Moscow’s Disappearing Street Kiosks

Near the Square where the Paveletskaya Metro and Train stations are located, there is a typical Moscow street kiosk. In an effort to beautify to city, many of these types of small vendor kiosks are being demolished. Many of them disappear overnight, with no warning to the owners.

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These signs indicate that shoes are repaired and keys made on the spot. Other products such as batteries, flashlights, electrical strip outlets, USB adapters and phone cords are sold here.

Immediately across the street is a fruit and vegetable kiosk. What will happen to the small business person who operates this vendor stand when the city takes it away?

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One must wonder what becomes of the persons who found employment at these kiosks, and to local customers who need them? For local residents, and especially pensioners who need close and convenient access, who depended on easy access to such products and services, these kiosks were a necessary lifeline.

Why does the government give little or no notice to these small business owners when their stands, considered legal for many years and generate local sales taxes, are about to be razed? Why is there no compensation when these kiosks are destroyed overnight?

The most likely answer is found that in their place, the erection of chain stores with connections to Russian Oligarchs come into these neighborhoods quickly. Unlike the long and arduous process of red tape required for approval, the chain stores just seem to pop up with none of the hassle or legal expense that these folk experienced.

Connections, we suspect, is the real cause for the removal of these small businesses. One could argue that these kiosks are part of what makes Moscow beautiful. Chain stores owned by Oligarchs–not so much.