Connect to share and comment
Preservationists release a new report on at-risk buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Moscow’s biggest developer is Inteko, owned by Yelena Baturina, who is Russia’s richest woman and was its only female billionaire, until the crisis took a toll on her wealth. She is also conveniently married to Moscow’s long-serving mayor, Yury Luzhkov.
Baturina has become embroiled in a complicated lawsuit involving Shalva Chigirinsky, an oil and property tycoon whose projects once included the construction of Russia Tower, a skyscraper, as well as the destruction of the Moskva Hotel.
Chigirinsky is facing a host of lawsuits in London, after allegedly transferring funds from his oil company Sibir Energy to cover his real estate losses. In London, he is battling to hold on to his 23.5 percent stake in Sibir Energy in the face of angry minority shareholders.
Documents submitted by Chigirinsky’s lawyers as part of a lawsuit against a former business partner seeking to divest Chigirnsky’s stake in the firm, cited in The Financial Times and The Moscow Times, show that half of his 23.5 percent stake was in fact held by Baturina.
Chigirinsky’s lawyer told the FT that his client entered into a partnership with Baturina in 1999 because “no major projects can proceed in the city without her backing.”
Baturina has denied the stake ownership claim. She told Kommersant, a respected Russian daily, that the claims were “not only not true, but the opposite of reality,” and that she planned to sue Chigirinsky. When asked to comment on Baturina’s approach to architectural conservation, her spokesman, Gennady Terebkov, would only say that the company “always follows all laws, norms and standards.”
The members of MAPS will hope that is true. For now, they are pinning their attention on reconstruction projects in the works, like that at Detsky Mir, which still carry some hope.
The company that owns Detsky Mir, the holding group Sistema owned by Vladimir Yevtushenkov, has frozen its work at the site in the midst of the financial crisis, “which means there is a second chance to try and save Children’s World,” the report says.
More on Moscow: