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Stop Luzhkov and Resin! Or the Customer and Contractor n "One Bottle"

Stop Luzhkov and Resin! Or the Customer and Contractor n "One Bottle"
S. Ilyichevsky 02.08.2006

"Moscowis able and likes to build". In the last several years this phrase does not go out of my mind. No matter where I go - early in the morning or late at night, in the afternoon or at night, in everyday life or on holidays – the work is in full swing, jackhammers are knocking, dredges and tower cranes are working, lorries and concrete mixers are driving with roar, workers are scurring about.

What does Moscowbuild? It builds block of flats, offices, trading and entertaining complexes, municipal objects - roads, road junctions, viaducts, bridges, tunnels, parking places, theatres, concert halls, etc., etc. Building boom is explained by the rapid economic development of the city. It is difficult to believe in, in fact industrial construction in the city is practically not conducted. Almost dead (perishing) factories - "Rubin", 2-nd watch factory, "Khromatron", AZLK, half-dead ZIL, "Serp and Molot", “Frezer”, “Krasny Bogatir”, “Krasnaya Rosa” and so on – that is not the full obituary of Moscow industry.

"Rapid economic development" of Moscowconsists in mad turn of oil and gas money. And all Moscow"industry" consists in service of these monetary streams. This money creates demand for the elite apartments, expensive shops and boutiques, luzurous offices, magnificent foreign cars, expensive entertainments and pleasures. They create working places but not in the workshops and enterprises but in offices, trading sector and consumers services. I would like to look at Moscow, if oil and gas will suddenly exost or there will be found their substitutes!

It was much spoken and iwritten that mad construction destroys Moscow, its unique architectural shape. During the lastest decade, only according to official data, over 200 architectural monuments of federal value were pulled down, actually they are much more numerous. Practice of demolition of historical buildings and their replacement by plaster casts has been widely spreaded. The remakes and those objects which are the pride of Moscowgovernment (for example, a complex on Manezhnoj Square) do not represent any interest. Moscowgradually turns from an ancient Russian city, ancient capital of Russiainto an ugly “Luzhkovland”.

House-building is especially rapidly growing in Moscow. Approximately 5 million sq.m. of habitation are being built annually, this habitation can house approximately 250 thousand people – according to the Russian measures quite large city. Up to 60% of this habitation go to nonresidents, i.e. the population of Moscowincreases on the average on 100 - 150 thousand people annually. With the growth of population the transport situation and ecology are promptly worsening, pressure on a social infrastructure is sharply increasing, criminality is growing. It’s not possible not only to go by car but even on foot in a rush hour in the center of Moscow, cars stay everywhere, there are crowds of people. The crowd of people on the old stations of the underground in these hours is so dense that it is possible to move only one behind the other; it’s not possible to make a step to the right or to the left. People lose consciousness because of the stuffiness. Such situation is possible to characterize by the words "human medley".

Urbanists say that unprecedented concentration of population and manufacture has been reached in Moscow. Paradox: in the biggest country of the world the closest cities are situated. According to the words of the known urbanist V.Glazychev, Moscowby its density concedes only to Hong Kongamong all megacities of the world. Moscowis promptly condensed inside, grows upwards. In particular, twenty-store buildings appear on the place of five-store ones. Dotty building up was one of the most important element of tonw-planing policy during the lastest ten years. It is rather favourable for the builders: one finds a strip of land in the existing region, tower block is being “squeezed” into it so that to provide big quantity of square meters for sale. Perversity of such practice is that the quality of environment worsens (repaired children's playgrounds and painted benches as "tips” to the tenants of surrounding houses can not be counted), even in the prodrivings near the houses traffic jams are being created, no places for the rest remain. To provide building complex with more orders for construction, no repairs of houses are being held in Moscow. It is more profitable for the builders to have houses in an emergency condition, to take them down and to build new tower blocks. Moscowis very seldom called now a city, oftener – megapolis.

The area of green plantings is steadily reduced. Here and there squares, parks disappear, trees are being cut down, giving up the place to the asphalted parking places, office and "cultural" centers. Strips from parks are even more often “pinched off". Water in Moscowreservoirs and the river Moscowis polluted excessively. Sharp deterioration of ecology - impurity of air from automobile exhausts, deterioration of water, overpopulation, noise discomfort, daily stresses - lead to deterioration of quality of life in the city and dicreasing of health of the Muskovites. According to the representative of the organization "Protection of Nature", professor of the Higher School of Economy A.Golub, only strong air pollution in city annually becomes the reason of death of more than 11 thousand Muscovites. As he said the unhealthy ecological situation in Moscowis the reason of death in 2-3 times more often than the death in the road accidents or from tuberculosis.

