Property and Protests: The Struggle Over the Renovation of Housing in Moscow

In: Russian Politics
Alfred Evans Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fresno

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Most protests in Russia in recent years have not demanded the transformation of that country’s political regime. Instead, most of those protests have focused on specific policy goals that have reflected disruptions in the daily lives of groups of citizens. In 2017 a heated debate erupted when Sergei Sobianin, the Mayor of Moscow, announced a plan to demolish and replace hundreds of thousands of old apartments in that city. While many residents of those apartments welcomed that plan, many others charged that it threatened to infringe on their right of ownership of private property. The plan was subjected to vigorous criticism both at the grass roots level and the elite level. The national leadership and the government of Moscow became involved in revising the legislation to authorize Sobianin’s plan that had been introduced in the national legislature. Before the law was approved, the leaders had made a number of concessions to its critics.

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