Clients cannot settle accounts with builders for the works executed for Lukashenka’s residence.
It seems like the problems are arising with the construction of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s new residence in Minsk just like they did with building the National Library.
The works, though, have not been finished. In spite of excursions already being made for “the selected” in the so-called Independence Palace with Minsk’s mayor Mikalaj Ladutska as a guide, the residence is still not finished. That is why it is no surprise that common citizens cannot get an excursion to the palace.
Belarusian ruler’s palace looks good only from facades. It is especially pleasing for the eye early in the morning or late in the evening – apparently the illumination works 24/7. However from the end of the building facing Arlouskaja Street it impresses less. On the other side of the palace there are still barracks for workers, who built the building and keep working on it.
Since early in the morning workers come to these barracks. They change there and witnessed by all take pedestrain crossings to get to the construction site. What talk could there be on the Independence Palace’s being finished when people are still working on it?
The work starts since very morning – already at 8.30 you can see someone carrying construction materials somewhere and the rest gradually getting to work.
Although, the main works have been finished. But trimmers and decorators still work in the building.
Of course, it is impossible to get into the building. What works for sure in Lukashenka’s building is the closed circuit. According to the worker, this system very well notices the violators of labour discipline. There were cases when for stopping for a smoke workers were suspended.
Work is in full swing
Now decorators and interior designers are working in the building. For the most part those are actually Belarusian manufacturers. There was a serious struggle for the state purchase of the services for the residence decoration.
For example, the decoration of halls took very long to be chosen through biddings. In the end by June 2013 it was decides to decorate some premises with tapestry. Weavers from Barysau enterprise for decorative art of the Belarusian Artists Union got to work. However, they, of course, did not manage to finish all by the palace’s opening – this is a very painstaking job, while tapestry makers are mainly elderly women at the Barysau enterprise. They cannot work fast, and the technology does not allowe for that. It takes two and a half months and six people to make carpet of the size 2x3 meters…
In the end, on the initiative of certain people, it was decided to replace tapestry with painting.
The work on paintings also started, but in the meanwhile the weavers had already done their work by half. To replace tapestry with painting means to stay with no order and payment. The weavers complained about such a decision to the Minister of Culture Barys Sviatlou, as a result the chairman of the Belarusian Artists Union Uladzimir Savich was reprimanded. The weavers kept the order.
The question remains how much money was spent on the useless painting and if anyone was paid for that?
Many people form the Artists Union work in the building on decorating the halls: ceramists, decorators etc. They make paintings for the residence, decorative plates for the walls, decorate chimneys and make other decorations. However, many believe that they will not get paid for their work. They have already were prepaid in the amount of approximately 20% of the cost of the orders. When those, who finish the work, will be paid and whether they will be paid the remainder at all is yet unknown.
Short of funds
Builders are in the worst situation of all, who had to finish Lukashenka’s residence in shortest times.
There were many rumors as to how much this building cost. At one of the corporative parties the chief engineer leaked it To builders: the cost is 5 billion euro without the inclusion of decoration, corrections, finishing etc. The cost may grow by 1.5 times, if not double, with the decoration and finishing.
It is not surprising. The builders saw the materials used at the construction. For example, the tiles, brought from Italy specially for the residence. The cost of one tile the size of two palms is 200 euros. That is why no one questioned the engineer’s words.
The most curious thing is that the builders have not been paid for constructing this “marvel of engineering thought”.
Rumors have it that those, who worked at the state’s facility made 5-6 million Belarusian roubles a month. In October they got one and a half – two million. Because accounts have not been settled on the state’s facility.
Main builder of the palace was the public corporation MAPID – largest construction enterprise in Belarus. There are talks that state's liabilities for constructing the palace amount to about four billion dollars to be paid to MAPID.
In the situation MAPID fires builders. According to the same talks among workers, it is planned to fire, send on non-paid vacations or get in some other way get rid of 30 thousand builders.
Of course, builders will not be lost. Many things are being built in Minsk and there is always the possibility to go work abroad. But to build a residence on credit is too much, isn’t it?