Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top CD Market May Be Closed

The popular Gorbushka outdoor market, a Mecca for buyers of cheap and often counterfeit CDs, tapes and videos, may only be open for three more days as City Hall moves to shut it down for good.

Vladimir Senkov, head of the Filyovsky Park district where the market is located, said Tuesday that Gorbushka will be open this Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 30, giving shoppers a last chance to buy gifts for the holidays.

Senkov had issued a closure order Dec. 7, leaving would-be shoppers stunned last weekend to find the rows and rows of stalls that lined Gorbushka cleared away. The market is only open on weekends.

"Judging by public reaction, the closure of the market looks like a really unpopular measure," Senkov said in a telephone interview. "I am not the one who would want to be at war with the common man."

What happens to Gorbushka after Dec. 30 is unclear. The market was closed by two unrelated orders issued by the Filyovsky Park district and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in the first week of December.

A source at the Mayor's Office said Gorbushka's fate will be decided by Luzhkov personally.

"It looks like the documents that are related to Gorbushka do not even leave his office," the source said.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said Gorbushka may face the fate of many other outdoor markets in Moscow, which were closed and turned into shopping centers under Luzhkov's orders.

One of the latest markets to be outlawed is the so-called Ptichy Rynok, a market selling pets from St. Bernards and Siamese kittens to parrots and snakes. The market will be moved out of the city and set up beyond the outer ring road, Interfax reported.

The City Hall official said Gorbushka would most likely be turned into some kind of leisure-shopping center. Luzhkov has given City Hall two months to come up with proposals, the source said.

Gorbushka management refused to comment Tuesday on the market's closure.

Senkov said he had wanted to close the market to prevent "gang-style fights for influence" among its vendors.

While declining to give details about the battle for influence, he said such problems did not exist until last summer when City Hall withdrew the right of district officials to license vendors at outdoor markets.

Senkov said he had sold licenses for Gorbushka's 1,000 trading spots for 60 rubles to 120 rubles ($2.15 to $4.30) a day and rented tables and booths for about 5,000 rubles a month.

Now Gorbushka's management is charged with licensing vendors.

Gorbushka, which opened in the late 1980s, got its name from a nearby House of Culture building named after Nikolai Gorbunov, a prominent Soviet official in the 1920s and 1930s.

Gorbushka developed over the last decade into a large market well known for a wide range of music, video and software titles with rock-bottom prices guaranteed by a steady supply of cheap counterfeit stock.

Traders at the market say that no less than half of Moscow's total compact disk and video cassette sales take place at Gorbushka. With more than 5 million video cassettes and 3 million music disks sold each month in Moscow for an average price of 100 rubles to 150 rubles each, Gorbushka's monthly turnover in music and film goods alone adds to more than $14 million, according to the Vedomosti newspaper.

Some Muscovites were disappointed Tuesday about the shakeup at Gorbushka but said they were keeping their fingers crossed.

"It is all so expensive elsewhere, and it would be sad to lose this place where CDs are really affordable," said Inna Kuznetsova, a mother of three.

"I just don't believe that Gorbushka will cease to exist," added Yelena Tsitovskaya, an advertising agency manager who visits Gorbushka at least every month. "In the worst case it will reappear in another place."

Even Senkov, who ordered the market closed, said he is a frequent shopper at Gorbushka and hopes it will live on in some form.

"I myself enjoy good instrumental music. I have a 10-disk CD player in my car and I like listening to music when I drive to the country," he said.