Capitalist “Hoodini” – A government “sports palace” turns into a private fitness centre after construction


Free-market magic

A typical situation for modern Russia took place in the city of Orenburg. Back in 2014, local authorities announced the construction of a government Water Sports Palace. In summer, government authorities laid the first memorial stone and as a result.. opened a private fitness centre! The price of a club card without a discount is 60 thousand rubles (twice the average wage in the region). Honestly.. as usual, there is only one class that can afford to pay the price for a fitness “transformation”.

The local press writes that the history of the palace turned out to be very confusing. The construction of the Palace was even announced and the foundation stones set by none other than the former governor of the Orenburg Region – Yuri Berg. However, the matter did not budge further than the foundation stone. After 2014 the construction site was abandoned and in 2016 the authorities quietly cut down a banner pointing to the site of the future sports complex. Two more years later, Berg himself said that the project could not be implemented because the ruble suffered a collapse.

At the beginning of 2019 work began at the construction site and six months later, the city administration announced that a “sports complex” with a swimming pool was being built. Regional Sports Minister Pavel Samsonov confirmed in September 2020 that the “Water Sports Palace” will open by the end of the year. In December, this official was suddenly removed from office and local journalists discovered an announcement of the opening of a sports club on the website of one of the capital’s fitness centre chains. The address of the club coincides with the address of the building and the price of club membership without a discount was 60 thousand rubles. With a discount – 20 thousand, but for that, you need to buy the card now and you will not be able to use it for another 8 months.

We managed to find out a small detail of this story. As it turns out, at the beginning of 2019 the construction site was transferred to a certain LLC ListPromStroy, which began the construction of a fitness centre. The company which bought the construction site is indicated as Territoria Fitnessa – a network of fitness clubs (“Fitness Territory”). On the website of this fitness chain, the opening of a club with the same address as the address of the construction site of the Water Sports Palace was indeed announced. The opening date is August 2021. Information about the cost of club cards has also been confirmed, as can be seen here.

And there you have it, folks! This is how the public Water Sports Palace, which was mean to be accessible to all – mysteriously turned into a paid fitness club owned by a private shop. We could not find any comments from the local authorities on this situation.