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Sculptors Earn Fortunes From Revamp of Skopje

May 10, 2013

A recent report reveals the millions of euro paid in fees to the sculptors involved in the revamp of the capital called “Skopje 2014”.

Darko Duridanski, Balkan Insight, 26.04.2013


Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

For the first time since the launch of the project, the government on Monday presented an official financial report, which confirmed rumours of the hefty fees paid to the sculptors.

Valentina Stevanovska, author of some of the main statues that form part of the project, including the equestrian statue of Alexander the Great, one of his father, Philip, as well as a triumphal arch, earned 2.9 million euro in fees, the report showed.

Like many of her colleagues involved in the project, Stevanovska was a complete unknown before being awarded commissions to design the grand statues.

For the 24-metre-high Alexander statue on Skopje’s central square, Stevanovska earned 649,000 euro while for another square dominated by the statue of Philip and his wife, Olympia, she earned 1.4 million euro.

The authors of other monuments do not come close to Stevanovska in terms of earnings, but some have obtained serious sums.

Tome Adjievski got 130,000 euro for a massive “Monument of Macedonian Heroes”. His colleague, Mile Brceski, earned 114,991 euro for the equestrian statue of the Ottoman-era revolutionary, Todor Aleksandrov.

Zarko Baseski was paid 113,000 euros for sculpting three monuments of Macedonian revolutionaries and Christian saints.

About 100,000 euros went to Zoran Kostovski for the monument called “Macedonia” while Grozdanka Kanikova got 97,000 euro for three smaller sculptures, called “Girl”, “Fish” and “The Observer”.

Drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of Classical antiquity, the project has seen the erection of some 30 tall bronze and marble statues so far, with more on the way.

The project also envisages the construction of some 20 other buildings, including museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices whose construction in most cases is finished or underway.

Since it was unveiled, the project has attracted much criticism about the selected artistic styles, the cost of the work and the transparency of the contracts given to the architects and designers.

List of authors fees contained in the financial report

According to the government report, the total cost of the project so far is 208 million euros, but the opposition and critics say that the real value could be from half to one billion euros.

Suspecting financial crime, On Thursday, the newly elected mayor of Skopje’s municipality of Centar, Andrej Zernovski, home of the controversial revamp, ordered halt to all works related to the project and announced a revision of the work of his predecessor Vladimir Todorovic.

During Todorovic’s term the municipality played an important role in the distribution of government money for the revamp. The municipality was particularly in charge for the construction of monuments.

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