MOSCOW, May 17 (Itar-Tass) - The construction of a helicopter pad in the Kremlin cost about 200 million roubles, the Kremlin chief property manager, Vladimir Kozhin, told journalist on Friday.
“In all, about 200 million roubles were spent to finance all construction stages, including land survey works, modeling and landscaping. Eighteen trees and eight bushes were re-planted to another sector of the Kremlin’s Tainitsky Garden, and ss many as 54 new fir-trees and thujas were planed. The helicopter pad was equipped with state-of-the-art weather forecasting and navigation tools,” he noted.
According to Kozhin, there had been a number of auxiliary wooden structures at the site before the helicopter pad was built. “Construction works revealed an unpleasant surprise - a drainage system was organized at the foot of the Kremlin hill in the 1970s. In the 1990s, it went out of order and the Kremlin walls periodically got wet. As a matter of fact, an underground slough formed here. It was done away with, with about 12,000 cubic meters of bogged soil removed from here,” he said.
“It was decided to continue lad survey works to examine all the sections of the Kremlin wall,” Kozhin stressed.
On Wednesday, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass that President Vladimir Putin planned to use a helicopter instead of a motor car to get to his Kremlin office. “A helicopter pad in the Kremlin is ready, and the president will use it as soon as reasonable practicable,” he said. According to the press secretary, both Putin and Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin practiced helicopter use to reach their Moscow residence. “At that time, helicopters landed at the Ivanovskaya pad, where there are too many tourists and officials,” he said. Moreover, there was a danger to the historical buildings on the territory of the Kremlin.
“Now, a new helicopter pad has been built in the Kremlin (in the Tainitsky Garden). Its location was chosen to avoid any harm to the architectural monuments, even in case of the use of heavy machines,” Peskov noted. In his words, a “scientific approach” was applied to avoid negative impacts on the palaces and churches. Experts made numerous test flights to try takeoff and landings in various conditions.
According to Peskov, the president will use a Russia-made Mi-8 helicopter. “The president will use a helicopter as soon as an opportunity presents itself,” he noted. The president has opted for a helicopter in order not to create problems for Moscow’s traffic, Peskov stressed. However, he noted, Putin’s movements about the city had posed no serious traffic problems.
“Two motorcades [of the president and the prime minister], or even four motorcades, when Moscow welcomes foreign leaders, never stalls traffic, experts say traffic suspension to let motorcades leads only to temporary difficulties,” the press secretary noted.