Moving out of Moscow? Relocating Russian capital wouldn't be death sentence for Europe's largest city, state development boss says
Relocating Russia's capital city could energize distant regions, a top business official has said, insisting "life-hungry" citizens would still walk on Red Square and pack onto the Moscow metro, keeping the metropolis vibrant.
Igor Shuvalov, head of the VEB.RF state development corporation, backed the move as part of a talk at the New Knowledge marathon on Wednesday, arguing a big change may be in order.
“It would be good to move the capital somewhere or to distribute the functions of the capital’s departments to different cities,” he said, claiming that it would help to further raise the standard of living in Russia.Also on rt.com Russia's population could be far larger than America's, Putin says, if only it had been spared chaos of communism's rise and fall
Shuvalov, who says he has thought about moving the capital for as long as he has lived, emphasized that such a change would not harm livelihoods in Moscow. In his opinion, the city has more than enough attributes to continue attracting further development and people.
“Moscow will not change from this – Moscow has already gained so much strength that it won’t only develop if the capital is located here,” he said. “This is a big economy; this is a very big economy. The most life-hungry people will be striving here. St. Petersburg is also a big economy; there is a different pace, there are other values, other people will go there.”
While Shuvalov acknowledged that the future looks unclear for the plan, he claims there are constant talks about it and that it is entirely possible the world will see a new Russian metropolis crowned as the capital in the future.
As for the question of what city might take the new title, many politicians and businesspeople have proposed a move to St. Petersburg or to Vladivostok, in the Far East. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, however, has suggested the wilds of Siberia, arguing that such a move would help bolster city-building in the region and would combat overpopulation in Moscow.Also on rt.com Russia to start year-round sailing on its Arctic sea route within 5 years – minister
“We need to build three, or better, five large centers of scientific, industrial, economic [activity] in Siberia, in other words cities with a population of 300,000 to 500,000, or, better, up to a million people,” he said in August.
Several state deputies have fallen in behind Shoigu’s idea, and the idea of a Siberian capital seems to resonate with some Russians. In a survey conducted by Superjob, 22% of Russians support moving the seat of government farther East, with many interested in helping the economic development and population growth of the regions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, is apparently not yet convinced. During a 'direct line' event in June, he said that transferring the capital further east is not a solution that will deliver sustainable growth and improvements in quality of life.
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