Tag Archives: sergei sobyanin

Other Russia

Marion Barry, Russian Punchline

This is just a small aside from the post about urban planning in Moscow. In the February 2011 Echo of Moscow interview with Sergei Sobyanin comes about halfway through it, when they take a break and offer Sobyanin a book as a token of appreciation.
In response, Sobyanin makes fun of an unspecified Washington mayor. I’d bet money they’re not talking about Adrian Fenty’s cycle club escort.
А.ВЕНЕДИКТОВ: Мэр Москвы Сергей Собянин. Прежде чем мы прервемся на 2 минуты и передадим слово нашим корреспондентам, мы хотим вам сделать подарок, Сергей Семенович. Это книга бывшего мэра Нью-Йорка Рудольфа Джулиани «Лидер», который принял Нью-Йорк городом мафиозным и тяжелым, ну а, как говорят те, кто там живут, когда он ушел, этот город стал пригоден для жилья всем. Так что, я думаю, вдруг она вам понравится.
С.СОБЯНИН: Спасибо, что не от мэра Вашингтона.
А.ВЕНЕДИКТОВ: Да-да. (смеется) От мэра Вашингтона ни в коем случае. 2 минуты перерыва, потом наши корреспонденты.
I’ve included the Russian from the transcript, lest anyone doubt this happened. It’s hard to capture the sarcasm, but the translation is clear:
VENEDIKTOV: We’re with the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin. Before we take a two minute break and let our correspondents have a word, we would like to give you a gift, Mr. Sobyanin. It’s the book, Leadership, by former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who turned New York City from a frightful mafia-infested wreck to the kind of a city, the residents who lived there when he left said, that was safe for all. So, I think you’ll take a liking to him.
SOBYANIN: Well, thanks for it not being from the Mayor of Washington.
VENEDIKTOV: Heavens, no. (Laughs) No way we’d give you something from the mayor of Washington.  Two minute break, then our correspondents’ questions.

 

Leadership was translated in 2004. I’m not sure why they’re handing it out now, but there it is, next to DC’s shame, circa 1990.

planning Russia

In Moscow, a revolution for transportation

Велодорожки МГУ from Alexander Tugunov on Vimeo.

The city of Moscow opened its first on-street bike path in September. It’s a small sign of a strategic change in the urban development of a city that has become legendary for bad traffic.

According to the article, behavior on the trail isn’t perfect: people are parking in the bike path! Unthinkable! But, also unthinkably, the police has promised to enforce the laws and educate drivers. Now, when I lived in Moscow, I saw the city rip up Leningradsky Prospekt to convert it into a highway. That remains unchanged, but now dedicated trolleybus lanes will run along the highway. The entire transportation and land use strategies are being upended because the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, and the Kremlin have realized that you cannot build yourself out of congestion with still more roads.

If there’s any doubt as to whether this is a token effort, Sobyanin’s comments here and there are explicit commitment to a complete transportation strategy. Take this interview on Lenta.ru:

SOBYANINThe easiest option we could offer is: “Let’s build more roads and interchanges, at two levels, three levels, and, sure, everything will be wonderful.”

Lenta.ru : Yes, like in Tokyo, Beijing and other Asian cities.

SOBYANIN: Yes, but it’s a dead end. It is impossible, even if we had a lot of money. And, there can never be enough money, because the building of highways and interchanges costing absurd sums.

That is just the beginning. There’s trams, trolleys, and a hundred miles of metro construction after the break.

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