The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 28 February 2012. An ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out from 20 to 25 February 2011 and an ICOMOS Advisory mission was undertaken from 29 November to 4 December 2011. Both mission reports are available online at the following Web address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/36COM/documents
a) Management Plan
The report indicates that the development of the management plan started in 2011, through a government contract with the Institute of Economics of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science; work is expected to conclude by the end of 2012. As of the date of the report, the general strategy was developed, the concept structure approved and information collected. It is foreseen the management plan will include provisions for development and use of the site in consideration of its values and protection of authenticity and integrity. The report also states that the Supervising Committee at the Ministry of Culture was established in 2011 and has assessed works carried out for the interventions at the Church of Transfiguration. It also reports that the Kizhi parish of Petrozavodsk eparchy was given legal status in 2011.
The February 2011 mission reported there were two approved planning tools for the property, the Master Plan (1972-95) and the Technical and Economic Plan. It received information on the on-going initiative for the development of an integrated management plan and stated the need to expedite its production to coordinate all activities at the property, including development on KizhiIsland. It noted the importance of balancing the benefits derived from tourism against the negative impacts as it relates to tourism strategies to be considered within the plan. It also called for inclusion of an archaeological monitoring and rescue programme, to be implemented in areas impacted for construction. Finally, it recommended that the draft document be sent to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review prior to approval at the Federal level. Regarding coordination mechanisms among stakeholders, the February 2011 mission noted that the Special State Board had been approved but that the precise membership had yet to be established. It also reported that further information is needed on the proposed new coordinating body for World Heritage properties in Russia, to assess its role and potential function. The November 2011 mission met with the members of the Supervising Committee for discussions on current works and confirmed that it has an active and important role to play in the overall direction of the project.
b) Land use and new development
The State Party indicates that large-scale works on the development of the museum infrastructure have continued and are expected to improve conditions around the Kizhi Museum and Kizhi Pogost. In regard to protected and buffer zones, in December 2011 the Ministry of Culture issued a Decree of Approval for the “Project of protected zones for the Kizhi Pogost Monuments”. It considered four models of land use and town planning for Kizhi Island to ensure development of infrastructure for the Kizhi Museum. These zones, with corresponding regulations for land use and town planning, were fixed within the boundaries of protected landscapes in historic villages. It reports that the loading terminal on Kizhi Island is complete and will receive cargo, allow for mooring of small sized boats and has a ramp for snowmobiles. The project for the Administrative and Public Centre on Kizhi Island is on-going as well as works on electric power supply. A road to connect Velikaya Guba to Oyativtshena Villa has also started. The technical specifications for these works were not included.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the 2010 reactive monitoring mission expressed concern at development proposals within certain areas of the Kizhi Museum-Reserve and considered that these should be immediately halted. In particular it was recommended to significantly reduce the loading near to the Kizhi Pogost and to establish coordination with the Direction of the River Cruises in order to define an appropriate strategy and preventive measures to reduce their negative impact. Notwithstanding this recommendation, no action was implemented by the State Party on this important issue and the apparent intent is to develop more this kind of tourism. As for the Administrative and Public Centre, the mission evaluated the project and did not provide a positive assessment. The findings that recommended its review have apparently not been taken into account as these construction works have continued.
The February 2011 mission reviewed documentation regarding the boundaries of the inscribed property, the buffer zone and land use and regulations. It noted the progress made in this regard and recommended that the documentation be submitted for review prior to approval at the Federal level. Furthermore, upon review of the documentation, the new proposed boundaries should be formally submitted as a request for minor boundary modification according to paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines. It considers that infrastructure and changing land-use, derived from the disappearance of agriculture from the land, continues to represent a threat to the property’s setting. With respect to the Land Use Plan, it underscored that the regulations for the five zones for construction development are not sufficient given that they do not consider provisions for design, visibility analysis, massing, materials, etc. It noted the projects that are in the planning stages and recommended that the planning and design of all new construction be done in the context of the overall management plan and in consideration of the property’s outstanding universal value. Furthermore, the mission considered that all constructions in the vicinity of the Kizhi Pogost or having visual impact should be prevented. The zoning proposal that has been established in coordination with the Kizhi Museum-Reserve and which plans to use all surrounding lands for the Museum and tourism facilities cannot be accepted as it stands given the potential impact on the setting of the property.
c) Restoration works
The State Party reports that the first stage of the restoration process was continued throughout 2011 on a year round basis and has considered the capacity building of restorers. At the Church of the Transfiguration, progress has been made in dismantling the VI and VII restoration tiers, building the foundations for the underground part of the church, the porch and refectory. Second state of interventions, expected to begin in 2012, will correct major deformations in the remaining part of the church and reinforce weak parts. The report also mentions that restoration techniques were tested in two log buildings so as to develop adequate methods and provide hands on training. Restoration work was also carried out on the iconostasis frame of the Church of the Transfiguration by the Moscow Art Research and Restoration Directorate. Actions were also implemented to prepare the Church of the Transfiguration for the winter period.
The missions noted the work carried out in terms of recording and conditions surveys for the areas under restoration. It reported that on-going work is adequate and should continue without interruption so that the deterioration of the material fabric of the Church of the Transfiguration and the Church of the Intercession, which might constitute a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property if left unattended, is comprehensivly and sustainably addressed. The missions highlighted that ongoing practices have taken into account recommendations made by the 2010 mission for repair methods and for the definition of restoration principles. They also consider that further development of guiding principles take into account the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of the property, to ensure that all aspects of authenticity and integrity are taken into account and balanced. The November 2011 mission further positively noted the workmanship and standards, including complying with guidelines developed by ICOMOS for timber restoration that have been maintained in the restoration work and underscored that quality in the interventions will need to be prioritised over speed in implementation. Additional recommendations were made for the interventions, including aspects of log restitution, use of inserts, application of tools and tool marks, among others. They reiterated the need for developing guiding principles to address issues such as the treatment of elements from various periods, treatment of witness marks, introduction of modern materials, and structural reinforcement.
d) Other issues
The State Party report indicates that funding has been allocated for the restoration of the Kizhi Pogost monuments. Site security measures at the property were also improved with a system of infrared scanners which is expected to deter unauthorized access and vandalism. Approval of the project for the outdoor fire fighting system is expected to conclude in 2012 with construction expected throughout 2013. Monitoring of monuments has also continued. Deformations are being assessed through the fixing of reference points on facades of buildings, based on results from the geodetic survey carried out in June and September 2011. No deformations on heights and turns of the monument have been reported. Biodeterioration is also being monitored through regular inspections to detect fungal activity and monitoring of temperature and humidity. Throughout 2011, monuments had overall stable conditions. Preventive measures, undertaken between 2010 and 2011, have improved the microclimate at the Church of the Intercession and eliminated highly humidified areas. Research and outreach activities have continued, including exhibits, TV and radio broadcasts, conferences and publication of research papers and mass media articles. Landscape protection activities included sanitary felling and clearing out of meadows from growth of bushes. As for the landscape management plan, materials have been compiled and a three-dimensional landscape model produced to assist the analysis and ascertain potential impacts so as to develop specific strategies within the management plan for the property.
The 2011 mission notes that funding for the site appears to be adequate at the moment but that threats of delays in approval continue to be a concern since projects are approved on a stage by stage basis. It underscored the need to update funding requirements and the project schedule to ensure continued financial support and approvals to adequately meet protection, restoration and management requirements beyond 2014. With regard to fire protection measures, it recommended implementing the developed plan and considering the addition of an indoor suppression system in the churches and Bell Tower.