Zaporizhzhia city authorities allegedly commissioned the reconstruction of buildings damaged in Russian attacks at overblown prices, and after non-transparent tenders, an investigation by Hromadske published on Oct. 26 said.
Over 500 houses were damaged in Russian strikes on the city, and eight high-rise buildings suffered especially severe damage. The city authorities reportedly allocated Hr 350 million ($10 million) for the reconstruction work in 2023, while the state added an additional 815 million (over $20 million).
As a result, one year's budget for the city's restoration amounted to over Hr 1 billion (around $30 million), Hromadske said.
The news outlet drew attention to a number of violations and suspicious steps in the reconstruction process. Some companies won their contracts without a proper tender, building materials were procured at a higher-than-market value, and some of the firms had connections to former local officials or other politicians, Hromadske said.
For example, the restoration of one building on Sobornyi Avenue in the city's center reportedly cost around Hr 330 million (over $9 million). The journalists said that the cost of restoring a damaged flat in the building – $300,000 – turned out to be much higher than the average price of buying a new one.
Mykola Bielyi, the city's local deputy quoted by Hromadske, noted that it is possible to buy "over 150 apartments on Zaporizhzhia's secondary market" for $4 million. That is less than half of the sum spent on the one building on Sobornyi Avenue, where, as Bielyi said, only 24 apartments were damaged.
Zaporizhzhia Acting Mayor Anatolii Kurtiev told Hromadske that it is misleading to count the prices by a single apartment: "I am telling you again, this is a complete housing complex... Renovating a building is generally more costly than a new building."
The city of Zaporizhzhia, lying only around 40 kilometers north of the front line, often suffers destructive and deadly attacks by Russian forces.