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Russian Mega Projects

Published: May 23, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • Expected to cost $20 billion, the 2018 World Cup will see matches played in stadiums such as Kazan Arena.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russia has a history of attempting to use vast infrastructure mega-projects to boost its economy. The

St. Petersburg Times looked at some past, present and future highlights of Russia’s propensity to dream big.

Past

Winter Olympics, Sochi, 2014

Price tag: $51 billion

A matter of national pride and a great image booster, the Sochi Olympics were as smooth as could be sports-wise — but less so financially. Whistleblowers spoke of embezzlement reaching up to 50 percent of the Games’ budget, though officials denied such claims. Three months after the Games, neither businesses nor the state have much use for the Olympic venues, and local administration and hoteliers admitted the city will struggle to make full use of the infrastructure constructed for the event. Ironically, Russia’s public relations gains were almost immediately nullified by Russia’s meddling in Ukraine’s political crisis, while the newly annexed Crimean peninsula will now compete with Sochi for tourists and state support.

Present

World Cup, 2018

Where: 12 Russian cities.

Price tag: $20 billion

The football fiesta is a step up from previous sporting mega-projects in Russia, which were concentrated around a single location. Twelve Russian cities will host World Cup matches in 2018. The building spree could do a lot for the transportation and hotel industries, but mega-projects have a tendency to exceed the initial price tag — Sochi was originally billed at $12 billion, implying that World Cup costs could spiral as high as $80 billion. Brazilians actually rioted recently against the high costs of hosting the 2014 World Cup, and it remains to be seen whether Russians would be more enthusiastic about the sport than football-mad Brazil.

Future

Nuclear Power Plant

Where: Hanhikivi, Finland.

Completion date: 2024.

Price tag: $8.4 billion

The most expensive item on the list of seven mega-projects currently being considered for financing from Russia’s oil-revenue funded piggy-bank, the National Welfare Fund, the plan would see Russia’s state-run Rosatom corporation build a nuclear power plant in Finland, an energy-strapped nation that was the first in the world to commission a new nuclear plant after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The payback period for Rosatom is estimated at about 20 years.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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