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Yakutsk does not believe in tears

What the city lives on permafrost

Residents of central Russia still confuse Yakutsk with Irkutsk, but in the Far East such mistakes have long been prevented. Omitting the banal eulogies about the largest city on permafrost, it is fair to say that Yakutsk is indeed one of the brightest and most distinctive cities in the country.

Yakutsk does not believe in tears
Photo: archive of the corporate media editorial office NEFU
The history of the city began in 1632 and, like other cities in Siberia and the Far East, is associated with the development of the region by the Cossacks. An interesting fact: initially Yakutsk (more precisely, the prison, which gave it a start) was built not on the left bank of the Lena River, where it now rises, but on the opposite side. However, the location initially chosen by Peter Beketov was not the most successful, the prison was heated, so that it was soon transferred to the Tuymaad valley.

The sound name of the area on which Yakutsk is located is not the only one of its kind. Rough Yakut language was in this channel is rich - here you and the neighboring with Tuymaada valley of Ensioli and Erkăeni, and Lake Sisara, and other colorful names of geographical objects. Against this backdrop, the river Lena stands out. In fact, its usual "Russian" sounding is the adaptation of the Evenki word Elyuene, which translates as "The Great River". Those who saw her as such - powerful and strong - apparently, lived in the territory of modern Yakutia. In the neighboring Irkutsk region, near the town of Ust-Kut, where it originates, Lena is still so small that it is hard for Yakut people to recognize the usual majestic river in it.

The history of Yakutsk, like the whole of the republic, is closely connected with the Russians who came from the west. One of the favorite stories of Yakutians is the history of the marriage of the notorious Semyon Dezhnev and the Yakut beauty Abakayad. According to legend, she was the daughter of a respected rich man, who gave his daughter to marry a Cossack to strengthen peace with the Russian state. Now this story was given a romantic touch, and in September 2005 in the center of the capital a monument to the "first international pair of Yakutia" was opened. The monument is one of the must-see for the newlyweds capital.

Other places of interest the city is also not deprived. Obligatory Lenin on the same area is available. Prospectus of the name of the great leader - too. The appearance of Yakutsk is often criticized for the inexplicable combination of modern glass buildings with buildings in the style of the former city. This is explained by the peculiarity of the architecture of the city. "The city develops in the same place. We demolish dilapidated housing and erect in its place something new. This makes Yakutsk a city of contrasts, "explains Nikolai Alekseev, the former chief architect of the capital, and then stresses that historically there has not been an ensemble solution, like St. Petersburg, in Yakutsk. In the future, it also does not have to wait.

One of the problems of the city, according to Alekseev, is its overpopulation. While the native inhabitants of Yakutsk dream of moving to the cities of central Russia or even waving to other countries (yes, for a remote Yakut city such people have long been a rarity), the capital of the republic remains attractive for the natives of the districts. No wonder that now Yakutsk is the third largest city in the Far Eastern Federal District. Ahead - only Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Officially in the Yakut capital lives 331,2 thousand people. In addition, daily, a horde arrives from Yakutsk suburbs, the number of which depends on the time of the year and ranges from 25 to 45 thousand. According to Tuyary Gavrilieva, a member of the public council of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of Yakutia, for the last 15 years the population of the capital has grown by about 30 percent.

Lyudmila, 27, was born in the north of Yakutia. Immediately after school the girl moved to Yakutsk. First I graduated from high school, then I got a job. To return to the small Motherland the girl is not going to - in Yakutsk she has long been accustomed and works in the state institution. There are a lot of stories. However, there are also opposites. Ulyana is just over thirty years old. She grew up near the capital, in a small, but still the city of Pokrovsk. Now a young woman works in a small school in a tiny village, the population of which is slightly more than 300 people. The reason for leaving the village is higher teachers' salaries.

The labor sphere of the capital, according to experts, does not correspond to a market economy and requires innovations. The city is full of specialists, while working specialties requiring qualification are always in demand: plumbers, welders, cooks and representatives of other professions. The city compensates for their shortage by attracting temporary labor migrants.

The city administration admits that one of the most pressing problems in Yakutsk is low income. Official figures say that a third of the capital's residents live from paycheck to paycheck, and 24% are forced to live on a wage of less than 20 thousand rubles a month. Now attention: nominally, salaries are growing. In 2016, the average monthly salary in Yakutsk stood at 57 rubles. It looks great, but calculate the funds that go to pay for housing and communal services and buy food, and the picture will not be so happy.

While the authorities are grieving over the low level of income of the residents of Yakutsk, the citizens themselves, without despair, demonstrate high buying activity. They open not just shops, but whole shopping centers - they are already in the city as much as 77. The townspeople have access to large networks. "Eldorado", "Euroset", "Chocolate Girl" and even "Sinnabon" - this is not a complete list of federal companies that can be found in the center of Yakutsk.

Yakutsk tend to try to be like Moscow. Visitors to the city often say that Yakutians are more stylish than residents of other regions of the country, and the places are tastefully decorated in the capital, and the nightlife boils over. Equal to Yakutsk on the capital of the country and the cost of housing. Renting a one-room apartment in a good area will cost around 25 thousand rubles. If we talk about acquiring your own home, the smallest apartments in the price category up to 3,5 million rubles are in the highest demand among Yakutians.

In the last few years, the urban landscape of the city is actively built up by pretty new buildings. However, according to some experts, the construction paradise in Yakutsk may soon end. Construction is in full swing, but people are not in a hurry to enter into a mortgage. "The number of square meters that will be built before the year 2020, will cover all the needs of the city," said Tatiana Antipkina, general director of the company RDR Group.

