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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Bans Unsightly Autos

Relentless in his campaign to beautify the Russian capital, Moscow's iron-willed mayor has ordered clunkers off the streets.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov told police to stop any car "in technical disrepair or with blemishes'' and confiscate the license plates, Itar-Tass said Saturday.

It said at least 120,000 clunkers cruise the busy streets of Moscow every day and quoted city officials as complaining that Muscovites are too stingy to spend money on repairing their cars.

Luzhkov is famously touchy about eyesores in his beloved city. At various times, he has banned unsightly kiosks, told shopkeepers to install attractive lighting and window displays, and ordered the removal of signs in foreign languages.

Vowing to virtually rebuild Moscow by its 850th birthday next year, Luzhkov presides over perhaps the most ambitious reconstruction and beautification program in Russia.

The campaign on clunkers is his second attempt to make the city's traffic less unsightly. In March, he told police to fine the drivers of dirty cars. But spring rains began the next week and even bribe-hungry traffic cops gave up when confronted with thousands of mud-splattered cars.