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Moscow Urban Renewal Scheme Clears Hurdle

Russian capital due to be transformed as thousands of Soviet-era apartment buildings fall to the wrecking ball.

15 June 2017

Russian lawmakers have passed a bill outlining a gigantic urban renewal project that could see up to 1.6 million Muscovites moved to new homes.

 

The bill was significantly altered after large protests against the original plan. Several dozen people demonstrated outside parliament during yesterday’s vote, The Moscow Times writes.

 

In February, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said thousands of 1950s and 1960s five-story apartment buildings, fondly dubbed “Khrushchevki” after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, were too decrepit to be renovated and should be torn down, with their residents resettled in new accommodation elsewhere.

 

Thousands of people joined protests against the plan in May as fears grew that it would give developers a free hand to transform large areas of the city and allow authorities to resettle people far from their old homes.

 

For the second reading of the bill on 9 June, lawmakers introduced 126 amendments to make it more palatable, The Moscow Times says.

 

According to RT, where the initial draft stated only that residents must be given “equal” apartments, the bill now specifies that new apartments must be no smaller than those to be demolished and have the same number of rooms or more.

 

The bill also ensures that residents will be rehoused “within a relatively small city district,” and gives them the option of demanding monetary compensation instead of a new apartment.

 

Parliamentary sources told TASS that the Senate is likely to approve the bill when it comes up for a vote on 28 June, RT reports.

 

 

  • The plan foresees demolishing about 8,000 apartment buildings and resettling some 1.6 million Moscow residents.

 

  • The leaders of four parliamentary factions recommended expanding the plan to the entire country, RT says.

 

  • Buildings will be demolished only if 70 percent of residents approve. However, those who refuse to leave could face court proceedings, the real estate site Market Mogul writes.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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