Growth of population on the limited space not only worsens ecology and quality of life of Muscovites. Every new person came to Moscow is necessary to provide with infrastructure - a place at school, childrgarden, hospital, shop, transport, etc., which required, by some estimations, approximately 50 thousand rbl. in a year of expenses from the city budget. It is approximately 7 - 8 billion rbl. in a year from the money of tax payers. It is obvious that further increase of population in Moscowdue to nonresident buyers of the flats directly contradicts to the interests of the Muscovites. It’s understandable that everyone wants to live in Moscow, but it’s not made of rubber, well, if everything matters!

Any sane person understands that if the authorities of Moscowexpress interests of the Muscovites, then they would retard mad housing construction. All the same Moscowcannot contain all the willing persons. But in practice we find exactly opposite picture - the government of Moscowspare no pains to increase rates of house building, to release more new pieces of land for he building. There’s a feeling that they will not stop till the last square centimeter of Moscowground will not be built up.

The reason of it is clear as a summer day. At the prime cost of building of 1 square meterof habitation of $600-700, the price of its sale makes up already $3000 which means 200-300% of profit per invested capital. Having such profitableness I shall not be surprised, if eventually the Kremlin will be taken down and tower blocks will be built on its place. And who receives this mad profit? The building company "Inteko" belonging to E.Baturina - the wife of Moscowmayor J.Luzhkov receives it, for example. The Luzhkov family has “gotten”, according to the official data, approximately 2.5 billion dollars (!) from building and sale of houses. J.Luzhkov with the help of his huge administrative resourse clears off the way for his wife’s business. They say that E.Baturina – is a talented business-woman. But those people who know approve that without the support of the husband she wouldn’t not become one of the richest people of Russia, her absolutelimit – the owner of several boothes on Cherkisovsky market.

Or building company SU-155, one of the largest builders of Moscow(25% of building accounts on its share). It is known that the first Deputy of J.Luzhkov, the chief of Moscowbuilding complex V.Resin is the basic co-owner and beneficiary. According to the informal data, his fortune has already overcome $1 billion. The same situation in the other building companies that carry out building in Moscow, large shares belong to other high-rank Moscowofficials.

I think that the cause of mad housing construction in Moscowis clear even to the first-grader. Another thing is not clear - why nobody names this activity by its original name - corruption. Probably because it is so great, obvious, habitual and insuperable that people don’t even notice it. Or our people do not understand what corruption is. They think that corruption in giving a bribe to the official from businessman in the sum of $500. But when the matter is of billions dollars, it’s something different.

Similar picture occurs in Moscownot only in housing construction. City authorities are the customers of building of municipal objects - office-trading complexes, roads, viaducts, road junctions, etc., at the same time they are the contractors - through the shares in the building companies that fulfil these works. The customer and the contractor "in one bottle" - here that devil mechanism which destroys Moscowand dooms Muscovites to heavy existence.

City order is a huge figure: for example, it makes 450 billion roubles for the year 2006 or nearly 70% of the city budget! By some estimation, up to 30% in all works under the city order go to the officials, i.e. 150 billion roubles go to their pockets! The sum doesn’t include housing construction! At the present system of authority which has developed in Moscow, city is a gold mine for Moscowofficials. Not even gold but made of diamonds. Labour migrants filled up Moscowand work in general on Moscowbuilding sites, gain additional million dollars to the pockets of the Luzhkovs, Resins and Co families by their cheap working labour.

The increase of population leads to the increase of transport. More than 3 million cars are now on the Moscowstreets and their number increases annually on 200 - 300 thousand. City chokes with exhaust gases and traffic jams. Authorities very actively build roads, road junctions, viaducts, tunnels and so on and assure us that the problem can be solved by the widening of the road system. Many belived in the third transport ring but problems still remained. The fourth is now under construction, then there will be, obviously, the fifth, then rings of the second, third circle will follow, etc. The problem of transport is not solving in this way, the more roads, the more cars in city, it is known to urbanists and is proved by the experience of foreign cities. But Luzhkov, Resin and Co don’t worry about it, corruption sheaf "customer and contractor in one bottle" continues its destructive activity.

Building business grown together with city authority - building oligarchy has captured power in Moscow, it defines the concept of city development, it extorts billions dollars from Moscow, it destroys historical shape of an ancient Russian capital. All system of political authority in Moscowis subordinated to the interests of the building industry. To prevent somebody’s interruption in the process ofbuilding, building and building, so that to receive enormous superprofit Luzhkov, Resin and Co have destroyed local self-management, have generated pocket parliament, pocket mass-media choking from ecstasy in relation with every new building. They are echoed in various ways by fed up intelligentsia. Lured city police and courts supply them with lawful screen.

Family businss of Luzhkov, Resin and Co place the city on a verge of ecological and man-caused catastrophe. They estroy with our environmental conditions in their selfish ends.

From year to year the Muskovite live worser and worser and Luzhkov, Resin and Co – better and better.

Stop Luzhkov and Resin!

Save Moscow!

S. Ilyichevsky, candidate of economic science, research assistant of the RussianAcademyof Sciences

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