Alexander Dybal for the Večernje novosti daily: The Temple is a monument to Serbian-Russian friendship

Aleksandr Dybal, a member of “Gazprom Neft” BoD, for “Novosti” on the donation for the completion of works on the shrine in Vračar: We have long cherished Serbia and its people. Four million euros for the mosaic for the dome of 1,230 square metres

Our nations have centuries of strong spiritual connections and we hope that the Temple of Saint Sava will become the greatest monument to Russian-Serbian friendship, which successfully resists the ravages of time.

Alexander Dybal, member of Gazprom Neft Board of Directors
Alexander Dybal, member of Gazprom Neft Board of Directors

This was stated by Alexander Dybal, member of Gazprom Neft Board of Directors. He underlined that the amount of €4 million, which this company has allocated for completion of works on the Temple in Vračar, will be intended for technical works on the mosaic of the dome, which spreads on 1,230 m². Artistic design was already adopted, and the next step is the selection of the best contractor, with which Gazprom Neft will sign a contract.

Gazprom Neft sees itself not only as the biggest investor in Serbia, but also as a company for which Serbian and Russian cultural heritage have exceptional value

– We will work on all technical issues with Serbian and Russian participants in the project. Representative of the Russian Government, as Project Coordinator, will be Rossotrudnichestvo, organization of Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry. On the Serbian side, Project Coordinator is the Main Board of the Society for the Construction of the Temple.

What motivated you to help build the Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade?

– A big social support program has started with the arrival of Gazprom Neft in 2009, and among other, this support was focused on preservation of historical heritage and culture of Serbia. By now, we have invested €32 million. The Saint Sava Temple is the second largest project in the context of preserving the historical heritage of Serbia. Before that, we conducted the reconstruction of the Russian Necropolis at the New Cemetery in Belgrade, where Russian and Serbian soldiers who died in World War I rest. We also reconstructed the “Iverska” chapel, as well as the monument to Russian soldiers and to Emperor Nicholas II, towards whom Serbia has a special relation because of his decision to enter the war to protect a brotherly country.

In 1980s, I was a student of the Russian school in Serbia. For me personally, participation in these projects is of particular importance. I am also proud of the fact that Gazprom Neft sees itself not only as the biggest investor in Serbia, but also as a company for which Serbian and Russian cultural heritage have exceptional value. Serbia is probably the closest country to us, with which we do not share a border.

You mentioned the signing of the grant contract for works on the Temple. How will these funds be spent?

– We plan to choose a contractor together with Rossotrudnichestvo, based on results of the contest, and this contractor will be responsible for mosaic decoration of the dome, according to the selected creative solution. An agreement was made with the President of Serbia that the Main Board of the Society for the Construction of the Temple will conduct the control of all works in accordance with the determined solution. Both Russian and Serbian representatives are members of this Society.

Our nations have centuries of strong spiritual connections and we hope that the Temple of Saint Sava will become the greatest monument to Russian-Serbian friendship, which successfully resists the ravages of time.

Did Gazprom Neft as the investor have any specific demands regarding the implementation of works?

– We are not competent for the making of mosaics and church architecture. This is why, in cooperation with Rossotrudnichestvo and the Main Board of the Society for the Construction of the Temple, we will hire experts with experience in realization of similar projects in Orthodox temples. We intend to cede control over the quality and compliance of conducted works with the selected artistic design to our subsidiary, NIS, which will attract qualified experts from the field of mosaic decoration. The entire process will be managed by Kirill Kravchenko, CEO of NIS, who enjoys complete trust of both Serbian and Russian side.

Despite the global energy crisis, you also support a number of cultural events in Serbia. What are your reasons for making investments in non-commercial activities?

– We don’t have a formal obligation to engage in donations, i.e. sponsorship projects in Serbia. Of course, this does not prevent us from investing more than €5 million in these projects every year. These are difficult times for the oil industry, but that won’t stop us from increasing our investments in non-commercial projects in 2016. We have a really special relationship towards Serbia, Serbian people and its historic heritage, which we consider to be a common cultural heritage. For this reason, Gazprom Neft supports a great number of cultural projects in Serbia. There is the support to the “Bolshoi” Music Festival, which we have successfully organized for the third year in cooperation with Emir Kusturica. This unique music festival is our way of offering support to young talents from music schools and academies from Serbia, Republic of Srpska and Russia. This year we have supported the realization of international film festival “Kustendorf” in Serbia. Gazprom Neft was the organizer of a number of exhibitions of Russian photographers in Belgrade…

And what about sport projects supported by the Company, do you plan to reduce investments?

– Gazprom Neft is the general sponsor of FC Red Star since 2010, and we will support this club this year as well. At the same time, our subsidiary, NIS, is the sponsor of Partizan Basketball Club. We will continue to support both clubs in the future.

 

 

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