New buildings are still flowers. Indeed, the problem of the city is emergency housing. In Yakutsk this status is assigned to 417 objects. "The development of built-up areas requires very large financial injections. Initially, the developer must resettle the residents of houses recognized as emergency, and this costs companies very expensive, so they go on such with difficulty. We, for example, do not even engage in such activities, "explains Larisa Pankova, deputy director for general issues at Yakutpromstroy. - We do not have any companies that can do it. Even DSC (JSC "DSK", the largest house-building plant in the republic) ". At the same time, Yakutprostroy is not a small company: among the implemented projects there are a number of multi-apartment buildings, the Sakha Theater building, the 50 Victory Sports Complex, the Nugget swimming pool, the administrative building of the Supreme Court of Yakutia and the Palace of Childhood.

One of the attempts to solve the housing problem of Yakutsk was cooperation with the Chinese corporation Zhuoda Group, which intends to invest in construction about 40 million rubles. According to the agreement, the 17-th quarter launched in the city should be built up. The work began in 2015 year. The start in the media, unfortunately, the triumphant surrender of the keys has not yet ended. The company planned to deliver the first objects at the end of this year, but a couple of months ago announced the postponement of the term to the middle of 2018. The reason was a snag with the resettlement of residents of one of the houses of the district.

In total Zhuoda Group undertook to build Yakutsk three quarters - this is about 300 houses and social infrastructure facilities. The work should be completed at the end of 2022. However, in narrow circles of players in the construction market, they whisper that they are looking for a new investor for this project. However, as reported in the department of urban development of the city administration, the contract with the company is in force. "In addition to the fact that the settling of tenants is very expensive, we have a problem with resource supply in the city: the power supply is not prepared for the capacity we are planning," the mayor explained. And this applies not only to the notorious 17 quarter, but also to other parts of the city.

In addition to Zhuoda Group, there are no offers from other investors yet. More precisely - there is, but it's too early to talk about anything concrete. Among interested in the Yakut housing market is a certain company from Khanty-Mansiysk, whose name and offers, for obvious reasons, can not yet be announced.

Water is the basis of life, says advertising. In the capital of a diamond republic with a base something went wrong. And if in winter the inhabitants of Yakutsk get a clear, without obvious turbidity, water, then with the onset of heat, it acquires a pronounced orange shade. However, according to Sergey Didenko, Deputy General Director for production and construction of Vodokanal, despite the "turbidity and color", the water quality in Yakutsk is satisfactory. The quality of water in the city is monitored daily not only by the Vodokanal itself, but also by Rospotrebnazdar. The introduction of a new water intake, according to the head of the Laboratory of the Russian-German Laboratory for the Study of the Ecological Status of the Arctic (Biom) Ruslan Gorodnichev, is necessary not only for the consumers of this water itself, but for the ecosystem of the Lena River basin. "The collection of treated waters in the river system is a positive moment for the protection of the environment and water resources," he explains.

Two troubles of the Moscow water are promised to be eliminated in 2018, when Vodokanal introduces a new water intake. The operating one works with 1972 year, and has never been upgraded. Its capacity is 60 thousand cubic meters per day, and the city needs at least 90. Vodokanal itself admits: the city was on scarce water supply at the end of 1978.

The construction is paid for by the republican budget, and everything is still going according to plan. Recently, urgent amendments were introduced to it - the treasury received 8,7 billion rubles less than expected, and the management had to cut funds for healthcare development programs, social support for citizens and other areas. However, this did not affect the construction of Vodokanal. I must say, the enterprise approached this issue scrupulously: on the site of Vodokanal you can track monthly reports with photographs of the territory of water intake.

However, according to some experts, not everything is so simple: they say, the quality of water depends not only and not so much on water abstraction, but on the condition of pipes through which water flows to the inhabitants. With them in Yakutsk is not all smooth: according to the head of the educational and scientific laboratory of lake science of the Department of Geography of the Institute of Natural Sciences of the North-Eastern Federal University Tamara Trofimova, water intake, despite its "lack of youth", produces clean water. But further it is again polluted - to all fault rusty pipes, entangled city. Contrary to the opinion of the Vodokanal management, the scientist is not sure that the new water intake will significantly improve the quality of the Moscow water. Pipes, she argues, must be changed.

Under only one department of Vodokanal such pipes - 108 kilometers. City pipes are also supervised by other large companies - MUE "Teploenergiya", Yakutsk TPP and other enterprises. According to Vodokanal, these 108 kilometers have now been changed to approximately 20-25 km. In a year, hands reach only 2-3 kilometers, no more: work is only carried out from April to October. Plus, in order to dig the ground and lay plastic pipes, it is necessary to obtain permits from the mayor's office, facilities, gas specialists, cablemen - the list of instances is quite impressive. Now we consider: from 108 kilometers it is necessary to change still 83-88. Given how the work moves, Vodokanal will need at least 27 years.

MUE "Teploenergiya" does the same work much faster - a year the company changes about 5 kilometers of pipes, but they control several times more - 207 kilometers. However, according to the first deputy director of the company Alexander Grigoriev, the quality of water does not depend on the pipes, but on the water intake. "Go, look at the state of the Lena River," the top manager answers the question about the impact of the state of the pipes on the city's water.

"Vodokanal", whatever one may say, looks extreme in this story. Before the "Judgment Day" - the launch of the water intake, on the scale of eternity, is within reach. There, and we will judge who is to blame and what to do.

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