RUSSIALINK: “Waking the Russian Spirit of Urbanism; Urban renewal could become a new doctrine of patriotism” – Moscow Times/ Sergei Kapkov

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

“… They’ve looked around and realized that Russian cities are not nearly as beautiful as they could be, and in addition to amusement park rides and shish kebab stands, they can build skate parks and dance floors. And the harsh Russian climate is no obstacle to developing urban cycling. …”  

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Moscow’s Makeover Swaps Soviet Grit for Urban Sparkle; Smart city apps, historically accurate trees, a working subway. While Washington obsesses over sanctions and hacks, Russia is rebranding its capital as a model of urban planning.

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Valerie Stivers – August 10, 2017) [Text with photos bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-10/moscow-s-makeover-swaps-soviet-grit-for-urban-sparkle] Moscow felt medieval when I first arrived almost 20 years ago, in January 1998, seeking adventure. There were few billboards, advertisements, or shop windows filled with merchandise. The women working at my local producti, or small grocery store, wore shawls, had moles and wens, and weighed […]

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Moscow’s Facelift as Modernization

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – July 27, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital Central Moscow has been a scene of digging […]

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Muscovites Hesitant to Protest Housing Demolition Scheme, Poll Finds

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 24, 2017) Only one-third of Muscovites who voted against a controversial housing demolition program would participate in protests against the scheme, according to a poll published by independent pollster the Levada Center. The poll, conducted at the request of the RBC news outlet, revealed that 34 percent of those living in apartment blocks who […]

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Thousands Protest In Moscow Against Plan To Raze Soviet-Era Housing

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – May 14, 2017 – ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-moscow-protests-demolition-krushchev-era-housing/28487244.html) MOSCOW — Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Moscow to protest the proposed demolitions of Soviet-era housing blocks in the Russian capital. The May 14 protest, held on a wide central Moscow street named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, marked […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s 2016 performance results and its current activities, including the prospects for developing mortgage lending, and new financial support mechanisms for the defence industry and agricultural sector businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, concerning the bank’s performance, we know […]

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Putin Orders Demolition of Moscow’s Iconic Post-War Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – February 21, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete demolition of Moscow’s post-war Khrushchevkas: Soviet housing blocks which once offered hope to millions of families after World War II. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Tuesday that 1.6 million Muscovites were still living in the buildings, many of which were […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Men, Alexander Novak, Nikolai Nikiforov, Vitaly Mutko at] Meeting with Government members

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(kremlin.ru – February 1, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss possibilities for further developing treasury monitoring of budget spending, the situation with co-funded housing development, and a number of other current issues. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we will discuss the results of work and further development for treasury monitoring of budget spending. […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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Deconstructing Moscow’s Constructivist Legacy

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 9, 2016) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/deconstructing-moscows-constructivist-legacy/571579.html] When Moscow city deputy Alexandra Parushina asked the men in bulldozers if they had permission to tear down a 1920s housing estate in her constituency on June 6, security guards threw her to the ground. While they held her down, injuring her leg, the demolition began. […]

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Moscow’s authoritarian future

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

Recent moves against Moscow’s street traders don’t only violate Russia’s Constitution and hurt the economy. They also consolidate the regime’s power. (opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – March 9, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. The overnight demolition of 104 street kiosks in Moscow last month […]

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Moscow’s Overnight Demolition Blitz Sparks Legal Debate

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova, Vasily Kolotilov – February 11, 2016) You could hear a young woman yelling, but her voice was diluted in the sound of bulldozers, smashed glass and metal. “What are you doing?! There are people still in there! Stop it!” she said. Several police officers stood outside, watching the bulldozer do its work without […]

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Economic Crisis Empties Moscow Central Streets

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – August 25, 2015) Even though Moscow retail property owners are increasingly willing to offer favorable lease terms to clients, Moscow’s central streets continue to lose their tenants who are forced to close their outlets due to the economic crisis. In the first half of the year, the vacancy rate in prime locations […]

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Etalon still building as world huffs, puffs, tries to blow Russia’s house down

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – June 24, 2015) The world may be huffing and puffing and trying to blow Russia’s house down. But the house made of brick is proving to be a match for sanctions and falling oil prices, to the extent that Russia’s leading residential developer Etalon Group continues to see its business prosper […]

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Russians With Houses on State Land Get Right to Buy Plots at Discount

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 31, 2015) Russians with homes and cottages located on state-owned land now have the exclusive right to buy that land – and at a reduced rate, according to an order signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the government’s website Monday. “For a citizen possessing a residence, dacha or garage on the […]

