Saturday, 5 September 2015

Apartment blocks

Once outside the second ring road complex (the Garden Ring), you leave the grand and monumental architecture of central Moscow and enter the real Russia. A sprawl of ghastly, often dilapidated apartment blocks. Many of these were constructed during the Khruschev years, the early 1960s, and are known as Khruschyovka. They are largely constructed out of prefabricated concrete. Occupants are lucky if they have 60 square metres. Every city in Russia is largely made up of these awful buildings. 


Surrounding infrastructure is typically in poor shape – pavements cracked, kerbs broken or non-existent, roads pot-holed – pretty much what you’d expect in a corrupt country where money that should be spent on public infrastructure is syphoned off to build luxury palaces for a few. One hundred and ten Russians control 35% of the country’s wealth - the average Russian is worse off than the average Indian. Little wonder the current wave of migrants crossing the Mediterranean head west  when they arrive in Europe, and not east.

There are many of these metal sheds, typically along railway lines, which Muscovites use for storage and whatever.
There is absolutely nothing unusual about this facade. It is quite typical of where Muscovites live.

One thing that is pleasant is the amount of open space between apartment blocks, often containing kid's playgrounds. One of the gripes I have with the suburbs in Australia's cities is that there is little space to walk, other than the footpath, almost every inch being occupied by a bungalow and its fenced garden.

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