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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Mayor to gag on Gagarin?

Towering above the Moscow sky-line, the statue of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, has for years made Gagarin Square one of the city's focal points. Now the huge square, spanning Leninsky Prospekt just south of center in Oktyabrsky District, is the focal point of a controversy over a Russian-French joint venture's plan to convert Gagarin Square into a modern business center. The highly-charged showdown, pitting democrat against fellow democrat, has become a banner of what can go wrong with privatization, and is expected to feature prominently Friday in a formal review on the status of the city's privatization drive. According to the proposed project, CNIT-Kaluzhskaya Zastava JV would turn 60 hectares of Gagarin Square into modern office space, stores and apartments. The joint venture received the rights to build on the square in a 1990 document signed by then-Moscow City Council Chairman Gavriil Popov and other city officials.
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