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investigation 12 Aug 15

Accountability Questions Dog Authors of Skopje 2014

The contracts signed with artists, published in the database for Skopje 2014 uncovered, shows that their calculations often contain rounded sums, not listing details or the meaning of the item “other minor costs” - which in some cases reached up to 5,000 euros.

Meri Jordanovska
BIRN
Skopje

One of the greatest mysteries of the Skopje 2014 project was the part played by the authors , especially artists and creators of the sculptures, monuments and facades.

Before 2010, most were unknown to the general public, and in media appearances they have since often refused to talk about their fees.

“I do not know, my wife runs these things,” Darko Dukovski said when asked about his monuments in 2010. Along with his wife, he was the author of two lions on the Goce Delchev bridge.

“When you ask me this question, is just like you are cursing me,” Konstantin Janev, author of the other two lions, said in the same year.

BIRN found the contracts signed with authors that are published in the database Skopje 2014 uncovered. 

Calculations of the authors often contain rounded sums, not listing details of how many and which workers and sculptors were hired, which hangar was rented or, the meaning of the item “other minor costs,” which in some cases reached up to 5,000 euros.

The obtained data allow for comparative analyses of who the highest-paid authors were, which companies were typically hired to produce architectural designs, as well as the amounts paid to physical and legal entities.

Analysis of the documents shows the top five authors (physical and legal entities) that received the highest fees for the Skopje 2014 project are Valentina Stevanovska, the companies Neimar Engineering  and Arhitektonika, Zarko Baseski and Angel Korunovski.

Valentina Stevanovska

More than 130 physical or legal entities were involved in the preparation of designs for Skopje 2014. One fifth of the total fees for all authors of Skopje 2014 went to a single author, Valentina Stevanovska.

The total compensation for the authors of Skopje 2014 was around 15 million euros, a fifth of which went to Stevanovska.

On January 6, 2012, when the Triumphal Arch was officially opened, she stood shoulder to shoulder with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. “I can say that all these attacks on the innocent artists of the Skopje 2014 project made some of them famous, and some of them more famous than before. Of course, with the help of their work, but also with great help from the opponents,” Gruevski said.

Stevanovska was not previously well known for public works of sculpture. Her biography states that the only sculpture she worked on, before she became involved in Skopje 2014, was a sculpture of Ljuben Lape at the school of the same name in the city’s Aerodrom municipality.

Stevanovska graduated in 2004 from the Faculty of Fine Arts. She received her MA in 2007 and became a junior assistant in sculpture. During that time, she began to get involved in the Skopje 2014 project, designing the Triumphal Arch, “Equestrian Warrior” at Macedonia Square, “The Warrior” (Phillip of Macedonia), several sculptures on the Oko (Eye) Bridge, “The Horseman” in Gazi Baba and “Hristo Tatarcev” monument.

At the same time, she appears as a donor of several monuments set up around the capital. One personal donation is the monument of Boris Sarafov. In 2014, at the newly opened primary school Alexander the Great, during the first celebration in honour of their patron, a monument of Alexander standing 3.5 meters high was officially unveiled, also a personal donation of Stevanovska’s.

That same year, she donated two of the seven new monuments placed in the centre of Skopje, which were unveiled at the celebration marking 23 years of Macedonia’s independence. Stevanovska’s works also include the monument of Nikola Petrov Rusinski, which is placed near the university library and one of St Lydia, placed in Mother of God Square.

However, the seven monuments were donated by the mysterious Association of Setinci, Popadinci and Krushoradi of Florina, chaired by Tashko Jovanov, who has refused to talk in public about the origin of the funding behind the donation of so many monuments.
Stevanovska told the media that she made the monuments without payment.

“I did not get any money, I made them for free. An older person contacted me to design them and then the association covered the costs of casting the monuments,” she said in September 2014.

The author’s fees included materials, leasing space and clay

For long there were rumours about how much Stevanovska and other artists who worked on Skopje 2014 project earned. For “Equestrian Warrior”, the monument located on Macedonia Square, the initially mentioned sum was 650,000 euros.

