Visit to residential estate Mikhalovo-2 in Minsk

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The volume of construction, including housing construction, in Minsk shall be reduced. It is necessary to involve unused land plots, develop the fund of rented housing and satellite towns. These issues were discussed when Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the emerging residential estate Mikhalovo-2 in Minsk on 24 October.

The head of state’s tour of a new house in Minsk’s residential estate Mikhalovo-2, which is under construction, was timed to the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Belarus President Security Service. The house will accommodate families of Belarus president security personnel. Aleksandr Lukashenko was made familiar with the layout of the residential house, talked to families of Belarus president security personnel.

On the whole, half of the new houses in Mikhalovo 2 are meant for military personnel and officers of other power-wielding agencies. The other half is designated for people in need of better homes in Minsk, including large families.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “My instruction to reduce construction in Minsk on the whole and home construction remains unchanged. It has to be reduced”.

Yet according to the President, it does not mean that Minsk will be frozen within limits of the Minsk ring road, with nothing ever built. “Some homes will be built but don’t expect that you will get farmlands or forest lands tomorrow,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that it is necessary to polish Minsk little by little, explore and accomplish the areas, which due to their terrain and location are not utilized and yet cannot be used for agricultural purposes. “Make plans for the areas where one cannot plough or seed,” the head of state told the Minsk Mayor. “It is necessary to utilize these places, accomplish them, create parks and recreation zones. We cannot put people into ‘concrete sacks’ without any greenery or grass”.

At the same time Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed it is inadmissible to build homes extremely densely, causing justified complaints of citizens. “Some areas may be packed tighter, but you mustn’t crowd people too much so that they are unable to go outside,” said the Belarusian leader.

The President said that it is important that residential neighborhoods should have all necessary social facilities and sports grounds. The head of state noted that many such facilities, like kindergartens, are still built using old Soviet designs. “It is expensive. We need functional and beautiful facilities where children feel warm, but we should be restrained in spending, not like today. This pertains to materials and construction sites. Make sure that social facilities that are built using public funds have an optimal cost,” the President noted.

“We should not economize on children, but we have too many superfluities,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the President, after finishing the construction of social facilities, especially those that have additional services, the government should not be the only one to finance the maintenance of such facilities. Others sources of financing should be involved, including those of households.

Aleksandr Lukashenko urges to involve enterprises in projects to build rental housing. "Rental housing is not only a concern of the state. Every enterprise should get involved and make a contribution.”

According to the President, the same approach can be applied to projects in rural areas. "We seem to get used to complaining saying that these are difficult, crisis times today and therefore we put construction projects on the backburner. We usually find money for a tractor, or spare parts but we struggle to invest in people,” said the head of state.

Minsk Mayor Nikolai Ladutko reported that more than 700 rental apartments were built in 2014. Another 1,400 are under construction. This year Br12 billion will be received from renting out these apartments. These funds can be invested into the designing of two dozen new apartment buildings, without using the budget funds or credit resources, the Minsk Mayor said. As more rental houses are built and commissioned this economic effect will be multiplying. "Next year we will be able to invest the money not only into the design but also the construction of new apartments. We have developed the strategy regarding the construction of rental housing and have a clear program for this activity for the next four years,” Nikolai Ladutko said.

He said that plans had been made to drastically reduce the volume of home construction within Minsk’s existing borders within the next few years. While 1.1 million m2 of housing is supposed to be built in Minsk in 2014, in 2015 the figure will drop to 900,000m2. In 2016 and 2017 the figure will be reduced to 750,000m2 and 600,000m2. At the same time the construction of rented homes will be increased several times over.