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Moscow

Moscow is a cradle of distinctive culture, and one of the centers of world civilisation. Its history of almost a thousand years is recorded in monuments that have become the legacy not of a single city, but of humanity as a whole. Among them — The Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, Bolshoi Theatre, Pushkin Fine Arts museum, Tretyakov gallery. This is classic Moscow. The record that the city keeps and is proud of.

Moscow is often referred as The Third Rome. The term describes the idea that Moscow is the successor to the legacy of the Roman Empire (the "first Rome") and its successor state, the Byzantine Empire (the "second Rome") [and there will be no fourth].

The actual name of the city in Russian is "Moskva". When the city was founded in 1147 it was called 'Moskov" which sounded closer to the present-day English pronunciation. The city was named after the Moskva river, on which the city is situated. Finno-Ugric tribes used to live on the territory of the present-day Moscow. The name of the Moskva river most probably originates from an ancient Finnic language. According to different theories the name of the city might mean 'marshy place', 'dark waters', ´mossy plain´, 'gnat' but linguists cannot come to any agreement.

According to the Moscow labor and employment department, Moscow's population reached 12.4 million by January 1, 2017. Moscow's population increased in the past few years and reached 12.1 million people by January 1, 2014. Native Muscovites, whose grand-grandparents were Moscow residents, already make up less than two percent of the city’s population. The population of Russia’s capital had a tenfold increase over 100 years – from 1.04 million in 1897 to 10.5 million in 2008.

Moscow traces its history back to 1147, when it was mentioned in the chronicles for the first time. The early 12th century saw Kievan Rus disintegrate into many separate principalities. During this period, Prince Yury Dolgoruky of Rostov and Suzdal (1090–1157) began to build new towns and communities. Pereslavl Zalessky, Yuriev Polsky and Dmitrov were just a few of his early projects. Eventually, the prince set his sights on a group of villages sitting on the banks of the Moskva River — a perfect location for a frontier town.

In 1547, Ivan IV assumed the title of tsar, and Moscow became the capital of the Russian state until 1712, when Peter I ruled that the capital be moved to the purpose-built St Petersburg. The capital was de facto brought back to Moscow in 1728 as Peter II made his home there, but after his death in 1730, St Petersburg’s capital status was confirmed. The imperial court and the government moved to the city in 1732. On 12 March 1918, the capital was transferred back to Moscow, following a Soviet government resolution. And in 1922, while remaining the capital of the Russian Republic, Moscow also became the capital of the Soviet Union.During this period, the city underwent intensive urban development.

On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow had 475 major enterprises and accounted for 15 percent of the Soviet Union’s total industrial output. The city had a population of over four million, with women accounting for 55 percent. Twenty five percent of all city residents were under the age of 16. In the first days of the war, 350,000 city residents voluntarily enlisted voluntarily in the Red Army. In July 1941, an additional 150,000 city residents joined the People’s Volunteer Corps. In all, Moscow contributed 850,000 service personnel.

Those remaining in the city faced tough ordeals. From July 1941 through June 1942, 8,500 German bombers attacked Moscow, killing over 2,000 people and wounding over 5,500 more. In all, 5,584 residential buildings, 90 military and civilian hospitals, 253 schools and 19 theatres and palaces of culture were destroyed or heavily damaged. However, Germany's plans to wipe out Moscow were thwarted thanks to the city's reliable air-defence system, which included 600 fighters, 1,044 anti-aircraft guns and 336 machine guns, plus 124 barrage balloons. This considerably exceeded the combined air-defence potential of Berlin and London. In 1941–1942, city defenders shot down 1,300 German planes.

In the 21st Century, new Moscow has been developing at breakneck speed. Business skyscrapers, renovated parks, art clusters, street art, street performances, festivals, new forms of leisure — the city has been rethinking its place in the future format.

To glorify the triumph over French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, a decision was taken in 1839 to build the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, on a site formerly occupied by St Alexis’ Convent. Funds for the ambitious project had to be raised nationwide, and it was not completed until 1880. The best Russian artists and sculptors decorated the cathedral. In 1931 the cathedral was demolished at Stalin's order, and for a long time the space was occupied by a swimming pool. In 1998 the church was restored, again paid for by public money.

