Moscow’s architecture is under ‘immediate, extensive and overwhelming threat’ from both neglect and rampant over-development, a new report claims
The report, from the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society and SAVE Europe’s Heritage, states: ‘There is no other capital city in peacetime Europe that is being subjected to such devastation for the sake of earning a fast megabuck’.
It claims that laws currently in place to protect buildings are ineffective due to corruption within the city.
At the heart of the argument is the Bolshoi Theatre, which has been closed for four years for renovation. Experts fear the work will never be completed and claim that the building is now riddled with cracks and close to collapse.
Alongside a lack of preservation the report accuses the Moscow authorities of reckless overdevelopment and taking a ‘theme park approach to a historic city’.
Developers are heavily criticised by the report, particularly for low-budget ‘bloated sham replicas of historic buildings’, such as The Imperial Riding School.
The decline of Moscow’s ‘imposing, beautiful and fascinatingly bizarre buildings’ has been blamed Yury Luzhkov, who has implemented a rapid ‘modernisation’ strategy as mayor of Moscow since 1992. Many projects have been overseen by his wife, property developer Yelena Baturina, who has become Russia’s first female billionaire.