A funding crisis at the Kremlin museums has left premises in a poor state of repair and the main bell tower covered in scaffolding for the foreseeable future. Financing of the museums stopped in November 1995, and now the federal budget can only afford to pay the salaries of their staff. When, in February 1996, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin assigned 26 billion rubles ($5.2 mn) for restoration in preparation for the 850th anniversary of Moscow, the museum directorate began work immediately, using its own meager funds. However, more did not follow, and now restoration workers are being kept on the job only by promises of payment. Now, many of the ancient buildings are set to spend the winter without protective outer layers of stone, and long-term damage is probable.
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