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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hundreds Rally Over Gorbushka

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Several hundred people gathered at noon Saturday outside the Gorbunova House of Culture to rally against the closing of the outdoor Gorbushka market.

Gorbushka, known as much for inexpensive CDs, tapes and videos as for pirated goods, shut down Dec. 30 on orders from City Hall. The first protest on Feb. 13 drew around 150 people, according to Interfax.

Many in the crowd had run stalls at the market and are now out of work. Some held up signs reading "Mayor! Don't decide for the people" and "Muscovites need markets." Another sign said that 2,500 people lost their jobs because of the closing.

A resolution passed around by organizers read that the closing was "not only the liquidation of trade enterprises" because Gorbushka "had become an original pilgrimage destination, a Mecca of cultured and thoughtful people, 'free artists,' admirers of music and other arts, progressive and independent youth."

The rally came a day after city officials said the market would be moved to a new location nearby, a unit of the Rubin factory, in a few months.

Vladimir Malyshkov, head of City Hall's department of consumer markets and services, was quoted by Interfax as saying that 7,000 square meters would be available for Gorbushka vendors at the beginning of April.

Speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio Saturday, Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev said that Gorbushka could restart at the end of April or beginning of May, with about 10,000 square meters available.

However, the proposal to move did not rest well with protesters Saturday.

Olga Subbotina, who sold children's videos at the market until it closed, rented her stall for $100 a month, which is eight weekend days. Moving to Rubin, she said, would mean working all week and paying $5,000 to get a small booth and then $55 per square meter a month.

The rally came a day after officials said that the market would be moved to a unit of the nearby Rubin factory.

"Secondly, people won't go there everyday, they've already gotten used to going to the market on the weekend," Subbotina said.

The goal of protests, emphasized speaker Nikita Kuznetsov of the small- business union Liga Svobody, is not to move to a new place, but to reopen it where it was. Protesters answered the charge of piracy by saying that only a third of the products sold there were illegal, and the closing penalizes everyone. "To sell pirated products is definitely illegal and [authorities] should take action, but not close the whole market," Kuznetsov said.

Selling pirated wares at lower price is not so terrible, said Sergei, 26, who didn't want to give his last name but says he sells non-pirated CDs from abroad.

"If I were a singer and released an album and sold it for a lot of money to a certain segment of consumers, I wouldn't mind it selling to others for less," he said. "For me it would be an advertisement. Let them listen."

Gorbushka is not the only market on the government's hit list. Shantsev also named the entrance to the market at Mitino as a big problem and said the city has begun to move the Ptichny market from the center out to the ring road.

"Those who live around these regions like Gorbushka always demand that [the markets] close and are brought under order. And those who live far away … say, no need. And we're looking for a compromise," he said.