UNESCO concerned about Moscow Kremlin's future

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee may remove the Moscow Kremlin from the list of world heritage properties in 2013, Irina Zaika, the academic secretary of the Russian Architects Union's Heritage Council, told the daily Izvestia.

"UNESCO said in a letter to the Russian Architects Union that it is deeply alarmed and demanded a report on how this property is being maintained," Izvestia writes, citing the letter.

"Russian historical and cultural monuments were not discussed at the summer session in St. Petersburg, but they will definitely be on the agenda in 2013," Zaika said.

UNESCO wants to be informed by February 1 2013 in what condition this cultural monument is, and how the maintenance instructions and plans are being fulfilled. All of these issues will be discussed and a decision on them will be made, according to Izvestia.

Natalya Samover, coordinator of the Arkhnadzor architectural oversight public organization, said three construction projects are underway in the Kremlin - reconstruction of Building 14, and construction of a technical facility in Tainitsky Garden and of two pavilions on both sides of Kutafya Tower. "The construction is going on near the cultural heritage properties, in violation of all internal laws and the convention of the conservation of the world heritage. Moreover, none of the projects was negotiated with UNESCO," Samover told Izvestia.

Spokesman for the Kremlin Property Department Viktor Khrekov has confirmed that all of the cited construction projects are well underway, noting that they had been put through all approval procedures with Russian oversight agencies. "If UNESCO wants to be provided with reports, it should turn to the Culture Ministry, for instance," Khrekov said.

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