Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Another capital for Another Russia
The Moscow News reports on Eduard Limonov's proprosal to shift the capitol further east:
"Following in the footsteps of Peter the Great, opposition politician Eduard Limonov is planning to shift Russia's capital away from Moscow.
But while the Tsar wanted to make St. Petersburg a window to the west, Limonov hopes his purpose-built Siberian city will open new routes to the Orient.
The plan was unveiled on Tuesday when Limonov published his new party manifesto in Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
A new St. Petersburg?
The programme explains that “the necessary move of enormous historical meaning” will balance Russia’s geographical, economic, infrastructure and political tilt towards Europe.
They argue that the project will create millions work places, new infrastructure and will increase the population of Siberia and improve ties between the Russian Far East and its European metropolis. It will also stop China’s expansion, says the programme.
“There have been calls to move the capital to Siberia before,” Eduard Limonov told The Moscow News. “A Member of Parliament from Novosibirsk Region suggested moving it to Novosibirsk in the State Duma in the 90s; Luzhkov expressed an idea to move the capital in 2007. These suggestions are constantly raised,” he said.
Besides, he argues that building a city from scratch is not that difficult, as proved by Kazakhstan, who “built Astana from scratch and they are very happy, and they have a much smaller population.”
As for the location of the new capital, Limonov told the Moscow News that “the developers will find a suitable place for the city.”
The Kazakhstan experience
Limonov’s reference to Kazakhstan’s positive experience is supported by those who witnessed the move.
Vladlen Lyssenker, an employee of Moskommertsbank in Moscow was living in Almaty when Kazakhstan moved its capital from Almaty to Astana.
“There it was done right, not least for the threat of earthquakes,” he told The Moscow News. “There had always been one developed city in Kazakhstan – Almaty, then suddenly there were two – Almaty and Astana.”
“I did not feel the difference, and it did not become worse,” he said. “Almaty went on developing. It remained the financial centre – all the financial authorities, the national bank, all the banks’ headquarters remained there. So did the cultural life. Almaty did not lose one bit.”