Supported by:
July 3, 2023г
The plenary session
"Historical Center as an investment: Challenges and limitations"
  • Marat Khusnullin
    Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Construction and Regional Development (by video conference)
  • Rustam Minnikhanov
    Rais (Head) of the Republic of Tatarstan
  • Sergey Pakhomov
    Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Communal Services
  • Nikolay Shumakov
    The President of the Union of Moscow Architects and the Union of Architects of Russia
  • Sergei Muzychenko
    Deputy Minister of Construction and Housing and Communal Services of the Russian Federation
  • Mr. Sun Xudong
    the Deputy Mayor of Hangzhou
  • Ilsur Metshin
    Mayor of Kazan
  • Sergey Voropanov
    Mayor of Vologda
  • Marina Rakova

    Minister of Town-planning Activity and Development of Agglomerations of the Nizhny Novgorod Region

  • Anvar Shamuzafarov
    The President of NOPRIZ
  • Anton Glushkov
    President of the National Association of Builders
  • Хань Фанбао
    Директор управления иностранных дел народного правительства города г. Цицикар, Китайская Народная Республика, участие по ВКС
  • Olesya Baltusova
    Aide to the Rais (Head) of the Republic of Tatarstan, the forum's programme director
  • Ignat Bushukhin
    Editor-in-Chief, "RBC Real Estate"
“The historical center is the heart and soul of any city”
The Forum “REBUS.Economics of Construction in the Historical Center”, which opened today in Kazan, is attended by about 2,000 specialists representing federal, regional and municipal authorities. They form 46 delegations from the regions of Russia and three foreign countries: Belarus, China and Turkey. 140 speakers are involved in the work of the Forum sessions. The participants of the first plenary session of the Forum identified key problematic points in the development of historical territories, shared successful cases from different Russian regions. All of them, in one form or another, said that the authorities of cities and regions are becoming the main acting factor in the development of historical territories.
«Historic settlements have high potential, it is important to promote their development»
At the first plenary session of the REBUS Forum, the speakers discussed the problems faced by developers, authorities and defenders of architectural cultural heritage in historical centers. More than 200 guests of the forum assembled in the hall for plenary discussions. The participants of the discussion touched the problems of the entire Forum, gave interesting examples of construction and renovation in the historical territories of Russian cities. The plenary session was moderated by Ignat Bushukhin, Editor-in-Chief of RBC Nedvizhimost, and Olesya Baltusova, Assistant to the Head (Rais) of the Republic of Tatarstan, Program Director of the Forum.
The session began with a series of greetings for the participants. Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, delivered a welcoming speech via video link.
- The historical center is the heart and soul of any city, is a reflection of the time of the city just emerging and starting its journey. We must preserve the unique historical monuments of architecture, its heritage and competently integrate it into the historical environment, - said Marat Khusnullin.
Then the participants were greeted by Rustam Minnikhanov, the Tatarstan Head (Rais), who reminded that there are three UNESCO cultural heritage sites, 11 historical settlements of regional significance and 2 objects of federal significance in the Republic.
- An investment in a historic city is a long-term one. It is important to talk of the mechanisms of public-private partnership, of the new approaches, as well as develop effective solutions. Historical settlements have a high potential, it is important to promote their development! - Rustam Minnikhanov said.
Rais of Tatarstan recalled that both the state and private development structures invest a lot in the restoration, reconstruction, and development of historical territories. And it is very important to arrange the approach to this activity in such a way that it is not only socially useful, but also economically justified. Tatarstan has a permanent special interdepartmental commission in charge of these issues, and the republic sees a complex effect from the restoration of monuments. Along with increasing comfort for the inhabitants of these settlements, tourism is developing in the Republic: Rustam Minnikhanov recalled that today the tourist flow to Tatarstan has reached 4 million people!
- I am convinced that each region has its own experience in the development of such territories, and it will be useful for all participants of the event to get acquainted with them! - Rais of Tatarstan concluded his greeting.
Sergey Muzychenko, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Public Utilities of the Russian Federation, read out a greeting from the Minister, Irek Fayzullin, who said about the importance of preserving historical territories in modern conditions, which, if properly implemented, might have great potential. Nikolay Shumakov, President of the Union of Architects of the Russian Federation, said in his greeting that he was always pleased with the unlimited love of the Republic of Tatarstan for its monuments, and with the fact that a lot of experience had already been gained here in the reconstruction and restoration of monuments, not only in Kazan, but throughout the Republic.
A short greeting in video format was also delivered by the vice-mayor of Hangzhou, China (this city being the Kazan's sister city).
«If there is someone who knows how to operate without money, sure it’s not us»
Rais of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, discussing the peculiarities of preserving historical heritage, spoke about the difficulties of this process, in particular for the authorities. On the other hand, according to Rais, serious investment attractiveness may be concealed here, if everything is organized correctly.
- It all started not very rosy: the lady on the left was in serious opposition to us, - Rustam Minnikhanov recalled about the long history of contacts between the Tatarstan authorities and Olesya Baltusova. - But she managed to prove that the authorities are not quite right in many aspects. And we, together with her and with the mayor, developed the rules of the game, invited people who can substantiate how to do it better. And during this time, the historical center of Kazan has become an example for our other historical sites. But most importantly, we have developed competencies. The result - Kazan has become attractive!
