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Open letter
of Moscow society
to the president and mayor



   A round table was held at the Museum of Architecture on the preservation of the architectural heritage of the 20th century ("Izvestia" wrote detailed about it). But conceived in the framework of the centenary of the famous Soviet architect Alexei Dushkin (the author of the metro stations "Kropotkinskaya", "Mayakovskaya", "Novoslobodskaya", the building of the "Children's World" and others), the scientific debate unexpectedly turned into a public action. The participants decided that quiet, narrow professional conversations about how old Moscow was disappearing before our eyes should finally become a reason for a loud appeal to the first persons of the country and its capital, otherwise there would be nothing to talk about soon. "Izvestia" publishes an open letter to the president of the country and the mayor of the capital, signed by dozens of famous people. 

To the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
To the Government of the Russian Federation,
State Duma of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation
Moscow Government
Committee for Culture of the Government of Moscow
Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning of the Government of Moscow
Union of Architects of Russia

  Based on the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, guaranteeing the right of citizens “to access cultural values” and their obligation to “take care of preserving historical and cultural heritage, preserve historical and cultural monuments” (Article 44), we appeal to authorities at all levels with a request to take urgent measures to save the architectural heritage of our country, and especially Moscow - a great city of world-historical significance.

  Over the past decade, the historical appearance of the capital of Russia has been irreparably damaged. Lost many buildings that are monuments of architecture. The intensive development of the city is accompanied by impunity violations of the Russian Law on Cultural Heritage Sites. This process acquires an avalanche-like character.

   The city center, including the immediate surroundings of the Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has undergone catastrophic deformation. In the whirlpool of the construction boom, the most important fragments of the ordinary buildings of the 17th-19th centuries, which is the basis of historical Moscow, irretrievably disappeared. In the chaotic clearing of the city center for new construction, hundreds of living Moscow monuments were lost, replaced by "fake monuments" and new buildings that destroy the city ensemble. In violation of the norms and methods of scientific restoration, international charters and conventions on the preservation of cultural heritage generally accepted in civilized countries, “reconstruction” and “restoration” in Moscow are usually replaced by the complete demolition of monuments and their replacement with fake “remodels” devoid of artistic and historical authenticity.
  Amid huge investments in new construction, the outstanding constructions of Moscow classicism and neoclassicism (built by Bazhenov, Zholtovsky and many others) are close to ruin. Repeated fires under mysterious circumstances killed many monuments, including the unique Manege building - the pearls of European architecture. The last days of the entire layer of buildings of the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s, which is considered the main contribution of Russia to the development of world architecture of the 20th century, are living out. All the buildings of Melnikov were mutilated and the demolition of one of his masterpieces, the club of the Kauchuk factory, was planned. The degradation of world-famous Moscow metro stations of the 1930s-1950s is taking place. Due to unresolved engineering problems, the Mayakovskaya station dies. The unjustified demolition of Moscow’s iconic buildings - the Voentorg, the Moscow hotel was carried out, and Detsky Mir department store and the Pekin hotel were threatened with demolition.

   Today in Moscow, whole city-planning formations are being destroyed, the spatial and planning structure of the city, which has developed over centuries, is dying. The Ostozhenka district disappeared, the appearance of Moscow waterfronts - Sofiyskaya, Kadashevskaya, Sadovnicheskaya - was completely distorted, Arbat, Polyanka and other historical streets were radically rebuilt.
  Commercial gain and redistribution of property cannot justify the systematic destruction of their own history, culture and national identity. The construction policy practiced today in Moscow is essentially criminal, anti-social and anti-state, depriving future generations of Russian citizens of historical memory.
  The destruction of the architectural past in Moscow has a detrimental effect on Russian cities, which also began to rapidly lose their historical appearance. The total destruction of material evidence of the greatness of Russia began.
  A cultural catastrophe is coming, with which neither the state nor society should put up. All branches of government need to implement an urgent and effective program of action to save and preserve the monuments of Russian architecture throughout Russia. Damage to national culture in Moscow and throughout the country should not go unpunished. Russian laws and, first of all, the Law on Cultural Heritage Objects should be applied with all their rigor and completeness. Preservation of cultural heritage should become the basis of the national revival of Russia. Today's realities urgently require that architecture and urban planning policies become federal priorityа.

     Among the signatories:

   Arkady Arkanov, writer; Andrey Batalov, Doctor of Arts; Sergey Barkhin, National Artist, laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation; Alexander Brodsky, architect; Gennady Vdovin, director of the Ostankino estate museum; Sergey Gandlevsky, writer; Illarion Golitsyn, National Artist of the Russian Federation, Member of the Presidium of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation; Natalia Dushkina, professor of the Moscow Architectural Institute; Timur Kibirov, poet; Roman Kozak, artistic director of the Theater. Pushkin; Alexey Komich, Doctor of Arts, Director of the State Institute of Art Studies; Pavel Lyubimtsev, TV presenter, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation; Vladimir Paperny, art critic; Irina Prokhorova, editor-in-chief of the New Literary Review; Grigory Revzin, editor-in-chief of the "Project Classic" magazine; Lev Rubinstein, writer; Dmitry Sarabyanov, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences; David Sargsyan, Director of A.V.
Schusev State Museum of Architecture; Vladimir Sorokin, writer; Garik Sukachev, musician; Tatyana Tolstaya, writer; Lyudmila Ulitskaya, writer; Ilya Utkin, architect; Maria Favorskaya-Shakhovskaya, artist, laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation; Semen Faybisovich, artist, writer; Dmitry Kharatyan, actor; Grigory Chkhartishvili, writer; Alexander Shirvindt, Artistic Director of the Satire Theater

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