Russia: Moscow Saved The Planetarium!

Light at End of Tunnel for Planetarium
from Moscow News

Moscow’s beleaguered planetarium may open its dome to the heavens next year, following a struggle for funding and ownership that now puts the Moscow Government firmly in control. “The Planetarium will open for Muscovites and guests of the city, if we can resolve all legal questions relating to bankruptcy,” announced Vladmir Silkin, Director of the Moscow based Complex for Property and Land Relations.

The planetarium was declared bankrupt in May this year, with the Federal tax service, the Moscow City Property Development Department and construction company Energo­mashkonsalting as the main creditors. The bankruptcy receiver, Alexei Tarasov, announced then that the institution’s debts stood at $72 million.

Staff at the planetarium said that the building had been forcibly taken by “raiders” in March, after the city halted funding. The previous Director, Igor Mikitasov, was dismissed when the city brought a new company in to manage the site. The city government, which owns a 61 percent stake, had stopped funding for reconstruction in February after it was revealed that the planetarium owed $380,000 to Energo­mash­konsalting. The government later paid the debt and a sign on the outside now announces that the Mos­cow government is paying for the renovation and restoration of the landmark institution. Thus, fears that the planetarium will not be completed due to the prime real estate which it sits seem unfounded.

The planetarium was an important academic facility in the Soviet Union and served as an education center for soviet cosmonauts, including the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. Closed since 1991, young Muscovites are unfamiliar with what was once a strong focus of a Soviet education.

“A whole generation has grown up without the planetarium,” its Science Directow, Faina Rubliova, lamented to The Moscow News.

I wrote an article about this several months back and Have watched to see what Moscow would do about it. Looks like Moscow did the right thing.

Kyle & Svet

PS: We can not wait to go!