Tens of thousands protest against housing demolition in Moscow

Tens of thousands protest against housing demolition in Moscow
By Vadim Dumesh May 15, 2017

Protests were held in Moscow on 14 May against the demolition of soviet-era housing. Official estimates put the numbers of protesters at 8,000 but unofficial estimates varied at between 20,000 and 60,000 according to an Alfa Bank note to clients on May 15.

Over 4,000 houses are marked by the city council of Moscow for demolition in a list published at the beginning of May, with residents of the housing due to vote on the decision from May 15 to June 15. 

The list includes "perfectly sturdy brick buildings as well as the prefabricated khrushchevki,” Carnegie Moscow Centre commented on May 2.

The residents are to be re-homed but the centre commented that they would not be given apartments of equal value, but merely of equal size. It also said that they do not get another offer if they turn it down and will be forcefully evicted.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, the mobilisation against the demolition program initiated by capital’s pro-Kremlin mayor Sergei Sobyanin, has the potential to become a base for a new protest movement.

“The turnout was much higher than anticipated,” Alfa Bank commented, noting that the program affects nearly 13% of Moscow’s population.

“The active protests may influence the cabinet to reinforce its already passive approach and take a wait-and-see stance about the current economic situation, thus postponing reforms,” Alfa also points out, seeing this as a negative development.

Unnamed sources in the presidential administration told Vedomosti daily ahead of the March 14 gathering that the protest “mood” around housing in the capital is closely monitored amid the upcoming 2018 presidential elections and recent modest, but broad anti-corruption protests that ran across Russian cities in March.

Should it be revised or rolled back, the planned demolition of old buildings and the construction of new ones will not benefit the construction sector or financial growth at large, Alfa bank believes.