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A journalist says the Moscow Mayor's Office threatened him after he leaked records from the city’s planning and land commission


Journalist Andrey Novichkov, the coordinator of the “Arkhnadzor” movement, says he started receiving threatening phone calls from the Moscow Mayor’s Office after his group published an archive of meeting minutes from the city’s planning and land commission.

Novichkov says he’s received calls “from telephone numbers at the city planning department,” demanding that he delete the records from the Internet and “report the name of the person who provided the information.” The callers, who refused to identify themselves, allegedly said “the authorities” would find Novichkov and his source, if he didn’t cooperate.

Moscow’s Planning and Land Commission was created in 2010 to “review and make decisions on issues related to the field of urban development.” Mayor Sergey Sobyanin heads the group, whose decisions have the force of mayoral orders for the city’s administrative agencies. On June 18, Novichkov’s group published hundreds of rulings on the demolition of historical buildings and the approval of construction of more than 500 parks and green spaces. Novichkov accuses City Hall of hiding the commission’s decisions illegally.

According to Arkhnadzor, Sobyanin has used the Planning and Land Commission as a “closed decision-making center” to carry out “vandalism” against the city for the past eight years.