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Campaigners lobby Putin over 'immediate' threat to Moscow's buildings

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A report into the mass destruction of Moscow's historic buildings has warned that there is an 'immediate, extensive and overwhelming threat' to the city's architecture.

Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point, published by the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society (MAPS) and SAVE Europe's Heritage, claims that more than 1,000 buildings - including 200 with monument status - have been destroyed in the last five years.

The report has been delivered to Russian president Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and all members of the Moscow City Duma.

Marcus Binney, president of SAVE Europe's Heritage, said the widespread demolition was 'making a mockery of Moscow's great past'.

'Architectural monuments of all eras are under threat. Nothing is sacrosanct,' he added.

Key building still under threat include: St Basil's Cathedral, the Mayakovskyaya Metro Station, the Melnikov House and the Narkomfin House.

The report also deplored the fact that in many cases iconic buildings had been torn down to make way for a 'tidal wave of grossly over-scaled and insensitive development that threatens to erode Moscow's unique and distinctive qualities'.

MAPS campaigner Clementine Cecil said: 'This report is an expression of heartfelt appreciation of Moscow's architectural heritage, but also a call to cherish it and realise its full potential.'

by Max Thompson

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