It seems hardly surprising that the same day that the income of Yelena Baturina, the wife of the Moscow Mayor, is scrutinized by the media (see Business Week), a spate of articles appear pointing to the endangering of Moscow’s architectural heritage. A connection between the conveniently-married real estate developer and the demise of sites of Moscovite historic interest is something frequently identified by critics and the media, and as robustly denied by the Mayor.
We need only recall the mind-boggling destructive treatment of Rechnik for an example of City Hall’s scorched-earth inspired approach. Today again the issue is making headlines, with an article in the Moscow Times examining the actions of a preservationist who is suing City Hall for neglecting the upkeep of a historic building. Another in-depth piece on RFE/RL analyses the ‘General Plan for Development of Moscow Until 2025‘, or ‘Genplan’, to use its more rather more eugenic-sounding abbreviation, which will see 5 million square meters of property destroyed. The article highlights the unprecedented soldering of political and economic power present in the Baturina-Luzhkov couple:
It’s quite a unique situation. We have, as you know, Brezhnev-era architecture, Khrushchev architecture, Stalin architecture — and then Luzhkov architecture. Not Yeltsin, not Putin, but Luzhkov. It’s the first case of its kind, where a mayor is such a defining figure,” Revzin said.
First among Luzhkov’s assumed contacts is his wife, Yelena Baturina, a powerful construction boss who is Russia’s richest woman and its only female billionaire. Luzhkov has been frequently accused of feeding Baturina city construction contracts, a charge he fervently denies.
Read the whole RFE/RL article here.