The Italian construction firm “Impredzhilo” has restarted negotiations on reconstructing the Makhachkala International Sea Trading Port, the strategic Russian warm-water port located on the Caspian Sea. According to the business plan approved at the beginning of the year by Russia’s economics ministry, twelve new moorings will be constructed by the year 2007, at a rough cost of US$500 million, which will bring the total amount of freight shipped into the port to eleven million tons per year. In five years, the modernized port will have paid for itself and will be bringing in more than US$20 million a year in profits (Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 19).
Back in 1994, Dagestan’s government and Impredzhilo signed an agreement to the effect that the Italian side will finance half the cost of the port’s modernization under Russian government guarantee. It was envisaged that the work would begin at the end of the summer of 1998. But the mass disorder in Makhachkala in May of this year, along with the unprecedented upsurge of political terrorism in the republic in the summer and the autumn, forced a postponement of the project. The renewal of negotiations with the Italian firm is connected to the plans of the large American oil company Mobil to transport oil from Turkmenistan through Makhachkala. If the plan to reconstruct the Makhachkala International Sea Trading Port is realized, the Dagestani capital will become Russia’s largest port on the Caspian, which may, in turn, have an impact on the shipment of Iranian merchandise through Turkey and Mediterranean Sea ports in Europe (Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 19).
RUSSIA CRACKS DOOR TO ESTONIAN CULTURAL TREASURE.