Moscow will expand as government moves to more suburban settings

After months of talks and planning the work on expanding Moscow’s city limits has begun as President Medvedev begins the process of moving Russia’s governing bodies out of the centre of Moscow.

Earlier this afternoon the President chaired a meeting on establishing a parliamentary centre in the districts soon to be incorporated within the expanded Moscow city boundaries. Moscow as a city is widening its boundaries adding another 144 000 hectares in the area south-east of the capital.

L-R: Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov and Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko.

Moscow’s population density is now 11,000 per square kilometre, one and a half more than in London or New-York and the president’s plan is to expand the city boundaries and use part of the new territory to create a new parliamentary centre, a “metropolitan federal district” to which several state agencies would be relocated.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and outgoing regional governor Boris Gromov say that the area of Moscow will be multiplied by 2.4 and promised that the project will include government institutions to be moved behind the MKAD (Moscow Ring Road).

Included in the move will be the Duma (Parliament) and the President stressed that the government would develop “the kind of premises we need for the State Duma and the Federation Council and their staff in order to have good conditions for effective work.”

“I look at this issue within the context of the decision to transfer state bodies from central Moscow to the new city, that is, to the districts that will be incorporated within the city’s expanded boundaries.”

Primarily responsible for coordination of the move will be Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s incoming regional governor Sergei Shoigu, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov,  First Deputy Chief of Staff Vyacheslav Volodin, Presidential Advisor Arkady Dvorkovich, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Head of the Presidential Property Management Department Vladimir Kozhin, and Vladimir Resin who is a State Duma deputy and the Duma’s Chairman of the Commission for Building a Parliamentary Centre.

The last major expansion of Moscow’s boundaries was in 1961 when the city’s population was 6 million. The official transfer of the designated territory to be placed within city boundaries will take place on July 1 of this year.

Vacant government buildings in the centre will be converted to hotels. Moscow has a critical shortage of hotel space given the current population. Recently Moscow’s Cultural Committee recommended banning further modern-style construction in the city centre to preserve the historic character of Russia’s capital city.