Report on development of Minsk
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report on the development of the city of Minsk on 6 May.
The meeting was also attended by Minks Mayor Vladimir Kukharev, Belarus President’s Aide – Inspector for Minsk Aleksandr Barsukov, as well as Natalya Kochanova and Ivan Kubrakov.
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an instruction to find the final solutions to a number of unfinished construction projects and frozen facilities in Minsk downtown.
Among such unfinished construction projects Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the Gazprom Center on the site of the former Moskovsky bus station.
"What is that eyesore? This is a Gazprom facility. What's the situation there? Is there still no progress... Although, as I was informed, they pay huge penalties. But it's not about penalties. It is about a fenced construction site in the center of Minsk, along the main avenue," the head of state stressed.
Another delayed construction project is the multifunctional hotel and business complex "Magnet Minsk". The project is being implemented by the Iranian company Kayson. "It's a long-dragging issue. Here are such projects," the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned the Shanter Hill hotel and business complex on Pobediteley Avenue. "True, the construction has been completed. It stands there, a neat building," the head of state said.
The construction of the complex began in 2016 with the participation of a Chinese company as a general contractor. Currently, the customer for the project is the Belarusian company Navanep, with Interservis before it.
"What are we going to do with this facility? In a word, we need to make decisions," the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it is unacceptable to have such long-term construction and frozen projects in the center of Minsk and urged to quickly find a solution: "They need to make decisions fast or we will transfer these assets into state ownership as we did with many facilities that stood unfinished or frozen. We cannot allow such eyesores in the city center.”
The head of state noted that Vladimir Kukharev has been the mayor of Minsk for two years, but it feels like he has been in position for five years. "Therefore, it is time to compare notes and discuss the problems of the city today," the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded to expedite the implementation of the project to construct the Northern Waterfront experimental multifunctional complex in Minsk.
“You understand that if this object was under construction, we would not even have enough construction capacity in Minsk to build it. We have to accelerate it. It is a very profitable project for us,” stressed the Belarusian leader.
According to Minsk Mayor Vladimir Kukharev, the project envisages some Br10 billion in investments.
“At that time it was $4 billion. This is a huge project. We can involve all our builders for up to five years,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The head of state believes that Minsk should be an example for other regions of the country in terms of urban development and local self-government. He recalled that the improvement of local self-government in Minsk had already been discussed earlier. Back then the President had demanded that Minsk should set an example for others in this regard. “I would like to hear your assessments of the work of municipal administration and their plans,” the Belarusian leader added.
The agenda of the meeting featured municipal development projects. “Minsk is the face of the country, and it should set an example for other regions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The President said he was unhappy with the pace of urban development and demanded to intensify the work. “Developing two-three locations is not an adequate pace. Everyone should get involved in the work. We have nine heads of district administrations - let them pool resources, involve local self-governments, housing and utility services, so that Minsk residents will be proud of their city,” the head of state said.
Another topic raised by the President was the state of things in healthcare. It was noted that earlier Minsk lagged behind other regions in terms of certain indicators, including infrastructure and accessibility of medical care. The head of state also asked about the epidemiological situation in Minsk, namely the number of COVID-19 cases and the dynamics. The officials in charge told the President that the number of coronavirus cases in Minsk is declining, it is not as high as when the capital city was ahead of other regions in terms of the COVID-19 cases.
The head of state raised an important issue of maintaining law and order in the capital city. “We must pay special attention to this. Unfortunately, Minsk was not up to par in 2020. But this is a lesson for us that shows in which direction we need to go,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President also spoke about recruitment. “Naturally, personnel is all important. What has changed in terms of personnel selection after you were appointed to this position two years ago?” the Belarusian leader asked addressing Vladimir Kukharev, the mayor of Minsk. “Let’s be frank. The municipal administration was not on top when it came to personnel, patriotism and reliability. What has changed?” the President asked.
Aleksandr Lukashenko addressed a number of questions to Presidential Aide - Inspector for Minsk Aleksandr Barsukov and President’s representatives Natalya Kochanova and Ivan Kubrakov. “I warned you, the minister of internal affairs and the aide: personnel issues should remain a top priority,” the President said. “There should be no mistakes. I am not saying that you should crack down on people and so on. But, if people are not fit for their jobs in pubic administration, they should not be there. Those who want to do something good for the country and Minsk, are most welcome,” the President said.
In addition, Aleksandr Lukashenko asked how communication between the city authorities and the central government is maintained and whether there are any problems in this regard. “Do you have any problems with the government? Maybe there are some misunderstandings? Natalya Kochanova should have settled all the issues as the highest-level official, the contact person of the Minsk City Council and the government. We try to cater to all the city’s needs, but perhaps some problems remain,” the Belarusian leader said.