Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

Брошенные Камушки: Как живет микрорайон-резервация рядом с небоскребами «Сити»
People in Kamushki live in permanent uncertainty. Their houses stand next to the famous skyscrapers “City” in Moscow. All passes are occupied by car-sharing vehicles. Only six houses have survived out of 20+ here. They had not been included in the program of renovation and locals rumor they will be demolished for the sake of construction of an elevated freeway. Let’s have a look at Kamushki and its residents.
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

There is such a paradox: if you search “Russia” in Google and “Россия” (the same word in Russian), you gonna get absolutely different things. The same happens, for example with the phrase “Winter in Russia” and “Зима в России”. The first will show idyllic pictures and beautiful snowy landscapes, the second – mud, traffic jams caused by heavy snow, grayness and dull people overcoming high snow to get to work.

“Moscow-City” is the most ambitious urban project of the recent 30 years, the symbol of success and big money, the main decoration for musical videos and selfies of tourists from province. “Moscow City” still neighbors with a microdistrict Kamushki, whose houses are being abandoned by people.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
“This is my district!!!”
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

The newest and the tallest structure in Kamushki is a 14-storey building founded in 1991. Residents of Kamushki do not like the fact of their proximity to “Moscow-City” skyscrapers. They live in the shadow of huge structures, hear the noise of construction, see and smell much dust coming from there, meet unexpected guests arriving by cars to their yards.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

Each day “Moscow-City” is visited by about 130 thousand people, most of them are drivers. Those who cannot park their cars next to the skyscrapers or wanna save 380 rubles for an hour of parking, look for space in the yards of Kamushki. The authorities repeatedly installed auto barriers but they were broken.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

Residents of Kamushki live without changes. Even if they want to renovate something in their flats, they don’t, because their houses are promised to be demolished. It has been lasting for about 20 years. The authorities also promised to resettle these people but haven’t found the place where thousands of people could move to.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

“I feel as if I’m living in occupation. I have to walk round the whole district to get to a subway station, although there is an asphalted pathway fully occupied by cars” – says Yulia, a local resident.

There is only one shop in Kamushki now, that is called “Azerbaijani” by locals. Not because of owners, but high prices and poor range of products. No banks, post offices, drug stores. However, there is an establishment under the sign “Center of Social Initiatives”, whose employees bother locals, especially elderly ones, with an offer to move somewhere else. Only four street cleaners remove snow and litter in the entire district.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

The ground in Kamushki is expensive and the locals think they are intentionally squeezed out by such living conditions. Someone spills liquid or paint with a terrible smell in the houses. The passways are blocked by concrete blocks so a fire truck won’t be able to approach. The residents also mention some unknown suspicious people coming to their microdistrict. Abandoned flats seem to be visited by migrants and homeless people.

Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
“Housing agency”
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers
Kamushki: Life In the Shadow of Skyscrapers

Some residents of kamushki wish to move, others vote against renovation – especially those who invest some money in their flats.

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