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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Rails Against 'Bastard' Foreign Ads

The powerful mayor of Moscow wants to crack down on foreign-language signs, which he said have created "abracadabra'' in the Russian capital.

"Moscow has turned into a bastard with hieroglyphs and other foreign signs,'' Mayor Yury Luzhkov told city officials at a meeting, reported by the newspaper Commersant Daily on Wednesday. "This city is like abracadabra.''

Luzhkov gave the officials two weeks to come up with new regulations for outdoor ads.

It was the second such crusade by Luzhkov against foreign-language signs. In 1992, he decreed that all outdoor advertising must at least have a Russian translation.

Many shop signs and billboards now are bilingual, advertising themselves in the Latin alphabet and Russia's Cyrillic one.

But Luzhkov wants "to give priority to signs in Russian,'' according to the report.

He said foreign-language signs should be placed below Russian signs, and the size of Latin letters must not exceed 10 centimeters. Russian letters can be up 80 centimeters high.

The mayor also called for tighter control over the placement of billboards and signs, saying they should be banished entirely from the oldest parts of Moscow.

There is more than patriotism behind the mayor's campaign. He also wants to hike prices for outdoor advertising and establish tighter city control over their sale.

It costs only about $25 now to place an ad on a huge billboard on a major street, city official Leonid Belov said. Luzhkov told the daily Segodnya the city loses about $200,000 a year because no one has raised prices.