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City news, 11.12.2007 14:23

Navy Move to Petersburg To Cost $1 Billion

The Russian Navy Moving the Russian Navy Headquarters from Moscow to St. Petersburg will cost more than a billion dollars, Russian navy experts said.

The navy experts said this would be the minimum cost for the move, while independent experts said the figure would be twice as high, without even including the construction of secure headquarters to be used in the event of an attack, Interfax said on Monday.

The cost of the move was announced after the Russian Navy High Command prepared plans for the relocation.

“The development of this document was a forced measure, the answer to this summer’s order from the Russian Defense Ministry to prepare such a decision,” a source at the Naval Command told Interfax.

According to the plan, by Dec. 31, 2009, the first group of 800 officers and admirals, headed by the Russian Navy’s commander-in-chief should arrive in St. Petersburg. By that time the building of the Admiralty should have undergone repairs and been provided with new lines of communication and reliable defenses.

However, many personnel within the Russian navy are critical of the idea.

Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, who headed the Russian Navy Headquarters from 1998-2005 said the haste in the implementation of the project will lead to the project being more expensive, and damage the quality of works.

At the same time, Kravchenko said the main negative consequence of the decision would be the disturbance of coordination with the high Command of the country and other military forces.

“It will make it more difficult for the Naval Command to participate in the consideration and solving of general problems, as well as the problems that directly concern the navy,” Kravchenko said, Interfax reported. “And what about reports to the Defense Minister, the work at General Headquarters? Should the Navy Commander and other naval officers fly to Moscow every day?” he said.

Kravchenko said all developed countries try to locate military command boards compactly to provide efficiency and convenience of management.

The coordination of military command boards should be carried out in single corridors or floors of buildings and without the need to fly to the capital, especially in view of the fact that in St. Petersburg the period of attack warnings amounts to about 15-20 minutes, he said.

The move may also worsen the problem of providing officers with residential apartments.

“We’ve now got 6,000 navy officers in St. Petersburg who don’t have apartments. In Moscow, this number is 1,750 officers. If the headquarters are moved to St. Petersburg the number of apartment needed for navy officers will greatly increase,” Kravchenko said.

Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, who oversees national and navy policy at the Federation Council, also expressed his negative attitude to the decision, calling it “inexpedient.”

“Making such decisions during reforms in the army and the navy, when there is a lack of money for the construction of apartments for officers and new ships, is not constructive and inexpedient,” Popov said, Interfax said.

Popov said he wasn’t against such a decision in principle, but did not understand the haste.

“We can explain it from the historical point of view – the Russian Navy was born in St. Petersburg and the Admiralty is here – but it’s incomprehensible from the timing point of view,” Popov said.

Current navy officers and admirals of the Navy Headquarters in Moscow are also critical of the plans. Only 20 admirals and officers of the headquarters expressed a wish to move to St. Petersburg for further service.

About 200 officers at the headquarters took part in the survey, Interfax reported.

News source:

(c) 2000