both 50 meters long). According to one of the businessmen participating in the preparations for the Universiade-2023, during preliminary agreements, an agreement was reached to place an order for the manufacture of these bowls and elements of the frame of the palace building to the Nizhniy Tagil plant of metal structures.
The choice seemed logical. The Sverdlovsk enterprise is one of the twenty largest manufacturers of metal structures in Russia and has experience in participating in large-scale projects.
In particular, in the early 1980s, in preparation for the Olympics, it supplied unique products for the construction of the Izmailovo hotel and a cycle track in Krylatskoye, and in the 90s for the Okhotny Ryad shopping center on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow. Among the latest achievements of the plant - participation in the reconstruction of the main terminal of Pulkovo airport, the national pavilion of Kazakhstan at the exhibition "Astana-Expo-2017" and "Lakhta-center" in St. Petersburg.
However, Dmitry Pumpyansky's entourage did not fulfill the agreement - the lucrative order with a high degree of probability will go to the enterprises "Kurganstalmost" and "Tyumenstalmost". The first of them in 2016-2017 was already a contractor for Sinara-Development - it manufactured and shipped more than 6,800 tons of metal structures for the reconstruction of the Yekaterinburg Arena stadium for the World Cup games.
Tyumen and Kurgan enterprises also cooperate with the Sinara group of companies within the framework of the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway. The Sinara Transport Machines holding supplies locomotives of its own production for the implementation of the northern project, and its two counterparties supply bridge and other structures.
Prices have skyrocketed before
The cost of the reconstruction of the Yekaterinburg Arena stadium, in which Sinara Development acted as the general contractor, also grew at a faster pace. In September 2014, Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev promised that 6 billion rubles would be enough to complete the work. In January 2015, General Director of the Sinara Group, Mikhail Khodorovsky, announced that the cost of the reconstruction would rise to 8 billion rubles. In July 2015, Valentin Gripas, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Sverdlovsk Region Government, announced the final amount of the project - 12.7 billion rubles.
But this example cannot be compared with the rate at which the price of the third Sverdlovsk project "Sinara-Development" - the congress hall of the international exhibition center "Yekaterinburg-Expo". The building with an area of 41 thousand square meters was supposed to accommodate a concert hall with an area of just over 2000 square meters with 4000 seats, a restaurant and 10 meeting rooms. It was expected that the congress hall will meet the requirements for the performance of such world stars as Madonna and Sting, will be able to host large events, international conferences and strategic sessions.
Before the start of work in 2015, representatives of the Rusgrad company that ordered the development of the construction project gathered organizers of entertainment events, exhibitions and business forums in order to brainstorm the most convenient structure of the building's interior. In particular, on their recommendation, a rotating stage, the most comfortable backstage space and walls providing the necessary acoustics were provided in the building.
The preparation of the documentation was entrusted to the architectural bureau R1 (Yekaterinburg) and Twelve Architects & Masterplanners (London). Initially, the project was estimated at 1.8 billion rubles. But the owner of Rusgrad, Mirdagayan Absalyamov, in principle did not name this amount, stating that he would agree with any value that the state examination announced. The latter amounted to 3.36 billion rubles.
Absalyamov received verbal guarantees from the leaders of the Sverdlovsk government that he would become the general contractor. But in June 2017, regional officials changed their mind, giving the project to Sinara-Development for execution.
Well, the record holder in terms of the rate of rise in construction costs - another project given by Sinara-Development - the congress hall of the Yekaterinburg-Expo international exhibition center.
Following this, in October 2018, a decision was made to increase the cost of the project to 6.2 billion rubles, almost twice. The rise in price was explained by the need to improve the site for holding the global summit of production and industrialization GMIS-2019 on it in 2019. One of the new requirements was the availability of rooms for translators, meeting rooms and enhanced security for guests. Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the summit that opened in the congress hall.
According to representatives of organizations involved in concert activities, after changing the design of the building, many expensive solutions were excluded from it, which made it less comfortable to hold entertainment events in it.
However, this revaluation was not the last.
The final budget costs by the time the building was opened in June 2019 amounted to 9.6 billion rubles.
One of the reasons for the rise in cost estimates could be the construction of long contracting chains. Sinara-Development attracted AstraStroyInvest LLC, affiliated with it, to perform the work (the company's beneficiary is Dmitry Pumpyansky's brother Alexander Pumpyansky). The latter, in turn, distributed subcontracts to smaller performers. In some cases, subcontracted chains were stretched by 5-7 links.
According to Octagon's sources, the scheme involving a significant number of subcontractors attracted the attention of the security officials, who asked Sinara-Development to provide documents confirming its legality. The security forces are also collecting information about the construction of the Universiade village that has begun in order to prevent any possibility of misuse of budget funds during the work.