I hope a lot of you will take a hard look at this and decide if you think it is good for our city. What I think is this: The government -- and in particular the mayor of the city -- is simply trying to drive private business away and place all profits in the hands of the government. As a person who spends more time running up and down and across Moscow than most, I can attest to the fact that there is increasing incovenience everywhere. On Leninsky Prospekt, the marshrutkas have been eliminated altogether, likewise in numerous other areas. Soon the trams will also be cut. These private businesses, as they evaporate, will allow the government to increase its monopoly. After all, government ownership of the previously private sector has virtually swallowed the private businesses. This is also true of the crushing and demolishing -- as you see-- of the kiosks and small businesses that for years have existed near the metros. Government advocates will argue that they were 'illegal' and that they were eyesores to the community. Well, in fact they were indeed legal according to contracts which had been approved in court only to be overturned at the behest of the mayor. Moreover, these small businesses provided at least a small income to many chronically underpaid workers, convenience to the legions of infirm and elderly people in Moscow whom one sees creeping and limping around in every area, and also a certain degree of energy and atmosphere to those of us who do not want everything crammed into state-controlled super-stores suffused with artifical light and totally without a soul. Rumours swirl that the good mayor's wife is the brains (and bread-winner) behind the 'refurbishing' of the surfaces around countless metro stations (not needed at all in most respects). In other words, she is in the block-making business, just as an earlier mayor's wife controlled the construction business. In the meantime, as real services and much of the personality of the city is 'thrown under the bus' (literally, city transport buses with their infuriatingly idiotic tendency to run one-behind-the-other without providing adequate intervals of arrival), and amid these very costly cosmetic changes, we still await the reopening of Frunzenskaya metro station, a one-exit station which has lain dead for almost two years. I know because I ride thorugh it everyday (Kultury Park-Sportivna), and I can tell you that not a damn thing is being done. The same was true of Baumanskaya and even Park Kultury itself before that. But the major has time and money to rip up the streets, to put people out of business, out of work,, and to destroy entire, thriving city blocks -- always in the dead of night.
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