Muscovites Revolt Against Relocation Plan
Protesters have taken to the streets of Moscow as plans to relocate up to 1.6 million people from their homes near the center of the city move forward. The government is promising to relocate people into the same neighborhood or allow residents to choose to receive a cash payout, equivalent to the value of their homes. David Filipov of The Washington Postreports that residents of the Russian capital who purchased units in the low-slung apartment blocks fear that the scheme to replace the homes with newer buildings is just a way for the government to kick them off of valuable land, and they have little faith that the replacement structures or monetary compensation will be equivalent to what they have now.
Even people who support the relocation are concerned that the new housing will be of cheaper quality, said Yelena Shuvalova, one of the few members of the Moscow city legislature to oppose the relocation plan. Many of the five-story buildings slated for demolition are made of brick, which Muscovites see as better-quality construction than the massive concrete block structures being built to replace them. “People need green zones, trees, and not everyone wants to move to an upper floor, and they ask, ‘Why are you moving me out of a brick house into a concrete block one?’ ” Shuvalova said.