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Moscow Bringing 'Elite' to Tskhinvali

ReutersA resident walking Sunday along a Tskhinvali street destroyed by a Georgian strike. Moscow is planning to build a $100 million elite neighborhood in the city.
Moscow taxpayers will pay 2.5 billion rubles ($100 million) for the construction of an elite neighborhood named in honor of Moscow in the destroyed South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

"A plush new residential estate will be constructed in Tskhinvali, and it will be named Moskovsky Kvartal," City Hall spokeswoman Yelena Ibragimova said by telephone.

Moskovsky Kvartal, or the Moscow Neighborhood, will occupy 70,000 to 80,000 square meters of land in the separatist Georgian republic and be divided into two parts Ч one with a row of three- to four-story apartment buildings, the other with cottages.

The decision to build it was made after a team of real estate developers led by Alexander Kosovan, head of the city's construction department, went to South Ossetia on Aug. 12 to carry out a feasibility study. "We received various proposals, but we decided to build the residential neighborhood, which will house 3,000 or 4,000 people," Kosovan said in e-mailed comments.

He said the apartment buildings would be allocated to professionals such as government employees, teachers and doctors. Kosovan did not say who the owners of the private cottages would be. The cottages will have private gardens "so that inhabitants can restore their usual way of life," he said. This section of the neighborhood will also include shopping centers, sports centers, schools and kindergartens, he said.


Sergei Grits / AP
A man standing on the balcony of his apartment building in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, on Saturday.
Construction work could start as early as September, he said.

The separatist government of South Ossetia agreed to provide more than 60 hectares of land for the construction work, according to an agreement signed between the government and City Hall on Thursday.

Georgian forces attacked Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with heavy artillery fire, and a resulting battle for control of the city destroyed numerous buildings and much of the infrastructure.

The federal government has said it would spend 10 billion rubles ($400 million) to rebuild South Ossetia. Deputy Mayor Vladimir Resin told a city government meeting on Thursday that municipal officials must liaise with federal authorities to decide how to combine resources and avoid duplicating efforts. Tskhinvali, with a population of 30,000 people and rickety infrastructure before the fighting broke out, is expected to receive the lion's share of all funds.

Moscow has long supported Tskhinvali. In April last year, it supplied the city with technical equipment, including special trucks to clean the streets. This year, acting on an agreement signed in 2006, City Hall paid for the design of the Kosta Khetagurova State Theater, to replace a theater destroyed in a 2005 fire.

Moscow-based developers, however, may not benefit from the reconstruction efforts in South Ossetia because most of the construction contracts are expected to go to Russian firms across the border in North Ossetia.

"North Ossetia's governor has advised us to tap into his republic's construction potential," Ibragimova said, adding that City Hall probably would.
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