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Under the blue sky there is the city of Komsomolsk

Five years ago, Komsomolsk-on-Amur was declared a city of presidential attention. The city was promised billions in injections and the construction of roads, dams, hospitals and other social facilities, which were supposed to radically improve the life of the Komsomol residents.

In five years - in 2025 - the plan for the comprehensive social and economic development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur should be implemented. But as Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin personally made sure, the city of presidential attention was deprived of both the attention and the desire to bring this plan to life. “The complex issue of the development of the city and of the future city in general is the key story that needs to be dealt with. This is the element that, it seems to me, is now missing in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. There is a certain slippage in the program, which was adopted some time ago. I will report this to the President, among other things, so that there are no such slippages and the city develops, ”he said. The author of EastRussia also went to the "city of Youth" to see how achievable the "beautiful far away" is.

Under the blue sky there is the city of Komsomolsk
Photo: Alexey Elash

“More accurate! Suddenly there is a hole under the puddle! " - a young father and son on a scooter walk in front of me along the footpath that runs parallel to one of the main avenues of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Komsomol residents, not spoiled by storm water ramps, ramps and low curbs, do not trust either roads or footpaths at the level of reflexes - too often promises to build something new and to do it are qualitatively at odds with reality.

EastRussia Help: In the spring of 2016, Russia adopted a unique document that dealt with the development of one particular city - a long-term plan for the comprehensive socio-economic development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. It contained several dozen points that indicated what facilities should be built in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in what specific time frame and what indicators (unemployment rate, life expectancy, coverage of public services, etc.) should be achieved within a certain time frame. ... The plan envisaged the participation of many federal structures - from ministries to state corporations, which were supposed to provide the necessary funds in their programs and plans. Now it includes 34 events and 30 construction projects. For its implementation, funding is allocated in the amount of 41 billion rubles, including funds from the federal budget in the amount of 27,2 billion rubles. However, the first amendments and time shifts were not long in coming.

By 2019, the first results appeared.

So, the wide avenues of Komsomolsk-on-Amur were repaired, but in the spring the asphalt, as they say, “floated”. At the same time, road machinery bypassed courtyard and quarter driveways. Surprisingly, "Komsa" (this is how Komsomolsk-on-Amur is called for abbreviation), which never knew "traffic jams" (the roads are straight and wide, and there are few cars), suddenly "got up": the reconstruction of the Komsomolskoye highway, which connects the city center with Dzemgi microdistrict. The construction went on for a long time and painfully, but motorists silently swallowed road dust, believing that better times would soon come. At the same time, another highway was being built, along which one can get to Dzemgi - Permskaya streets, but "something went wrong" and today it - in new asphalt and with new lighting - stands, dug up on both sides so that no one on the highway went. However, the members of the Komsomol have already broken the "people's path" along it.

The roads in the city seemed to be cursed. As well as the position of the head of the road department - no one lingers in this chair for a long time.

Meanwhile, officials of all ranks do say that there has not been such a large-scale road construction in the fourth most populous city in the Far East for two decades. This happened after the adoption in the spring of 2016 of a long-term plan for the comprehensive socio-economic development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. True, the roads are being asphalted within the framework of the Safe and High-Quality Roads National Project. Actually, this is the essence of the comprehensive plan - it includes various federal programs and subprograms, as well as programs of state corporations, and, in fact, does not have its own funding.

“The long-term plan is, to some extent, a unique document adopted by the country's government for the development of a separate city. There are few such documents. And the townspeople pin their hopes on the development of Komsomolsk with him, ”commented Alexander Zhornik, head of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur administration for EastRussia.

Until about the end of 2017, Komsomol members were proud to say "the city of presidential attention." This epithet promised a lot, but in reality everything turned out to be not so rosy, and even more so not quickly.

The 17-kilometer protective dam has not yet been fully completed, although there were two more severe floods after the devastating flood in 2013; the interdistrict oncological dispensary, which began to be built in 2018, is not even 10% ready; The regional sports center is "stuck". 15 objects included in the plan are being built in violation of the deadlines, and 8 objects have not begun to be built at all.

“For the plan to be implemented, two prerequisites are required. First, the plan must correspond to the real situation, that is, what is needed and what can be done is planned. The second (provided that the first is completed) - the planned actions must be provided with resources, and not only money (this goes without saying), but also projects, real technologies, labor resources, material resources, etc. If these two conditions are met, then the plan will be executed as it was drawn, "commented on the state of affairs to EastRussia, scientific director of the Institute for Economic Research of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Pavel Minakir.

It was not possible to lure into the Far Eastern city and large manufacturers, under which the TOP (territory of advanced development) "Komsomolsk" was "sharpened". The official language is called "localization of production for the release of products in the interests of military and civil aircraft and shipbuilding." As you know, Komsomolsk-on-Amur is the largest industrial center of the entire district, the "engineering capital" and its enterprises - the Amur shipyard, an aircraft manufacturing enterprise named after V.I. A. Gagarin, where combat fighters and civil medium-range aircraft Sukhoi Superjet are produced, Amurstal are the largest taxpayers in the region.