The Bolshoi Theater is the pride of Russian culture. Its history, which begins in the middle of the 19th century, is full of triumphs, and its role in education and enlightenment is huge. The facade and the building’s luxurious interiors, built by Alberto Cavos after a fire in 1856, underwent major reconstruction. The theater received modern technical equipment allowing all kinds of experiments on stage.

The Novodevichy convent is unique in its beauty and location. It started construction during Ivan III’s reign in the 15th century. This cathedral, the oldest in Moscow, was erected to commemorate the capture of Smolensk in the war with Lithuania. Frescoes from the 16th century and a rare carved iconostasis remain in the convent. The convent’s necropolis is the most famous in Moscow.

Metro is the most punctual means of transportation in Moscow, also it is very beautiful. Forty-four out of 190 Moscow metro stations are recognised as cultural heritage objects. The best architects and artists designed and decorated these underground palaces. Since 1935, the metro has been the main mode of transport in the capital. Its 12 lines stretch for more than 312 km. Today, the Moscow metro is the world leader in the number of passengers.

One crucial problem in Moscow are huge distances between metro stations in the city center, being 1600 meters on average. Many areas are within a 15-20 minutes walk from a metro station, which is really a long way for a modern transit system. In Paris, metro stations are 400 meters away from each other on average.

While navigating Moscow metro riders can always determine the direction of the train by the gender of the announcer. When taking a train to the center of Moscow, ridrs hear a male announcer. But as soon as they cross the city center riders hear a female voice announcing stations. The Russian mnemonic rule was: 'your boss calls you to work; your wife calls you home'. On the ring line the clock-wise direction submits to the male voice, while counterclockwise direction is under the guidance of the female voice. Marshrutkas are route taxis, that are usually small buses and follow the usual bus/trolleybus routes. They are usually faster, but can be confusing to use, especially for those who don’t speak Russian. You need to pay in cash (it’s better to have some change) and tell the driver where to stop (so it is better to know the name of the stop or some landmark, such as the name of a shop, restaurant etc.)

The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy is one of the largest exhibitions, museums, and recreation complexes in the world. It is one of the most popular public places of the Russian capital. It hosts more than 24 million guests per year. The Exhibition was opened on 1 August 1939. Its name has changed several times, i.e. VSHV, VPV, VDNK USSR, and VVC. In spring 2014 the Moscow City Government launched a large scale project of the VDNH’s revival commemorated to the 75-year Anniversary of the main exhibition centre of the country.

The territory of the All-Russia exhibition center, having kept all the pavilions, alleys, multi-figure fountains from Soviet times, turned in a modern space. By the north entrance there is the famous Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture by Vera Mukhina that amazed the visitors to the World Fair in Paris in 1937. Today, there is a museum inside the restored monument.

The Moscow-City international business center was first imagined in the 1990s and is still under active development on the Presnenskaya embankment. The total area of the project is some 100 hectares. This district consists of buildings made in a style new for the Russian capital. Already a business activity zone developed and united business with living and leisure. The tallest building in Europe is currently the "Moscow Tower" located in the Moscow city International business complex. It’s 302 meter high and it has 76 floors.

Moscow has three main airports: Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo. Russia’s largest flagship carrier, Aeroflot, is based at Sheremetyevo. Aeroflot is a Sky Team partner, an alliance that includes Delta, Air France, KLM and Alitalia, which also serve Sheremetyevo.

Domodedovo is the base for Russia’s S7 airline, part of the Oneworld alliance along with British Airways, Iberia, Quantas and other carriers. Domodedovo is also the main Russian airport for Germany’s Lufthansa. Vnukovo is the smallest airport among Moscow’s Big Three and the base for Russia’s low-cost airline Pobeda. It is also the arrival and departure point for the Russian airlines Utair and Gazpromavia, Turkish Airlines and a number of small airlines and low cost carriers.

For years, CIA produced the best unclassified general reference map of Moscow. Initially created in the post World War II years primarily for US Embassy personnel in the Soviet capital, dissemination of the map steadily expanded and it became a key reference guide for personnel of other friendly embassies in Moscow, as well as for many US visitors.

The Soviet Government began issuing its first maps of the city for public dissemination after the Great Patriotic War. These maps, however, were extremely schematic and -- except for a few tourist landmarks such as the Kremlin, museums, and GUM (the state department store) -- were lacking in accuracy and detail.

