The State Duma of the Russian Federation has overwhelmingly passed a motion in favour of Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s plan to demolish thousands of Soviet era dense apartment buildings known as Khrushchyovka as most were built during the era of Nikita Khrushchev.
The original version of the bill was deeply controversial as it called for massive removals of people from their homes with only vague promises of new housing.
The amended bill has corrected these heinous errors. Under the amended bill, all those forced to move will be able to relocate to similar areas in equally large or larger apartments.
Residents who decide to move can also opt for monetary compensation which can be used to buy private housing of their choosing, a plan championed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader and founder of Russia’s centre-right opposition party LDPR(Liberal Democratic Party of Russia). Zhirinovsky said that the choice to own a house rather than live in large apartment blocs is a healthy sign that Russia is moving away from Communism and towards the Tsarist era which the LDPR views as favourable vis-a-vis the Soviet period. These remarks will be taken especially seriously after hundreds are now left homeless in London due to a fire which gutted a massive 1970s era apartment bloc.
Zhirinovsky spoke at length assuring worried individuals and families that no one will be forced to move if they do not want to and that the government of Moscow must assure any lingering fears.
He also reminded the Duma that under the amended bill, residents of large apartments will be able to democratically vote on whether to participate in the new scheme. Even if 1/3rd of residents in a single apartment building vote against moving into new facilities or receiving compensation, they will be allowed to carry on living as before.
Zhirinovsky also suggested that a similar scheme should be employed to design a bigger, better meeting place for the State Duma, one that all Russians can take pride in. He reminded his fellow deputies that the current location of the Duma was always intended to be temporary as far back as 1993 when the first Duma meeting was held in the current location.
Sergey Mironov, leader of the social-democratic Fair Russia party praised the new amendments to the bill which he initially opposed saying the changes which ensure people the freedom of choice are like “day from night”.
The governing United Russia party and the far-left opposition Communist Party of the Russian Federation also strongly backed the new bill.
Whereas many western governments allow the free reign of property developing oligarchs to order ordinary people out of their homes, Russia made the correct decision and avoided this problem which plagues many western cities.
The compromise bill offers the best of both worlds and puts power back in the hands of ordinary people. Russia’s future belongs to the Russian people, not to developers nor to bureaucracy.