Tag Archives: infill construction

Islands in the Stream, Terrorists in the Attics, and Trees on the Chopping Block

Three more dispatches from various fronts of the war being waged by “developers” and bureaucrats against Saint Petersburg and its citizens. Continue reading

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Vlad Tupikin: Who Does the OMON Serve?

Who Does the OMON Serve? (On the Events at 81, Vavilov Street, Moscow)

As Indymedia correspondent anatrrra reports, on the evening of October 8 a meeting of residents was to take place in the courtyard at 81, Vavilov Street. The meeting had barely begun when fifty to sixty OMON soldiers showed up. They dispersed the assembled residents, beating them up and arresting twenty people in the process. All the detainees were taken to the Lomonosovsky police precinct of the South-West Administrative District. (See this and this.)

On the informational billboard depicted here, the house that is slated to be infill-constructed on Vavilov Street looks dignified. What isn’t dignified are the actions of the illegal developers and the authorities who back the interests of capital. (Here is a complete photo reportage from October 5.)

Who Does the OMON Serve?

The first answer that comes to the mind—“The state!”—doesn’t quite fit.

That is, of course, as a whole they serve the state. But after what happened on the evening of October 8, 2008, we can confidently flesh out this answer: they serve capitalists, the fat cats who show a flagrant disregard for both the law and the interests of their fellow citizens. Continue reading

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How Things Were Done in Petersburg: The Destruction of Submariners Garden

The current regime presents itself, at home and abroad, as having brought “stability” and prosperity to Russia. Russians, the storyline goes, are enjoying the fruits of their new consumerist society, and thus social conflict, much less outright resistance to the powers that be, is insignificant: Russians are buying into this new “de-ideologized” ideology because it allows them to buy a better life. Closer to the ground, however, the picture looks different. In fact, all over Russia, workers are struggling to create independent trade unions and improve the conditions of their work; antifascists are battling to stop the scourge of neo-Nazi attacks on the country’s minorities and foreign residents; and human rights activists, oppositionists, and just ordinary folk are working to make the country’s commitment to democracy and law meaningful (to mention only a few, obvious examples). Because the regime has a near-total lock on the media, most of these conflicts are kept out of the public view, or presented to the public in a distorting mirror. And, it has to be said, the numbers of resisters nationwide are such that it would be wrong to say that society at large is (for now) gripped by a revolutionary mood.

In Petersburg, the most significant front in this “quiet” or “cold” civil war in the past few years has been the conflict surrounding the rampant architectural redevelopment of the city. The attention of observers both foreign and domestic has been focused on mega-projects (such as the planned 400-meter skyscraper that will serve as the centerpiece of Gazprom’s Okhta Center, just across the Neva River from downtown Petersburg), the demolition of the city’s grand, plentiful “architectural heritage,” and the creative, nonviolent resistance mounted by such groups as Living City. Less attention is paid to efforts to prevent infill construction, which has become a particular plague in the city’s “non-classical” outlying neighborhoods, most of which were built during the post-Stalin, pre-perestroika period. Continue reading

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