Return to < Russian Art Gazette > Historic building policy slammed A LEADING Moscow architect has blasted the real estate policy of the Russian capital's administration, which has destroyed numerous historic building over recent years to vacate land for realtors' projects.
The city's policy, which sometimes results in the replacement of demolished buildings by mock, concrete copies, "is comparable to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan", the former head of Russia's construction state committee, Anvar Shamuzafarov, said at a round table in Moscow late yesterday.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when their Islamic fundamentalist regime was toppled by a US-led coalition following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, blew up two giant, 1500-year-old Buddha statues in Bamyan, causing worldwide outrage.
Shamuzafarof made this comment while referring to the controversial reconstruction of the Manezh Exhibition Hall Ц one of the landmarks of the capital Ц which was engulfed by a fire last March.
The disaster made it impossible to simply renovate the Manezh, as had been demanded by Russia's culture ministry, and central Moscow's architectural gem, just opposite the Kremlin, is now being rebuilt, complete with an underground parking lot.
Shamuzafarov said he was fired from the state construction committee after opposing plans to demolish another central Moscow landmark, the 1935 Moskva hotel, a stone's throw from Red Square.
The imposing building, which epitomizes classical Stalinist architectural style, is being demolished and is to be rebuilt as a luxury hotel.
Conservationists and architecture historians have accused Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov's administration of destroying the historic character of the city by focusing on commercial interests. Links:The Moscow Architecture Preservation Society (MAPS) (Moscow)Kevin O'Flynn's series of articles "Tearing Down Moscow" in The Moscow TimesIRINA TITOVA. A group of foreign journalists working in Moscow on Thursday announced the creation of a group aimed to preserve the many architectural treasures and raise awareness about what they say is the fast-paced destruction of a history that took centuries. // Associated Press, 31 May, 2004Valeria Korchagina. City Says Manezh Can't Be Restored // The Moscow Timesbuilding policy slammed // Agence France-Presse, 27.05.2004Borislav Mikhailichenko. Architectural Landmarks Slated for Privatization // The Moscow NewsKevin O'Flynn. Angry Architects Lobby Putin // The Moscow News, 27.04.2004How Moscow's reconstruction is putting profit before preservation // News.Independent.co.uk, 27.04.2004 Print version