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12 October, 2011  ▪  The Ukrainian Week

Money For What?

The Ukrainian government cannot be trusted with a large-scale construction project
Gallery: Money for what? (photos: 3)

On October 8, a key long-term construction project which had hit bumps in recent years was finally completed – the Olimpiysky National Sports Complex in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Week has compared this stadium, one of Europe’s most expensive, with two other elite-class stadiums that will also host Euro 2012 soccer games: the Donbas Arena built by Shaktar’s owner Rinat Akhmetov and the National Stadium in Warsaw financed by the Polish budget.

The figures suggest an unambiguous conclusion: the Ukrainian government cannot be trusted with a large-scale construction project. Akhmetov paid USD 175 million less for his stadium, and he has every chance of recovering his investment. The Warsaw stadium, which is much bigger than its Kyiv counterpart if you consider the underground levels and the surrounding buildings rather than just the stadium itself, cost the Poles almost USD 100 million less. Their stadium is a universal arena and includes a large business center which can be rented to recover money spent on construction.

In contrast, according to our sources, the multi-storey building on the premises of the Olimpiysky Stadium is not even part of the sports complex. Add to this the amount paid to the owners of the Troitsky Trade Center – they started to feverishly build it just before the launch of the stadium’s reconstruction – as compensation for abandoning their project, and the stadium seems to be worth its weight in gold. Doubts naturally arise that the USD 575 million allotted for reconstructing the stadium was spent reasonably or that embezzlement was impossible. The fact the budget for the project was constantly expanded until eventually it ballooned by 50% also fuels suspicion. Sadly, the government has virtually no chance of recovering its investment.

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