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Moscow Renews Demolition Crusade Against Khrushchev’s 1950s Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mark Lammey – June 10, 2014) Demolition men have flattened 1,451 of Moscow’s Khrushchevki – cheaply built 1950’s apartment blocks that were never meant to make it into the 21st century – in the last 15 years, as part of a foundering plan by ex-Mayor Yury Luzhkov to freshen up residential areas, the head of […]

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Russians Paying Up to Turn Rubles Into Homes: Mortgages

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Lyubov Pronina – June 4, 2014) Denis Ichetkin’s decision to get a mortgage for a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Moscow in late January couldn’t have been better timed, he said. The 30-year-old journalist and his wife Veronika secured a 15-year loan from VTB Group with a 12 percent interest rate before Russia’s March incursion […]

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Dacha Sales Down But Not Out

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 21, 2014) Real estate specialists say its necessary to head 60 kilometers beyond the MKAD to find quality low cost dachas. If you are dreaming of your own summer cottage in the Russian countryside, now might be the time to start shopping, as real estate specialists report prices on Moscow dachas and land plots […]

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Housing Still the ‘Dream’ and Frequently Out of Reach

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 16, 2013) Affordable housing remains a dream for most Russian families, whose average monthly income is not enough for a mortgage to buy even a half of a two-bedroom apartment, according to research conducted by Finexpertiza consulting firm. A survey by the Public Opinion Foundation, showed that a two-bedroom apartment is the “Russian dream,” […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Publishes Draft Law Restricting Foreign Land Ownership – Paper

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has published a draft law that will bar foreigners from owning or renting land in the country without official permission, a Russian newspaper reported Wednesday. The publication of the document follows reported consultation between government ministries, security services and migration agencies. Experts have warned the move could affect the country’s investment climate. According […]

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Introduction of Property Tax Postponed Until 2015

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 21, 2013) The introduction of the widely discussed new real estate tax that is set to replace the old system of levying fees on property with a market-oriented approach will not take place until 2015, a news report said. The bill was submitted to the government in August, but needs to be revised and […]

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Russia Preparing Property Restrictions for Foreigners – Paper

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 16, 2013) Russia is drafting changes to the law that will bar foreigners from owning or renting real estate in the country without official permission, a state-owned newspaper said Wednesday. The Economic Development Ministry told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that it is in consultation about the legislation with law enforcement and migration agencies including the Federal Security […]

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40% of Property Ownership a Mystery to Government

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 10, 2013) The ownership of about 40 percent of all real estate properties in Russia is a complete mystery to the government, the Federal Tax Service said, creating a massive blind spot that could obstruct the Finance Ministry’s proposal to bring in a tax on real estate, a news report said Thursday. The problem […]

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Russia’s Wealthiest Selling Apartments in Moscow and Fleeing Country, Realtors Say

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 14, 2013) Many in the Russian Federation and the West were shocked when European countries recently published figures showing that thousands of Russians are now seeking asylum or at least permanent residence abroad, but Russian realtors say that behind these numbers is an even more disturbing one. Ever more wealthy Russians […]

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Sobyanin Daughter’s Apartment Triggers Controversy

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 13, 2013) A seven-story apartment complex on a quiet Moscow street just a five minute walk from the Cabinet building is widely known as the White House, not only thanks to the color of its facade. The house is reportedly home to high-profile government officials inhabiting vast apartments valued at millions […]

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Expectations High for New Moscow One Year On

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – July 16, 2013) [The Development of New Moscow One Year On chart here: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/expectations-high-for-new-moscow-one-year-on/482838.html] A little over a year after the territory of the city of Moscow more than doubled in size, real estate prices are stabilizing, and expectations for improving infrastructure are high. On July 1, 2012, almost 150,000 hectares of […]

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For $50 Million You Too Can Enter Putin Moscow Playhouse

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stepan Kravchenko, Evgenia Pismennaya & Irina Reznik – July 10, 2013) Josef Stalin built a massive luxury apartment compound across the river from the Kremlin to both reward and spy on his closest comrades. The one Vladimir Putin built for his clique is smaller and harder to find. Tucked among a warren of Soviet-era structures about […]

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It’s a jungle out there

File Photo of Moscow Apartment Building

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – January 14, 2013) When asked how she became qualified to work as a real estate agent, Emma became defensive. “I don’t want to tell you,” she told The Moscow News. “I’m a realtor now, and that’s all you need to know.” Emma was the broker that Elliott Estebo, an expat English teacher, […]

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