18:32 Jul. 3, 2016
New public projects draw on resurgent Russian nationalism, just in time for a national election
One of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's pet projects is a multi-billion-dollar revamp of the 'Soviet Versailles': an enormous ensemble of extravagant, mainly Stalin-era, pavilions, fountains and statuary in Moscow's northeast. Sobyanin accompanied President Vladimir Putin last year on a visit to the site, known as VDNKh, to open a new oceanarium for 8,000 sea creatures, including killer whales.
The regeneration of the sprawling park-cum-exhibition space is one of several large regeneration projects underway in the city of 12 million as planners and officials put behind them the urban experiments, embraced by Moscow's creative middle class, that flourished before the 2014 confrontation with the West over Ukraine.