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1 Jan 2021

Ramazan Alpaut, Zoya Simbirskaya

Super expensive as the Crimean: Bridge across the Volga as a special project

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[Summary translation prepared by Business and Human Rights Resource Centre]

... Activist Victoria Vyatchinina has long opposed the construction of the bridge, expressing fear for the Yagodinsky Forest, on the side of Tolyatti.

“A fairly large area of the forest was cut down here,” she says in an interview with an Idel.Realii correspondent. "The remains of the forest will be subject to the anthropogenic impact. It's garbage. Of course, volunteers clean up everything, but there is no care from the local municipality. I think the load will increase with the construction of the road. On the other hand, the Shigonsky district is considered a biosphere reserve of the Samara region. There are untouched forests, meadows, so the road will poison the surroundings. There are many wild animals behind Klimovka. We can't stop building. I believe that it is necessary to plant trees along the road so that they filter the air and protect the forest."...

Aleksey Krasnov, a member of the Samara Regional Duma, believes that Moscow needs the building, and it is actively promoting the project against the interests of the local population.

" The federal government needs the bridge. They cut down the forest, the route will run through protected areas. This bridge does nothing for us. Perhaps there will be less traffic jam on Zhigulevsky, but this will do nothing for the residents of Tolyatti. In the future, this is only for millionaires who will buy land here and build logistics centers. These are huge warehouses and there are not many jobs there. From the point of view of innovation, economic development, this whole logistical story is just huge profits for the oligarchs. And we, ordinary residents of Tolyatti and the Samara region, we will continue to live in a mess as we did before," notes Krasnov...

...Ecologist, expert of the Institute of Ecology of the Volga Basin at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Tolyatti, Vladimir Seleznev, reports that he and his colleagues conducted research at the insistence of Avtograd Vodokanal (this is an organization that provides drinking water to residents of the Avtozavodsky district of Tolyatti).

"The construction of the bridge is located in close proximity to the water intake, in the 2nd zone of sanitary protection of the drinking fence of Tolyatti. This is where the whole story began, because I wanted the designers to minimize the risks associated with the deterioration of water during the construction period and further during the operation of the bridge,” he says...

As the bridge is built, the authorities not only face criticism from activists, but also have to deal with unexpected technical problems. On December 6, 2020, during the construction of the bridge near Klimovka, a crawler crane collapsed - two workers died... Three more workers were injured, they were taken to the Syzran hospital, a criminal case was opened, media reported. At the time of publication of this material, nothing has been reported on the results of the investigation.