Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Check Your Facts

Wally Shedd from Accidental Russophile really trusts Independent and Novaya Gazeta. He wrote:

Independent Online Edition > Europe - "Putin to fund ski resort for Russia's rich"Nice little news article on the Russian government developing a ski resort. I seem to recall that this place is one of Putin's favorites (he has a house in Krasnaya Polyana, or so I have read).Is it just me, or does this seem like government spending to line one's own pockets?Further, as pointed out in the article:

In January, the government approved a ?6.5bn plan to upgrade Sochi's second-rate infrastructure and turn it into a year-round holiday resort. As the liberal Novaya Gazeta newspaper pointed out with not a little disapproval, this amount is more than 10 times what the Kremlin intends to spend on developing education this year and more than five times what it plans to spend on healthcare.

Seems if I were Russian, this would really p*ss me off.

I'm expecting Konstantin to jump on this, telling me how the Western Media has it all wrong again, and this ski resort is really all privately financed and will help orphaned children or something.

I’m right here, Wally. Always ready to invest 20 minutes into checking facts with the help of a wonderful service called “Google”. Let us start from the beginning:

1. July 19, 2005 City Council of Sochi came to a decision “To submit a bid for the XXII Winter Olympics”. Sochi’s bid was approved and supported by the Russian Olympic Committee and accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It’s a well-known fact.

2. In order to help Sochi win the bid Russian government decides to develop Sochi’s infrastructure. Here you find the text of the abovementioned federal program. It is decided that in the period of 2006-2014 the TOTAL amount of financing should not exceed 192,4 bln. Rubles. 1 British pound = 48,61 Russian rubles. That means the amount of 3,96 bln. GBP not 6,5 bln as Independent states. Lie #1.

2. Now we take a look at the Russian Federal Budget for 2006 (you need to download the document). What do we find? It is planned to spend 201,4 bln. Rubles (4,14 bln GBP) on education and 126,1 bln. Rubles (2,59 bln GBP) on healthcare in 2006. Is 3,96 TEN TIMES more than 4,14 ? Lie #2.

3. Also pay attention to the trick. Novaya Gazeta compares the 8-years budget of Sochi’s development project with wrong numbers of 2006 federal budget. 3,96 bln divided by 8 makes appr. 0,5 bln a year. See the difference?

4. The Sochi development program is about upgrading the infrastructure in whole, incl. roads, hotels, sewerage, water supply, etc. It's not about funding just a ski resort for Russia’s rich. Besides, I was in Krasnaya Polyana two years ago. If it’s a ski resort for rich than McDonalds is a restaurant for Russia’s super-rich.

All in all as a Russian I’m far from being p***d. On the opposite, I will be very proud and happy if 2014 Winter Olympics are be held in Russia. Wish us luck!

18 comments:

Tim Newman said...

Actually, I'd have to question Russia spending anything on sprucing up Sochi for the Olympics. Surely the money is desperately needed elsewhere?

For what it's worth, I feel the same way about the London Olympics, i.e. that I would rather see the money being spent elsewhere. I suppose wasting taxpayers' money on ego-boosts is common to all governments. In fact, only oil-rich Sheikhdoms or wealthy tax-haven microstates should be allowed to hold the Olympics.

W. Shedd said...

Spending BILLIONS on Putin's pet resort for a long-shot bid at the Olympics, when there are so many other needs in a still relatively poor country, is irresponsible. You didn't cite anything in contradiction with this. You didn't prove anything that I cited incorrect. You just talked up decisions by other vested interests that support the spending of the money. And your money figures are absolutely wrong. WRONG. The figures cited were correct and they were cited in multiple other news sources. I can use Google also, and I did that.

The fact that Sochi had submitted a bid for the Olympics has no bearing on this what-so-ever. If Sochi wins the Olympics, that is the time to spend the money.

Putin is making his own life and the life of his ski-buddies more comfortable. And he is doing it with your money. I would expect you to think this is great, you've never been anything more than an apologist for Putin. Are you his nephew or something?

W. Shedd said...

"The Kremlin has similar ambitions and is backing Krasnaya Polyana and Sochi for the 2014 Olympics. With an eye on the Games, the government last week approved a 327 billion ruble ($11.7 billion) plan to turn Sochi into a year-round mountain and Black Sea resort." ~ St. Petersburg Times

Сочи как горнолыжная здравница

Правительство России утвердило концепцию федеральной целевой программы «Развитие Сочи как горноклиматического курорта (2006-2014 гг.)». Соответствующее распоряжение подписал премьер-министр РФ Михаил Фрадков. Минэкономразвития поручено подготовить проект федеральной целевой программы и в установленном порядке представить его в правительство.

