Muscovites are protesting against plans to move over a million people if their apartments built during Khrushchev era are torn down.
Russian authorities say the buildings are run down and promise to build better apartments.While families like Elmira’s have lived in their home for generations, they are shocked that it may be demolished.
“I’ll be here until the bulldozers start.I am not going to leave as by the (Russian) Constitution, I have the right to stay in my property.This building is not falling apart.”
For Elmira and her mother, Galina, this is a home full of memories.“We moved here in ‘79 and it’s the place where my children were born, lived and their conscious experience started,”
“When my father was still alive we celebrated his 50th birthday.So many people came to congratulate him that we couldn’t find seats for them all in one room.
After a public uproar, Moscow guaranteed the residents better apartments in the same areas or ’appropriate’ financial compensation.Authorities say buildings will be razed only if more than two-thirds of residents agree.
But, many suspect corruption as not all the buildings were even inspected before the plan was announced.“You know, a special commission should work and declare the building dangerous to live in. We have not seen such a commission ever here.So by many indications we may judge that it is not the people who are most important, but the location.”
For families like Elmira’s, the controversy has moved them - for the first time - to protest against the state.If authorities fail to satisfy Russians in the capital, they risk growing opposition at the polls in next year’s key elections.
Daniel Schearf, VOA News, Moscow.