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Moscow City Hall has been planning its supposedly ‘grassroots’ resettlement and demolition project since 2014

Meduza

The Moscow Mayor’s Office spent several years developing plans for the mass resettlement of thousands of people and demolition of thousands of homes throughout the city, before presenting the proposal as a grassroots initiative in early 2017. In a special report for Meduza, Ivan Golunov discovered that a research center called “City Development” has been modeling the mass resettlement of Muscovites from Soviet-era apartment buildings since 2014, with funding from Moscow's Urban Development and Construction Complex.

For the past three years, “City Development” worked on plans to resettle residents in 42 different Moscow districts, all of which except one were later included in a public vote for Moscow’s controversial renovations program.

The idea for a mass demolition of Soviet-era five-story apartment buildings in Moscow was first formally proposed on February 7, 2017, by Babushkinsky representative Alexey Lisovenko at a congress of the Council of Municipal Deputies. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin was present, and he responded by saying the city needed “unconventional solutions.” Curiously, news about Lisovenko’s proposal appeared on the website of Moscow’s Urban Development and Construction Complex 40 minutes before the council meeting ever started.

Meduza’s sources in the Mayor’s Office claim officials wanted to wait to announce the new renovations project until late 2017, after the city finishes an earlier demolition initiative started under Moscow’s previous mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. The new plan for mass resettlement and renovations belongs to Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova, according to sources in the Urban Development and Construction Complex. City Hall refused to comment on Rakova’s role in the project.

Meduza’s full report, in Russian, can be found here.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin first announced the city’s plans to demolish and rebuild thousands of homes at a meeting with President Putin in February 2017. The Mayor’s Office also drafted amendments to federal legislation to pave the way for this initiative.

Following the results of voting across Moscow, 5,144 apartment buildings now have a date with the wrecking ball. Resettlement and demolition are scheduled to be completed by 2032. The program is expected to cost several trillions of rubles, and it will be financed completely with the city’s resources.