When the USSR collapsed, a lot of country houses, which Soviet leaders used for their holidays, turned out to be beyond Russia's territory
Vladimir Kozhin has been chairing the department for presidential affairs for five years already. The department is currently busy with purchasing new airliners for Russian top officials, some of whom are to be resettled from the Kremlin. It is worthy of note that the IL-96 jetliner of the Russian president, which made headlines in Russian media outlet in August, when it failed to take off due to a technical malfunction, is in use again.
Test flights of the new aircraft for Vladimir Putin revealed quite a number of drawbacks, which had to be removed. Putin's plane was unable to take off in Lisbon last year, apparently because of a failure in the dash fascia. In August of the current year Putin had to use a reserved IL-62 in Finland, when the president's airliner was not allowed to take off because of a malfunction in the brake system.
Other Russian top officials, including Prime Minister Fradkov, Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov etc, fly similar jetliners too. The department for presidential affairs has purchased new Tu-214 airplanes for the politicians. “The planes have to be tested now before Russia's leading politicians are allowed to use them for their domestic and international flights. Tu-214 planes have been demonstrating very good qualities so far, so we currently plan to order several of such planes for politicians,” Vladimir Kozhin said.
When the USSR collapsed, a lot of country houses, which Soviet leaders used for their holidays, turned out to be beyond Russia's territory. Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev and other leaders of the Communist Party preferred to spend their vacations in Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia, which became independent republics after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Kozhin does not think that his department needs to take any efforts to try and win those luxury houses back. “Russia is large enough to have its own summer residences for its leaders. There are unique objects there, of course, but they still require considerable investments for repairs. The previous government of Kyrgyzstan invited Russian leaders to return to the resort of Issyk-Kul Lake, for example. It does have the remarkable ecological environment with clean air, beautiful views and mineral springs. However, the beauty of nature is the only thing to be admired there – everything else needs to be repaired,” the head of the department for the presidential affairs said.
Last year Russia agreed to pay $15 million for the former country house of Leonid Brezhnev (one of the General Secretaries of the Soviet Union's Communist Party) located in Ukraine. Russian authorities paid two million dollars of the sum for the house, but the successful completion of the transaction was put into question after the end of the orange revolution in the country, when Viktor Yushchenko took the office of the Ukrainian president. Yushchenko virtually prohibited the further sale of the above-mentioned property and ordered local authorities cancel the deal.
Russia will chair the Group of Eight in 2006; the G8 summit is expected to take place in Russia's St.Petersburg in the summer of the forthcoming year. Russian authorities currently prepare for the upcoming international event, repairing buildings and providing all necessary facilities to welcome international leaders in Moscow and St.Petersburg. Vladimir Kozhin assured that residents of St.Petersburg would not have to deal with any inconveniences during the G8 summit: “There will be no dramatic changes made in St.Petersburg, when the city hosts the summit. A dismountable press center for journalists arriving from all over the world will appear in the city before the opening of the summit. It will be the only construction to be built in the city on the threshold of the summit. Anti-globalists will have an opportunity to express their views within the framework of the law, of course. They will not be allowed to block the central avenue of St.Petersburg and organize a demonstration there, of course - they will not be allowed to mess up the event like it happened in Genoa,” Vladimir Kozhin said.
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Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience