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Vladimir Putin chairs conference over Moscow enlargement

August 15, 2012, 11:03 UTC+3
The conference was held behind closed doors
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MOSCOW, August 15 (Itar-Tass) — President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday chaired the first conference over future enlargement of Moscow. The conference was held behind closed doors. Experts explain it by problems whose number in this expensive project is so high that the authorities are bound to have image losses.

The RBK Daily reminds that Vladimir Putin last and only comment on Moscow's enlargement was recorded at a lesson at a Podolsk school on September 1, 2011. At that time, he supported Dmitry Medvedev's proposal, noting that "the city could no longer develop within its current borders." However he said nothing about the idea to move officials to new areas. On Tuesday, the authorities could no longer keep silent about moving, and yet, the head of state was not specific. City construction sector officials were hoping that the deadlocked project would get going after the conference. 

The Kommersant reminded that Dmitry Medvedev, in the capacity of president, announced at the Petersburg economic forum last year Moscow's enlargement plans, with the view of moving federal government bodies beyond the city's current borders. In about a month, the enlargement option was prepared and nearly endorsed. President Medvedev ordered all the federal bodies to come up with their ideas regarding the future relocation by July 9, 2012. A month ago, government bodies reported one after another that they had completed the task.

However, Vladimir Putin noted on Tuesday that he had gathered the conference to get a general idea about the progress in the area. The president explained that the Moscow enlargement project was not merely relocation of administrative bodies from the center of the city. "It includes many /other/ projects, he noted demanding that the main criterion for all the projects be "comfort and quality of life for Muscovites."

Most importantly, all the funding for the development of new areas should be under the toughest control, Putin said, "we need a clear and precise understanding how much it will cost," he stated. Within the next few years, Russia is to complete expensive projects: the APEC summit in the Primorye Territory, the World Universiade in Kazan and the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

After Vladimir Putin's opening remarks, the conference was held in camera, because "too many problems have not been settled yet, including those between the Moscow city and regional authorities," political scientists Alexander Kynev told the newspaper. Kynev believes that a public discussion of these problems just a year after the announcement of the project "would imply inevitable image losses both for the Moscow and regional authorities and the federal government."

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