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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov: Districts Need to Tidy Up

The city’s courtyards and foyers, or podyezdy, are not the stinking, poorly illuminated spaces that they used to be, but even these improvements are threatened by a lack of city funds.

"In doing this, we are solving Moscow’s social problems," Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Tuesday, referring to his three-year-old initiative titled "Moi Podyezd, Moi Dvor," or, "My Entryway, My Courtyard."

The program aims to remove eyesores from the city’s public spaces and keep courtyards and entryways in good repair.

The program is the focus of Luzhkov’s populist agenda. As of Oct. 1, 84.6 percent, 27,916, of the foyers in the city’s apartment buildings will have been inspected and brought up to standard.

In the first seven months of this year, 660.3 million rubles ($23.7 million) were spent. Of this amount, 453.4 million rubles came from the city budget and 206.9 million rubles came from investors and tenants themselves.

In reality, though, the city needs 7.5 billion rubles a year to keep courtyards, parks, sports complexes and hallways, Luzhkov said at a weekly City Council meeting, adding that city deputies can only offer about half that amount from the budget.

As a result of future changes in tax legislation and revenue redistribution between the federal government and the regions, proposed expenditures for building maintenance — the budget line item that funds "My Entryway, My Courtyard" — have been revised down by 92.5 million rubles.

Financing isn’t the only thing holding back the program, said First Deputy Mayor Boris Nikolsky. "We need to give it more energy and attention," he said. "Or else we won’t be able to meet our own expectations next year."

Luzhkov had invited the directors of the city’s 15 districts to the meeting, and most of his comments were addressed to them.

"This program is the most important thing that we do in the eyes of Muscovites," he said. "And I am holding all of you responsible for it. We will part ways if you don’t succeed."

The initiative is insufficiently organized in the Northwest, East and South districts, said Nikolai Pavlov, head of the public services department. This means these regions have the dirtiest courtyards, often have abandoned cars parked on sidewalks and don’t light enough of their walkways.

City Deputy Irina Osokina said this situation is a result of the public’s apathy to its surroundings — a hangover from the Soviet era.

"Everyone is accustomed to the government caring for everything outside the limits of their apartment," Osokina said.