Целями программы являются формирование первого в РФ горноклиматического курорта мирового уровня, создание современных тренировочных баз для российских спортсменов, обеспечение возможности проведения в России международных и общероссийских соревнований по зимним видам спорта, а также обеспечение для Сочи конкурентных преимуществ в борьбе за право проведения Олимпийских игр.

Финансирование мероприятий программы предусматривается осуществлять за счет средств федерального бюджета, бюджетов Краснодарского края и Сочи с привлечением внебюджетных источников. Общие затраты на реализацию всех мероприятий программы составят 327,2 млрд. рублей с учетом прогноза цен на соответствующие годы. ~ RATAnews.ru

Утверждена Концепция федеральной целевой программы "Развитие г. Сочи как горноклиматического курорта (2006 - 2014 годы)"

Председатель правительства Михаил Фрадков подписал распоряжение об утверждении Концепции федеральной целевой программы "Развитие г. Сочи как горноклиматического курорта (2006 - 2014 годы)". Об этом сообщает пресс-служба правительства. Государственным заказчиком - координатором федеральной целевой программы "Развитие г. Сочи как горно-климатического курорта (2006 - 2014 годы)" определено Минэкономразвития России, государственными заказчиками Программы - Росавтодор, Росспорт, Росжелдор, Росэнерго, Росстрой, Россвязь и Росприроднадзор. Предельный (прогнозный) объем финансирования федеральной целевой программы "Развитие г. Сочи как горно-климатического курорта (2006 - 2014 годы)" за счет средств федерального бюджета составляет до 192,4 млрд рублей с учетом прогноза цен на соответствующие годы.

Реализация Программы рассчитана на срок с 2006 по 2014 год включительно и состоит из 3 этапов. Общие затраты на реализацию всех мероприятий Программы (в том числе на проведение предолимпийских соревнований, Олимпийских игр) составят 327,2 млрд рублей с учетом прогноза цен на соответствующие годы. Из них за счет средств федерального бюджета будет выделено 192,4 млрд рублей, бюджетов Краснодарского края и г. Сочи - 7,1 млрд рублей, внебюджетных источников - 127,7 млрд рублей. Из внебюджетных источников финансируется в полном объеме строительство объектов туристической инфраструктуры (69,1 млрд рублей), частично олимпийских объектов (около 13 млрд рублей), части объектов транспортной инфраструктуры (около 7 млрд рублей), части объектов энергоснабжения (около 2 млрд рублей). ~ Votpusk.ru

It would appear clear even to someone with less than perfect Russian (such as myself) that your cited figure is only one component of the plan the Russian government has approved, and the total amount is my correctly cited 327.2 mlrd ruble. The Russian government is directly financing 192.4 of that, Krasnodar and Sochi each give a small part ... and 127.7 is as yet unsupported.

Nimo said...

@W.Shedd

"The fact that Sochi had submitted a bid for the Olympics has no bearing on this what-so-ever. If Sochi wins the Olympics, that is the time to spend the money"

Tell me please, how is Sochi going to win the Olympics with its current infrastructure? Do you have an idea that the Olympics committee does care about that?
Do not you think that accusing Mr. Putin of supporting this budget just because it’s “Putin's pet resort” (as you said) is way too much an unrealistic view?
I agree totally with Konstantin that :
“The Sochi development program is about upgrading the infrastructure in whole, incl. roads, hotels, sewerage, water supply, etc. It's not about funding just a ski resort for Russia’s rich. Besides, I was in Krasnaya Polyana two years ago. If it’s a ski resort for rich than McDonalds is a restaurant for Russia’s super-rich.”
I have been to Sochi myself and I do think that this place has awesome potentials for summer and winter tourism, and I don’t mean internal tourism, by what you called “Rich Russians”! I don’t think that this money spent in Sochi is “waste” and irresponsibly spent money! This project will help the entire region and will create thousands of jobs and chances for many!
My first comment after touring Sochi and the neighboring cities and towns was “it’s a shame that so many Russians go to Turkey for summer vacations and some to Italy and Austria for skiing, while they already have such an awesome place that stands for both”
Think about it in the longer term; I do believe that it’s a good step in developing tourism and infrastructures in a vital place like Sochi – and not because it’s “Putin’s pet resort” at all!!