The federal authorities and the deputy prime minister who oversees a huge region, and concurrently the plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District, Yuri Trutnev, often blame the regional and federal authorities for the failure to meet the deadlines specified in the program document: they say that local officials are not zealous enough to fulfill their duties ...

“I would not use the words“ accusations ”,“ search for the guilty ”. It would be more accurate to talk about concern, understanding that the implementation of the plan is stalled on a number of points, and that it is necessary to take measures to rectify the situation. Special attention is paid to implementation by all authorities. Of course, he is under the special control of the city administration. The municipality tries to fulfill all its obligations regularly. This also applies to the allocation of a share of co-financing for the construction of a number of facilities, and the organization of the process for the development of design and estimate documentation, and a number of other issues. Here we work in close contact with the regional leadership. We do everything that depends on us, ”said Alexander Zhornik.

Soon, the "unique document" got a popular name - "tolgoplan", and Komsomolsk-on-Amur residents themselves began to call it "the city of presidential attention" less and less often. This example was followed by officials. All ranks.

“I personally do not use the term“ city of presidential attention ”. If I hear him from someone, then only with sarcasm, and sometimes with indignation: they say, what attention, if we have such a mess? " - says a resident of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, local historian Anton Ermakov.

The main reason why the Komsomol members stopped believing in the "tarsier", in the opinion of the townspeople themselves, was "the gap between what they promised and what they managed to do." And it turned out to be done not so much, at least from the visible results.

Perhaps the most tangible is the reconstruction of the Drama Theater: the massive building, like the adjacent territory, has long been in need of repair. As a result, the theater acquired new interiors, a revolving stage and a fresh facade, and the square got cobblestones. 

It was not lucky with the small architectural forms installed around the building: after a couple of years they collapsed, they were sent for restoration, but the Komsomol members wrote right on that very new paving stone that they did not need the figures.

The square adjacent to the Drama Theater has rather become a favorite place for walks, parties of skaters and city fairs.

It is noteworthy that recently the municipal enterprise "Fruits" has been the organizer of all kinds of fairs and exhibitions. In fact, it should be engaged in filling the warehouse facilities available in the city with all kinds of products and, if possible, due to this, act as a market regulator. That is, to be a kind of guarantor of food security. This, by the way, is also spelled out in the long-term plan. But this point was also unfulfilled: "Fruits" went into bankruptcy proceedings.

“From the point of view of the economy, this enterprise should have been bankrupt long ago - because of the debts that were dragging down. But at the same time, on its basis, create a new one, moreover, not just a vegetable warehouse, but a center for agricultural cooperation. Now this task is undertaken by the only agricultural cooperative in the district “Cooperator of Komsomolsk”, and without any plans and state support, ”said the ex-head of JSC“ Fruits ”Maxim Alikin.

The embankment of Komsomolsk-on-Amur is listed as a separate "long-distance point" in the "long-run". Any urbanist will tell you that a city by a river should have its own promenade and promenade. Moreover, the space and the preserved century-old spruce here allow it. But officials clouded the story as soon as possible. Moreover, they even created a regional institution, which was supposed to be engaged in the construction and development of the embankment. 

“It’s clear that the longer you build it, the longer you will have a well-paid job,” says local resident Andrei Ivanov. 

For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that the contractors on the embankment also failed successfully: they simply did not cope with the proposed amount of funding and work. Another scourge of the longplane is poor-quality design and estimate documentation.

“Gross errors in design and estimate documentation, one of the most striking examples is a children's medical complex. And another reason is unscrupulous contractors. On a number of objects, for example, dams on Lake Mylki, on the right bank of the Silinka River, the deadlines for work were disrupted, and even not everywhere they were carried out in due quality. Redesign requires funds. Changes in projects take money and time. Often much more than previously planned. It takes time to terminate contracts with delinquent contractors, to identify new contractors. All this led to delays in the deadlines, ”noted Alexander Zhornik.

Recently, the unfinished embankment was again in the headlines: Oleg Chursin, who in 2015 managed to work for three months as the Minister of Construction of the Khabarovsk Territory, and then for many years headed the regional institution "Komsomolskaya-on-Amur Embankment of the Amur River", was caught by FSB officers at receiving a bribe of several million rubles, which he extorted from the contractor company for general patronage at the facility. Now the ex-official faces up to 15 years in prison, and the embankment is again “beheaded”.

“There is another important circumstance: force majeure. During this time, there were floods, political troubles - the plan was adopted under one governor, to a greater extent implemented under the second, now there will be a third. This does not add speed, ”stressed Pavel Minakir.

After the failure with large-scale projects in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, they switched to "quick victories": the streets were decorated with flowerpots with topiary figures. By the way, they also began to be actively installed in Khabarovsk.

“It is not difficult to install, they are inexpensive, they are noticeable in the urban landscape. True, they are short-lived in our conditions and are poorly aesthetic. These are printed items made by people who are far from art and harmony, but despite this, I think that by the fall we will have many more of them, ”urbanist Alexander Kolbin reflects. 

