NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Wednesday that the country’s supreme courts be relocated to St. Petersburg.
It will take up to two and a half years and about 50 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) to move the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court’s Judicial Department, and the Supreme Arbitration Court to the country’s second largest city from Moscow, Vladimir Kozhin, head of the presidential property management administration, said.
The relocation could “begin soon,” he added.
The relocation costs would be partially covered by the selloff of the courts’ buildings and other properties in central Moscow, Kozhin said.
“In two to two-and-a-half years all the courts will have been moved to St. Petersburg,” he said.
Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev said there is no question of merging all the top courts into one. Each court will have a representative office in Moscow.
The Supreme Court currently has a total of 60,000 square meters of space with about 2,000 personnel. The Supreme Arbitration Court has about 20,000 square meters and a staff of 550.
Putin earlier said Russia already has “positive experience” in the relocation of the Constitutional Court, which was moved to St. Petersburg in 2008.
The relocation cost 25 times more than originally planned: 5 billion rubles instead of 200 million.