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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Volunteers to Collect Tons of Trash at Palace Grounds

Come Sunday, the grounds of Catherine the Great's unfinished palace will be getting a picking over.

Hundreds of volunteers are expected to converge on the long-neglected Tsaritsyno Park in southern Moscow to collect tons of litter left by careless Muscovites, said Vadim Karelin, head of the Moscow-based Novy Akropol group, which is organizing the cleanup.

The effort is a resumption of a Tsaritsyno cleanup that Novy Akropol started in April, when 350 volunteers picked up 15 tons of garbage and installed 30 trash bins.

There had been no trash bins in the park before, and 30 more will be placed in the area Sunday, Karelin said.

Tsaritsyno surrounds the uncompleted 18th-century palace designed for Catherine the Great. The park has been neglected for centuries and until recently could be described as a vast waste dump.

It is a popular place for Muscovites to meet for picnics or take their dogs for walks. The park raises meager funds from occasional tours and concerts.

"[Renowned architect Vasily] Bazhenov designed the park for Empress Catherine the Great and several dozen of her court members, not for thousands of visitors," Karelin said.

Karelin said his group is targeting Tsaritsyno for the cleanup because it is one of many properties in the capital that are owned by the federal government and, as such, does not get Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's attention.

"Luzhkov takes good care of city-funded properties -- one look at the Kolomenskoye Park with its perfectly swept lanes is enough to understand that," Karelin said of the outdoor museum and park only three metro stops to the north of Tsaritsyno.

Novy Akropol is involved in a number of environmental activities. In July, Novy Akropol activists climbed Elbrus, Europe's highest mountain, and brought down 20 tons of garbage. They also tend Moscow's Botanical Gardens, a federal property that had suffered the same fate as Tsaritsyno.

Novy Akropol welcomes volunteers to assist in the cleanup of Tsaritsyno Park. Volunteers will meet at noon Sunday at the park's main entrance near the Orekhovo metro station.