Nearby is the building of the river station, built in 1976. Two years ago it was sold to a private person, but even here the reconstruction has stalled: there is still open asphalt around, surrounded by a fence. 

“Please note: the city has a large number of vacant commercial premises, especially in the segment of 30-100 square meters. The small business either shrank a lot, or closed down altogether. There is only one explanation: there is less money in the city. Rather, their number, if you look at salaries, remained at the level of five years ago, but the prices for food and housing and communal services have grown significantly and people are simply not ready to spend on something that is not of prime priority, ”says businessman Dmitry Golovinsky. By the way, he himself moved to Krasnodar in 2016 and from there runs a drinks store. 

The outflow of the population is another problem that the authorities cannot solve in any way, despite the fact that there is a point on this in the "long-run" plan. As a rule, young people leave, which is why Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in fact, can no longer be called “the city of Yunost” (this is how it was called in Soviet times and is still called from old memory): the average age of Komsomol residents has exceeded 35.

“Komsomolsk-on-Amur is a city of presidential attention. We proclaimed it for a reason. Everyone thought that the population would increase, everyone would run to the box office for tickets to the Far East. But there are no queues and the population is dwindling. They don't go for clinics and martial arts palaces. They go for high incomes, jobs, quality education and medicine, but this is not the case. So the list of engineering solutions and construction projects has come out of the plan, ”Pavel Minakir said.

But school graduates are leaving less. The director of school number 27 Valentina Kapustina tells us about this.

“There are indeed fewer people leaving, even within the Far East. But there is an explanation for this: the parents of graduates have less money, and they can no longer provide their children with housing and life in another city. Therefore, as a rule, those children leave where the families have money. And there are not many of them, ”says Valentina Kapustina.

Affordable new housing may have been a deterrent for those leaving. But in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, it is not just inaccessible at prices (especially in relation to the income of the population), but it is physically absent: tower cranes are a rarity in the city skyline. Therefore, some ask the question: for whom is all this being built, if over the past 10 years 25 thousand people have left Komsomolsk-on-Amur, this is 10% of the total population of the city.

“Certainly, something has been done, but with an endless delay in deadlines. And it is not always clear how much a particular object is needed by the city. Residents themselves must decide, but not once every five years, but on an ongoing basis. To do this, it is necessary to participate in local self-government, to develop it, and not to wait for us, by someone's mercy, to receive something, ”says local historian Anton Ermakov.

Anton means, among other things, the passenger buses that the Moscow mayor's office handed over to the Khabarovsk Territory after being written off. There were also trams on this list, but all of them went to Khabarovsk, since the tram administration in Komsomolsk-on-Amur also went bankrupt and now only rails remind of the easternmost city of Eurasia, where trams were running. 

The transport problems of Komsomolsk-on-Amur are not limited only to the city's territory: in order to get to Khabarovsk, a Komsomol member will have to fork out four thousand rubles - that is how much a seat in a compartment carriage costs one way. At the same time, between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, where the distance is twice as large, a day train was launched, a ticket for which in the same (and even better) compartment carriage costs only 900 rubles.

- But when the comprehensive plan was only adopted, the departmental program of the Russian Railways for the replacement of rolling stock was linked to it. According to it, new passenger cars of increased comfort were to appear in this direction. Unfortunately, none of this happened, - complains an official who was once engaged in the development of the region, and therefore wished to remain anonymous.

The residents of Komsomolsk-on-Amur (and the entire Far East) learn with bitterness that such cars (and also double-decker ones!) Exist when they come on vacation to the western regions of Russia. For example, to the Krasnodar Territory. By the way, in order to fly away on vacation, Komsomol members also have to go to Khabarovsk, since the local airport “Khurba” did not “fly” (moreover, there were even power outages there). The regional capital, of course, can be reached by road, but it was not for nothing that it was nicknamed the “death track” - unfortunately, severe accidents on it, unfortunately, happen all the time. The Khabarovsk - Komsomolsk-on-Amur highway with an approach to Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan was transferred to federal ownership in 2020. Soon, road equipment and signs “Attention! Road works ”, but, apparently, this reconstruction object also runs the risk of becoming part of the“ long plan ”. 

“Dolgoplan is needed, first of all, by officials: special positions are created for this, money is allocated. And the residents did not feel better because of this: the roads did not become less broken, the buses did not go better, the prices in stores did not stop growing, ”summed up Anton Ermakov.

However, the Komsomol members are an optimistic people and believe that someday it will be better. All the same, there is nowhere to go and there is nothing. As for the long-term plan, it should be fully implemented by 2025. Unless, of course, the terms are revised again.

“Our problem is standard: who draws up these plans and based on what considerations are decisions made, including engineering ones? Typical things are done. They say: they do this in Khabarovsk, let's do it in Komsomolsk-on-Amur too? As a result, standard approaches are obtained: just to master the money, and then everything will be formed by itself. But this idea does not work, ”concluded Pavel Minakir, scientific director of the Institute for Economic Research of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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