According to Rais of the Republic, in preserving the historical environment, it is important not only to conserve architectural monuments, but also to make them interesting for visiting and comfortable. It is also very important to observe the interests of investors, to bring them closer to the interests of environmentalists.
Work is underway in Tatarstan not only in the capital, but also in other cities and villages of the republic. The authorities of the region have learned a lot at the stage of including the Kazan Kremlin into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Co-working with UNESCO is a huge experience in learning the compliance with the rules and requirements. Since 2010 we have been working in Sviyazhsk and Bulgar, and this work has transformed us. Looking at our cities, we know now how they should change: Yelabuga, Chistopol, Tetyushi ... Therefore, we must consider everything as a balanced whole. But nothing works without money. If there is someone who can do it without money, sure it's not us! - joked the Rais of Tatarstan.
«The main thing is to make the system understandable for the investor»
Sergey Muzychenko, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Public Utilities of the Russian Federation, answered Olesya Baltusova's questions in detail about possibility of having comprehensive insight of the territories development, work out a unified programmatic view of historical cities, and unified methods of work. In his opinion, it would be wrong to discuss such issues without the participation of the Ministry of Culture, but of course, it is necessary to develop rules which could be understandable and uniform for everyone.
- I think that in terms of cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the first and most important thing in the investment and construction cycle is to make the system understandable for the investor, - Sergey Muzychenko said. - Unfortunately, there are a lot of questions regarding CHS today. There is such a concept in medicine as “to heal to death”. Thus, the first problem is the necessity to arrange so that the development of rules for preservation of objects does not lead to their loss. Today, we have already established a one-stop window in terms of combining the expertise of project documentation and the environmental expertise. The same work is now being done in terms of historical and cultural documentation, so that in the process of long coordination of work, the object would not be lost or left unattended.
The second problem, according to Sergei Muzychenko, concerns archaeological work. On the one hand, archaeological sites should not be damaged or lost during construction. But even here we need clear rules of the game, because we need to find a balance between scientists, cultural figures and developers.
Sergei Pakhomov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Construction, Housing and Public Utilities, expressed the opinion that it is impossible to regulate the visual environment of the historical center of the city by a single legislative act. The legislator can only be given the instruments of local regulation.
- If the responsible official in charge of the development of the territory loves it himself and clearly understands the essence of the object under construction, then it will be the beginning of everything. Talking of it, Kazan is an example when caring people, even in the existing legal field, do what their job. Of course, we have a set of problems in this part. And first of all, we need to talk about architecture, about urban planning. We need to update the current law, because it does not reflect our needs. The Law on Architecture is still at the start. Therefore, the issues to be discussed today at the sessions and at working meetings are very important.
According to the Member of Parliament, the future lies with legislative changes in the construction procedure, when the developer sticks to the city development plan. Historical territories cannot be considered beyond the context of the city development. Urban development planning should be several steps ahead of the approval of a specific building site. The city must clearly understand and visualize the direction of its development.
The State Duma of the Russian Federation, as Sergei Pakhomov said, is now working on simplifying the process of approvals in construction, on accelerating the entire line of documentation processing; it is looking for a balance between construction, archaeological, historical and cultural expertise; settles the problem with building private individual houses, the appearance of which in the historical center is difficult to regulate; and finalizes part of the legislation concerning the integrated development of territories.
- Together with our colleagues from the CHO, we will start adjusting the basic parts of the legislation, - the Member of the Parliament promised.
The word “confrontation” is not used in Nizhny Novgorod; and “new oil” has been found in Vologda
Marina Rakova, Minister of Urban Planning and Development of Agglomerations of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, spoke about the experience of historical territories development in the capital of the Volga Federal District.
- We do not use the word “confrontation” in Nizhny Novgorod. We have the main word of our communication, and it is: the “key”. And the important steps: public dialogue, compromises, search for images and meanings, - said Marina Rakova.
- For example, the work on the conservation and development of the 170-hectare wide district Zapochainye (next to the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin) was started with a public dialogue. And the good will of the first person of the region became the key to the success of the work. If there is a guarantor, the dialogue can take place, - the speaker said. - The Zapochainye development project has been lasting for three years already; and if at first the business did not believe in it, now 38 billion rubles of private investments have already been attracted to the territory. The authorities are helping, for their part, with infrastructure, reconstruction of roads and park areas. Now a harmonious combination of residential, educational and hospitality facilities is being developed on this territory.
The government in such projects, according to Marina Rakova, should act on an equal footing with business. And people and groups, of course, is the main thing in launching such projects in life.
Ilsur Metshin, the Mayor of Kazan, also spoke about the good will of the regional authorities as an engine of progress. He began with a brief historical digression into the time before the Universiade, when the city authorities walked around the city center on their feet. It turned out that 300 objects needed reconstruction in the city center. The Mayor compared their owners to “dogs in the manger” who did not seek to restore their property in any way, while federal legislation did not regulate the problems in any way. Over time, the consensus has been reached about prohibiting skyscrapers in the center to emerge any longer, about how to preserve the objects that were in a deplorable state. And all this was personally controlled by the President of the Republic.