Stevanovska said this amount included the costs, while the royalties amounted to 50,000 euro. Some artists have complained that their fees were next to nothing, but the documents and calculations collected by BIRN provide insight into their calculations and contracts.

Looking at how Stevanovska made her calculations for “Equestrian Warrior”, it is clear that under “author’s fee” she also included the costs of the preliminary design, materials, workers, transport of gypsum and clay, and more. The document did not specifically list the sum for each item separately, however. According to the former mayor of Centar municipality, Vladimir Todorovic, the authors did not report how the money was spent.

“These are the costs provided to us by the authors and we did not check if these are factual, but in the negotiations the committee always tries to cut them and not to approve them,” Todorovic said in 2013, when reporting on the Skopje 2014 project.

“I hope all authors were honest,” he added.

It remains an open question how the item “author's fees” can include the cost of workers, the procurement of materials and of renting space, and when none of the author can provide precise details on how such funds were spent.

Looking at the costs of other authors, it is also clear that money spent on drinks, the rent of hangars, workers, transport and more come under “royalties” in the contracts with the municipality of Centar.

For example, in the construction of Tsar Samoil, author Dimitar Filipovski forecast 16,200 euros for renting a hangar of 300 square metres for nine months. For food, drinks and coffee he foresaw a sum of around 32 euros per day, and 1,000 euros for other costs. The royalties for this monument are 20,000 euros and Filipovski’s collaborators took 700 euros per month.

The expenditures vary significantly from author to author. The author of the monument Macedonian defenders predicted that he would need 3,000 euros for renting space and an additional 3,000 for lighting and heating the space.

Under the item “other minor materials and services,” the author stated an amount of 5,000 euros, not stating that he would receive a fee for producing the work. For the associates’ fee, Kiril Mukaetov foresaw 11,000 euros, but he did not specify in the financial plan how many associates he intended to hire, or for how long. Mukaetov calculated that it would take 79,000 euros to produce this work.

Some official contracts with the authors did not state whether the final amount included taxes, either.

They did not make monuments, but received awards

In some of the documents BIRN has obtained, it can be seen that the same artists received a series of cash prizes for their designs. They did not actually make the monuments or sculptures but were awarded for their designs submitted in the competitions.

Angel Korunovski, sculptor from Veles, received 8,300 euros only for his awarded designs, while Ismet Ramichevic about 7,000 euros

Angel Korunovski received a about 3,252 euros award in the contest for the preliminary design for Tsar Samuil monument, around 2,000 euros on the same grounds for “Hristo Uzunov”, a third prize of 1,000 euros for “Pavel Satev” and second prize of 2,000 euros for “Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu”. Thus, the artist from Veles has taken around 8,300 euros only for awards.

Darko Dukovski, one of the authors of Skopje 2014

Darko and Elena Dukovski  received 1,000 euros for their purchased design for “The Warrior”, around 820 euros for their purchased design for “Nikola Karev”, 1,000 euros for their purchased design for “Equestrian Warrior”... Zarko Baseski took around 2,500 euros award for “The Warrior”, 3,000 euros together with Jovan Stefanovski Zan, Ivana Stefanovska and Goran Stojanovski for “Equestrian Warrior”.

Ismet Ramikevic was awarded with 2,500 euros for "Cyril and Methodius", for his design for “Sts Clement and Naum” was purchased for 1,000 euros and the second prize of around 4,000 euros for “Macedonian defenders”. In total, this author received more than 7,000 euros only for awards.

For the monument of “Metodi Andonov – Cento,  Aleksandar Ivanovski – Karadare” received the first prize of about 4,800 euros in the competition. However, the monument was actually made by Dimitar Filipovski who won the second prize of 3,252 euros. Aleksandar Ivanovski’s design for the monument “Nikola Karev” was also awarded with more than 800 euros.

It is almost impossible to determine how much money was spent only on the awards for the artists granted by a special committee established under a decision of the Municipality of Centar.

According to the documents available to BIRN, it can be calculated that the mean value for awards at one competition (first, second, third prize and two purchased designs) was about 113,000 euros.

See an updated gallery of Skopje 2014 here.

 

 

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