Westerners, accustomed to having reasonably good-quality maps of their home cities, had two different explanations for such poor schematic maps. One was that the maps merely reflected the extreme postwar Soviet shortages of technical personnel and production resources. The second, clearly the more accurate, is that the Soviet security establishment carefully designed these crude maps to prevent foreign intelligence organizations from collecting any useful information.

Soviet security personnel's proclivity was to arrest people displaying maps in public and charging them with as engaging charge espionage against Soviet military and other national security installations.

The publication of the first useful postwar map of the central Moscow area by the USA came in 1953. Subsequent editions covered a larger city area and incorporated numerous refinements. The most significant inputs came after US intelligence overhead photography of the city became available. The photography permitted far better and more reliable information on the details of the Moscow urban areas. Its applicability to an unclassified Moscow map, however, had to be balanced with the need to protect both the existence and the capabilities of US overhead intelligence sources. The map underwent a major format change in 1974, when a pocket atlas version was developed and issued in order to better meet Embassy personnel requirements.

Over the years, contemporary Soviet schematic maps of Moscow gradually incorporated more accurate and useful detail. The increasing influx of foreign tourists, especially during the Moscow Olympics in 1980, accelerated this trend. But the CIA produced Moscow Street Guide remained by far the best map of the city.

The "Moskva-City" financial district of glass-fronted skyscrapers was meant to be Russia's answer to New York's Wall Street. Moscow skyscraper Mercury City is one of five Russian skyscrapers in the list of ten tallest buildings in Europe, while Moscow is also the city with the most high-rise buildings on the continent. One tower, called Evolution, twists in a DNA-evoking double helix. The spires of Federation Towers resemble billowing sails, evoking Russia sailing into a capitalist future. Federation Tower East, when finished, will rise 95 stories to a height of 1,224 feet, surpassing its still mostly empty neighbor Mercury City Tower as the tallest building in Europe. Eight skyscrapers are finished, including the gold-tinted Mercury tower. Eight others are under construction, and two more are planned. The entire site is scheduled to be finished by 2018.

"Moskva-City" will be nearly half vacant in 2015, according to elite Moscow-based real estate consulting company Blackwood. Around 45 percent of the district, which includes the tallest towers in Europe, was expected to be vacant as the construction of new buildings wrapped up amid Russia's economic slump, Blackwood said in a press release. Moscow’s skyscraper district, formally the Moscow International Business Center, reflects the broader problems in the Russian economy. The country, facing broad-ranging financial sanctions and largely dominated by state-run companies, simply has no need for vast office spaces for stock traders, auditors and bankers.

As the controversy over Russian hacking during the presidential election intensified in the lead up to President Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration, Trump took to Twitter to push back at critics of his campaign’s alleged overtures to Russia. “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me,” Trump tweeted January 11. “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA -- NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” he wrote.

In fact, Trump has doggedly pursued business deals in Russia, going back decades to the twilight of the Soviet Union. A 1986 meeting with Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin at Trump Tower led to an all-expenses paid trip the following year to Leningrad and Moscow, where Trump met with tourism officials to discuss building luxury hotels.

In 2005 Trump worked with New York's Bayrock Group to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow. A site was chosen, but the project did not go forward. In 2013 Trump and NBC sold rights to Russians to host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant and Trump attended the event. After the trip he tweeted: “Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place” and that “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.” One idea considered for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow was to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin the penthouse, according to Felix Sater, who was working on the project with Michael Cohen. The penthouse was planned to be valued at $50 million but gifted to Putin, BuzzFeed reported.

BuzzFeed reported "The tower — a sheer, glass-encased obelisk situated on a river — would have soared above every other building in Moscow, the architectural drawings show. And the sharply angled skyscraper would have climaxed in a diamond-shaped pinnacle emblazoned with the word “Trump,” putting his name atop the continent’s tallest structure."

As late as June 2016, according to prosecutors, Cohen and Sater discussed efforts to gain Russian government approval for the project. Despite his failure to build a hotel in Russia or to license his name to Russian property developers, however, Trump had far greater success in getting Russian investors, large and small, to invest in his developments in the US.

Trump Tower / Moscow Future Skyline




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Page last modified: 10-12-2018 18:49:12 ZULU