- But it is hard for the Mayor to resist the pressure of the investors alone. That is why we formulated the PZZ (Land Use and Development Rules), approved local urban planning norms, and created rules that are clear and uniform for everyone. An important milestone was the establishment of a concept for the development of the historical settlement of Kazan. Then we established the City Development Institute. And these tools allow us to solve problems. Kazan has tripled in the amount of parks and squares in 10 years. Our historical center has completely got rid of large billboards and streamers. A lot of work has been done, but the crown of all this is the political will of the leadership. Not a single Mayor could have passed even half of this road without the support of the Head of the region, - said Ilsur Metshin.
Sergey Voropanov, Mayor of Vologda, shared his experience. As in Kazan, the work in Vologda to preserve and restore cultural heritage also began with a confrontation with city defenders. Then a dialogue with them was started. Vologda is a historical settlement of regional significance. It is the center of wooden architecture; the first stone building in the city was built in the 16th century.
- And what did the entrepreneurs do in order for the business to build something on the place of a wooden architectural building? The buildings were just being burned down in our city! And at first city defenders were thought of as urban madmen, but then we began to cooperate closely with them. Since 2020, we have established a project office for wooden architecture objects. 7 objects have been restored, 37 are in operation. New excursion routes are being created for the objects of northern wooden architecture. And now this is our new “oil reserve”, in addition to Vologda lace and Vologda butter! - said Sergey Voropanov. - The fact is that in 2027 the city celebrates its 880 years. We are now pulling up resources for this date and are going to realize the restoration of the Vologda Kremlin.
The issue of protecting cultural heritage has not yet been resolved on a systemic level
Anton Glushkov, President of the National Association of Builders, spoke about the problem from the point of view of a developer. He manifested a slightly different point of view. Analyzing the legislation today, builders see that the issue of protecting cultural heritage has not yet been resolved at the systemic level. 45 cities in Russia today are recognized as settlements of particular importance for the history of the Russian Federation. The number of plots involved in the turnover through the mechanism of integrated development of the territory is growing and there are already 903 of them. But, according to the expert, there are two problems.
- The first is the determination of a historical settlement boundary. The procedure of its changing is very clumsy. - The second is the inaccuracy of the legislation. Supervisory authorities interpret cases when historical objects in the center have not been identified as a lack of information, and force us to conduct historical and cultural examination.
All this hinders development projects. Anton Glushkov joins the opinion of his colleagues and says that the authorities should be the locomotive in the preservation of historical territories and their development. And the developer joins in as the follow-up echelon.
Anvar Shamuzafarov, President of the NOPRIZ (National Association of Surveyors and Planners), spoke about his work. His organization is compiling an Anthology of Russian Historical Cities, which is scheduled for publication early next year. This is a list of cities and villages that were formed and developed before 1914 in the territories of the joint coexistence of the peoples of the Orthodox, Muslim and partly Buddhist civilizations. The expert recalls that in 2001 this list included 480 cities, and in 2012 there were already 1,160 cities and villages. To date, 2371 historical cities and villages have been identified in Russia. Of these, most of all (1087) are in the Volga Federal District. The Central Federal District is in second place 331 historical cities and villages, and the North-Western Federal District with 285 cities and villages is in the third place.
- Tatarstan is doing a very important job today, which amazes greatly: the Encyclopedia of Settlements of the Republic of Tatarstan and it is a great help for us now. It comprises more than 2,000 historical settlements, - said Anvar Shamuzafarov. - And we have already selected a number of cities and villages from this encyclopedia. I hope the Republic will help us to continue this work.
«The authorities should be interested in preserving the heritage that we have»
Denis Sekachev, First Deputy General Director of Tourism of the Russian Federation, JSC, voiced his view on the problem as a specialist who invests in tourist places. And from his point of view, the main factor in the intensive development of historical territories is also the power bodies of the region.
- There are not many cities left in the country that have managed to preserve their architectural code. These cities have the highest investment attractiveness. I have been following the developments in Kazan for many years, and I want to remind you that it has not always been as beautiful and attractive for tourists as it is now. The leadership of the republic and its strong will became the reason for such development. But not only Kazan is developing, but also Sviyazhsk, Bolgar, Yelabuga... Tatarstan has accumulated vast competencies for the preservation and development of cultural heritage.
The expert recalled that when the decision was made to create a 22 billion tourist cluster on the coast of the Kama Sea in Laishevo, they proceeded from the idea that a tourist can travel everywhere every day and get acquainted with the historical heritage.
Concluding the plenary session, Rustam Minnikhanov said:
- Many thanks to everyone who came here. These are not indifferent people. It is clear that the path you have chosen is not easy, it will be even more difficult further. But the Ministry is on our side, and the Duma is with us. The active support of the authorities should be here too. The authorities should be interested in preserving the heritage that we have. I think that during the sessions at this Forum we can reveal many issues. The participants are a team, a family which wants to save our country. We have a very interesting, diverse country, which has so big history, so much heritage that we must preserve!