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Moscow City Management: Corruption, Inefficiency, Arrogance

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Moscow City Management: Corruption, Inefficiency, Arrogance

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UPDATE [22.08.2019 15:00 CET]: Local authorities swiftly reacted to the growing wave of negative media reports on actions of the municipal and road services actions in southwestern Moscow.

At least ‘strange’ actions of municipal and road services, as well as linked to them private organizations, reached their peak on August 20. As it was mentioned in the article below, a number of Moscow regions and kilometers of highways were blocked by non-motivated limiting signs. Road services explained their decision by saying that it was needed to guarantee passage of public service vehicles in the framework of the ongoing repair works in the Moscow Metro. However, it was hard to link a notable part of limiting signs with this reason. A more realistic explanation is that the Traffic Management Center used this situation to increase its revenue through penalties from drivers.

After the situation gained a large public attention on August 21, a part of the non-motivated signs was removed. On August 22, Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin announced that authorities would open the Red Line of the Moscow Metro, which is currently being repaired, 3 days ahead of the schedule – in the second half of August 22. Moscow residents welcomed the decision. However, it remains unclear what was happening in Moscow in the period from August 18 to August 22. It looks like the introduced limitations were not really needed.

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Over the past 5 days, the southwestern part of Moscow has appeared in the center of a manufactured traffic standstill, according to SouthFront readers from the city. The situation is especially complicated in in the districts of Troparyovo-Nikulino (population: 121,754) and Tyoply Stan (population: 133,905). Many representatives of the scientific and medical intellectuals live in these particular areas.

On August 18, without any notifications in advance, road services closed parts of highways, including kilometers of entrances into districts in the southwestern part of the city. This move de-facto blocked hundreds of thousands of people forcing them to use building surrounding grounds (with the traffic capacity of a single road stripe to a direction) to leave their districts. Furthermore, road services from the so-called Traffic Management Center immediately set up limiting signs and sent monitoring vehicles to the area. An average penalty for the violation of the newly-established limits is about 100 USD.

Moscow City Management: Corruption, Inefficiency, Arrogance

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Other areas where similar measures were implemented are the district of Gagarinsky, Ramenki, Lomonosovsky, Prospect Vernadsky, and Obruchevsky, as well as the settlements of Moscow and Sosensky.

Additionally, metro stations of Vernadsky Prospekt, Yugo-Zapadnaya, Troparevo, Rumyantsevo, Salaryevo, Filatov Lug, Prokshino, Alder and Kommunarka were closed because of the ongoing works to build the Moscow Metro’s Large Circle Line.

According to the available data, these limitations will remain in force until August 24. These decisions predetermined the observed transport collapse in these areas.

The established situation drew attention of local and federal media that are surprised by both decisions of the Traffic Management Center and never ending repair works in particular areas of the city.

Web portal RBC conducted a brief investigation into the issue and found that 130 Moscow streets were repaired 2 and more times during the last 4 years. At the same time, repair works should not be conducted more often than one time per three years on large streets and highways and one time per four-five years for small streets. RBK found ‘no formal explanations’ for such decisions.

However, an independent observer will easily find a reason behind this situation: a wide-spread corruption. The repair works are constantly being held in areas where the cost of these works are the highest. For example, Frunzenskaya Naberezhnaya (near the building of the Defense Ministry), Komsomol’skiy Prospekt, the Third Ring Road and Leninsky Avenue. Another obvious reason is ‘window dressing’ for the top leadership of the state (President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev) that often passes these areas during their daily activities. Other, less lucrative areas, are just ignored.

Moscow City Management: Corruption, Inefficiency, Arrogance

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All these happen ahead of the election to the Moscow Duma (Parliament) and amid the relatively small, but active protest activity in the city. There are no signals that the protest activity in the city will decrease. The abovementioned arrogant actions of local authorities only fuel protest intentions of the people. The interesting fact that similar incidents could also be observed in northern and eastern parts of the city.

The case with never-ending repair works could be easily explained with an ordinary corruption. However, actions aimed at manufacturing transport collapse in particular areas are a sign of incompetence and arrogance, or of a prepared campaign to destabilize the situation in the Russian capital.

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