Intrepid blogger, music critic, and St. Petersburg Times journalist Sergey Chernov has assembled a list of English-language publications on the Gazprom tower project (Okhta Center) and the scandals, protests, and resistance campaigns around it. You can access the list here.
While he was compiling the list, Chernov noticed something funny, to wit:
It is telling that the press section of the English-language version of Okhta Center’s official site is empty (as accessed on Oct. 18, 2009).
Most of the international publications express critical opinions about the RMJM-designed 400-meter tower project that is supposed to be built close to St. Petersburg’s historical center. Actually, we have found only two articles praising the Okhta Center skyscraper: one by Tony Kettle, UK Managing Director of RMJM and lead architect on the project; and another by a certain Karim Yergaliyev, on the Inhabitat blog.
Complete with RMJM’s colorful CGI images of the tower, the posting, reprinted on a few other blogs, shamelessly praises the tower for its alleged beauty and eco-friendliness, but a quick Google search showed that the “19-year-old Washington resident Karim Yergaliyev” was previously caught planting “phony stories on behalf of marketers.”
You don’t say! Are we to take it that one of the world’s richest corporations is paying an American teenager to plant positive stories about its lousy skyscraper on the Web?
While you’re contemplating how that is even possible, check out Chernov’s own report on the October 10 demonstration in Petersburg against the skyscraper and other diseases of faux-urbanism. Despite our fears that the demo against Tony Kettle’s brainchild would be kettled, the turnout was huge by Russia’s current dismal standards, and the police laid back.