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

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbushka Won't Give Up Trademark

Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Thursday officially closed the book on Moscow's legendary Gorbushka bazaar, declaring that the outdoor market famous for its cheap pirated movies, music and software would "never be reopened."

Gorbushka, once the largest market of its kind in Eastern Europe, was shut down by city authorities Dec. 30, putting 3,000 vendors out of work.

At the time, Luzhkov and other city officials tried to reassure angry Muscovites, who protested by the hundreds, that a new Gorbushka would reopen — but inside a nearby building.

On Thursday, Luzhkov, together with several city officials, architects and law enforcement officers, toured the old Rubin TV plant near the Bagrationovskaya metro station and about 100 meters from Gorbushka, Interfax reported.

Luzhkov emerged from the tour to announce that a modern audio, video and electronics market would be created inside the factory.

Alexander Muzykantsky, head of City Hall's information department, said the Rubin market would be open by the end of April, but that seems like wishful thinking. Before the market opens, the city first needs to build a pedestrian underpass and a parking lot, Luzhkov said.

And, of course, there's money to be made: Luzhkov said the city is considering relocating the residents of two neighboring apartment buildings to create a new trade center with offices and a hotel.

City officials have said that they intend to keep the name Gorbushka for the new market — in part to save political face by claiming they "moved," but not closed the market.

But Grant Grigoryan, one of the founders of OAO Gorbushka, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he had no intention of letting the city use his trademark. "There won't be another Gorbushka," he added.

Grigoryan, who toured the plant with Luzhkov, complained about the fate of his Gorbushka colleagues.

"Tradesmen are suffering the most," Grigoryan said. "Gorbushka was famous for its very inexpensive goods, but at Rubin, according to the Moscow government's plan, tradesmen would have to pay a very high rent that would drive up prices dramatically."

Mikhail Chupov, the deputy director of Informzashita, the enterprise founded by City Hall last year to defend intellectual property rights, said in a telephone interview Thursday that something had to be done about Gorbushka.

"The fight with piracy was useless, there used to be many strange things at Gorbushka," said Chupov. "You would never find the same person in the same place [two days in a row]," he added.

Chupov said that while not 100 percent of the goods at Gorbushka were pirated, the number was close to that.

"Gorbushka was the last … disorganized market in Moscow and it was necessary to do something about it. It was not even registered as a market," said Chupov.

Grigoryan admitted that many of the goods sold at Gorbushka were pirated. But he said, only seven cases ever went to court.

"Why are there so few court cases? It's clear — the corruption," said Vadim Dalakishvili, a former Gorbushka trader. He said armed and masked policemen raided Gorbushka several times while he was working there and would confiscate whatever they wanted.

"[The cops] even called their friends and relatives on mobiles while everyone around was listening to ask which CD they wanted," he said.