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Alexander Puzanov - About whether there is a problem of social stratification in Moscow

— Alexander Sergeyevich, do social inequalities really pose much of a problem in the districts of the capital?

— If compared with such megacities as New York or London, the problem of social stratification across Moscow’s districts appears to be much less of a problem. Development of market economy, understandably, would only add to the problem.

— It happens, however, that residents of a certain downtown district hesitate to demonstrate their hospitality to visitors from certain urban fringes.

— In the light of the events that took place in the area around Patriarch’s Ponds I would like to note that the place is not only an elite residential area but a central district of the city with social facilities open to any inhabitant of the capital.

In fact, what makes Moscow an attractive place of residence is that its inhabitants may one day go to enjoy Sokolniki Park and the other day - Patriarch’s Ponds. It not a great conflict if there takes place a misunderstanding between the residents inhabiting downtown districts and guests from other districts. The situation can be settled by the local authorities within the current legal framework.

Anyhow, the owners of dwelling units in a certain building, at their own discretion, must establish for what purposes the non-residential premises on the ground floor may be used. The underlying mechanisms are well-known.

— What other bottlenecks associated with city zoning could you specify?

— There exists a risk of formation of ethnical districts typically located in Western megacities. Some city maps are already indicative of the locations where expat communities concentrate. It should be noted, in this regard that, along with municipal authorities, the issue should be dealt also by local government and neighborhood committees which currently tend to assume a rather weak position. 

Social and ethnical differentiation of Moscow districts is now the apparent trend with an upward potential to be displayed in future. Yet for the time being the problem is not of primary importance. We, thus, have time to encounter the problem ‘fully armed’ while making use of the best practices and taking into consideration the drawbacks of foreign cities in solving the problem.