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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Pull Plug on New Red-Light District

Quiet has returned to Kotelnicheskaya Naberezhnaya. A small army of prostitutes and pimps that appeared a week ago has been routed by police -- at least for now.

The sex industry workers started to gather on the river road east of the Kremlin after an outraged Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov publicly warned them to do their work there instead of on Tverskaya Ulitsa, the downtown boulevard that has become the city's embarrassing red light district.

But two police sergeants with billy clubs were pacing the embankment in front of the imposing Kotelnicheskaya Stalin wedding-cake building at 11 p.m. Thursday, deterring the influx of prostitutes, madams, pimps and customers that outraged many building residents.

"We won out over the women," said one of the sergeants, who said the two would patrol the embankment "for as long as we're told to."

Vladimir Vershkov, spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Interior Ministry, said police had received complaints from residents about the noisy activities of the prostitutes. Although there has been "no official directive," officers would be on hand to "ensure public order."

The prostitutes themselves said they had only set up shop on the embankment because Kulikov had told them to. "We took him literally," said a woman who called herself Marina. Standing on the embankment Wednesday night and dressed first in a loud, canary-yellow pantsuit and later in a navy Nike track suit, Marina, a 26-year-old former prostitute, said she currently works as a madam, running five to six prostitutes per night.a