Konstantin said...

And by the way, Wally, - it's not Putin's pet resort, as you said -it MY PET RESORT. I loved Sochi, I was there 7 times when I was young and I hate it when one of the most beautiful resorts in Russia became such a s*** because of lack of money.

Tim Newman said...

I have been to Sochi myself and I do think that this place has awesome potentials for summer and winter tourism, and I don’t mean internal tourism, by what you called “Rich Russians”!

The chances of external tourists coming in any great numbers to Sochi whilst the current visa and registration requirements are in place are slim, especially as Ukraine had the good sense to allow western tourists to enter without a visa. I would have gone to Sochi last summer, but Yalta was much easier to do because of the visa relaxation.

Nimo said...

@Tim newman,
I do agree with you that the current Visa and registration process could be a big hassle! However, I don’t imagine at all the Russian government will pump all this money into Sochi’s infrastructure to make it more tourists-friendly and then slow the expected flow of tourists by keeping the same registration and visa regulations for foreigners. I know that these are all speculations, but logically it seems to me that modernizing the Sochi area on such scale will lead to other changes and developments in other related fields.
As I told you; it may have been my very personal experience, but I had an overwhelming impression touring Suchi, Adler, and other near-by towns for more than two weeks! I don’t want to seem repetitive; but I believe that this area have such potentials!
If Sochi becomes a tourism destination; I am more than sure that it can easily compete with Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt and other favorite destinations for Russian tourists, as well as becoming a destination for foreigners as well.
Anyway, these are all my personal speculations after reading about the new budget and after leaving the “Krasnaya Polyanaaya” area with great impressions!

Tim Newman said...

However, I don’t imagine at all the Russian government will pump all this money into Sochi’s infrastructure to make it more tourists-friendly and then slow the expected flow of tourists by keeping the same registration and visa regulations for foreigners.

That may well be the case, but if it is Russia has got things completely arse-about-face. Every other tourist destination relaxes the visa requirements first, then builds the necessary infrastructure and improvements to meet the subsequent demand. There is no point in building up infrastructure to cater for a number of visitors which they do not yet know. I thought Russia had moved on from a planned economy!!

Anonymous said...

To Tim Newman

The point here isn't exactly about foreign tourists.

Rusians bring billions of dollars to Turkey and other sea-based resort countries every summer; many express a desire to spend their vacation money in Russia, but are having to go abroad for the lack of convenient and developed resorts at home. It only makes sense for the Russian government to invest in development of domestic resort infrastructure to try and capture some of that income.

Income from foreign (central and western Europe) tourists doesn't come into play here, at least not in any conceivable short term.

Boris said...

Yeah - the facts - check 'em, mo fos!

Tim Newman said...

Rusians bring billions of dollars to Turkey and other sea-based resort countries every summer; many express a desire to spend their vacation money in Russia, but are having to go abroad for the lack of convenient and developed resorts at home. It only makes sense for the Russian government to invest in development of domestic resort infrastructure to try and capture some of that income.

I accept this point, as I think it is a valid one: Russians probably do prefer to stay in Russia, but find the facilities wanting. However, I am not convinced that Russians bring billions of dollars to Turkey and other resorts each year. Dubai is probably the favourite attraction for the rich Russians, and they don't bring in that much. But this doesn't detract from your main point.

Anonymous said...

To Tim Newman:

"Spending on tourism showed a strong net outflow. Russian
tourists spent nearly $13 billion abroad, i.e. about 3 % of
GDP, while foreign tourists visiting Russia only spent about
a third of that."
- BOFIT Russia Review Yearbook 2004 http://www.bof.fi/bofit/eng/4ruec/ypdf/re2004.pdf

I've done a pretty cursory search of the net to find some linkable numbers. I'm sure there are more sources out there.

I'd like to note here that most of that $13 bln was spent by "regular" (not rich) Russians, as can be seen by the total number of tourists traveling annually.

Tim Newman said...

Ah, okay. I stand corrected. Good point, well made.

Michele said...

Konstantin, I'm tagging you, because you're so serious, and we all wonder about you.

I have a suspicion you'll ignore me, though.

http://www.isolato.org/blogchik/archives/2006/02/post_1.html

rockstarstories.com said...

here are some neat Olympics Pins i saw on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Moscow-Olympics-1980-5-pins-lot-RARE-DESIGN-USSR-Nice_W0QQitemZ110222770621QQihZ001QQcategoryZ12517QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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