MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government is planning to allocate about $2 billion in projects that are linked directly with the preparation for the Expo 2020 World Fair if Russia’s fourth largest city of Yekaterinburg wins the bid, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.
According to Dvorkovich, who is the head of the EXPO-2020 organizing committee, the funds will cover the preparation of the location, the construction of pavilions and operational expenses during the six-month event.
“In our estimate, this sum will total about $2 billion, or more than 60 billion rubles, which will be taken from various sources, from budgets of different levels,” Dvorkovich said on Monday in an interview with Voice of Russia radio.
“The profits will not be high, but we are planning to turn the project profitable by 2022 using the infrastructure created for the event,” he said, adding that part of the profits will go to the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) and another part will remain in Russia.
“This is a project that will boost the development of the city [Yekaterinburg] and will not be a burden for taxpayers,” he added.
Late last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev threw their support behind Yekaterinburg’s bid during a visit by the BIE inspection commission. The Russian lawmakers have also unanimously backed the project.
If the bid – to be decided on by late November – is successful, Yekaterinburg, located in the Ural Mountains dividing Europe and Asia, would also have to attract an estimated $10 billion to $15 billion in private investment.
Russia has never hosted a world fair expo, but has taken part in most of them. The event – an international demonstration of technical and technological achievement by states, organizations and individuals alike – has been held every five years since 1851, with the first in London. The host for 2015 will be Milan.
Yekaterinburg’s competitors in Expo 2020 bid, called “The Global Mind: The Future of Globalization and Its Impact on Our World,” are Izmir in Turkey, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Sao Paolo in Brazil and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.