- Title: Thousands protest in Moscow against housing resettlement plan
- Date: 14th May 2017
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (MAY 14, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE GOING THROUGH METAL DETECTORS AT PROTEST PROTESTERS WALKING AND CARRYING PLACARDS WOMEN HOLDING POSTER AND PLACARD CROWD WITH PLACARDS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER, IRINA ORLOVA, SAYING: "We have always supported the government. Maybe we haven't provided enough support and that's why we got this. (JOURNALIST ASKING OFF CAMERA: WHY ARE YOU HERE?) Because I am against this bloody renovation. Our good house got onto the list (of the houses to be demolished), but a dormitory nearby where people have been struggling for ten years to be resettled didn't get onto the list." PAN OF PEOPLE AT PROTEST (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER, SOFIA IZMAYLOVA, SAYING: "I came here to support people who fight for their property. I think that a decision by Sobyanin (Moscow mayor) and Putin who suddenly, without asking people, start managing their flats, relocate them without agreement and suggesting any other option would violate the law - this is inhuman. Therefore I think I must be here so they (authorities) can count us and understand that we are against (this move) and cancel their decision." POSTER READING (English): 'WE DON'T NEED RENOVATION' AND (Russian): 'NO TO RENOVATION' PROTESTERS PEOPLE HOLDING POSTERS AND CHANTING (Russian): 'SOBYANIN'S GOVERNMENT OUT!' MAN SPEAKING ON STAGE AND SAYING (Russian): "LET'S DEFEAT CORRUPTION, LET'S DEFEAT RENOVATION." PROTESTERS APPLAUDING POLICE, PROTESTERS STANDING ON OPPOSITE OF METAL BARRIERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER, ALLA SAMSONOVA, SAYING: "This is very sad. I'm (at protest) for the first time. I have been living for long, but I haven't been to any demonstration since childhood. I came out to (join) the crowd like that for the first time. And I feel I did the right thing."
- Embargoed: 28th May 2017 17:02
- Keywords: old buildings Soviet appartment blocks resettlement Moscow Russia
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016GT8HMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thousands of people joined a protest in Moscow on Sunday (May 14) against government plans to resettle millions of citizens from shoddy Soviet-era apartment blocks.
The draft law on renovation envisages moving some Moscow residents into modern flats but has also fuelled concerns about property rights, a year after city authorities provoked an outcry among small businesses by bulldozing many street kiosks. Muscovites are also concerned about the location and quality of the planned new accommodation, a lack of services and infrastructure and about threats the redevelopment may pose to the historic face of the Russian capital.
Protesters brandished banners that read 'Hands off our homes' and 'My house is my castle'. Organisers put the number of people attending the rally at up to 60,000, or 10 times the number originally agreed with Moscow authorities. Police put the number at 8,000, Russian news agencies said, though their estimate covered a smaller area.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who hopes to run for president next year, arrived at the scene but was, with his family, sidelined by the police, Reuters witnesses said. There were no reports of detentions or violence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for 17 years and is widely expected to seek another term next March, approved the resettlement plans but asked the Moscow government to improve the draft legislation. The changes must not violate citizens' rights, said Putin, who enjoys high popularity ratings.
In the 1950s, the Soviet Union began mass-producing cheap, prefabricated housing to accommodate millions of people who had been living in overcrowded communal flats and even in cellars and dugouts dating from World War Two. The then-Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, said the apartments, with low ceilings and tiny kitchens and popularly dubbed "khrushevki" after him, would be lived in for no more than half a century. Most are still occupied.
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