25 December 2007

Bitter encounter with the Soviet Industrial Might

As we were kicked out of our old office because the ever hungy capital developers needed that space for a shopping mall, we were looking for a new location for our company but in Moscow (where for Russians a standart office space is now more valuable than Ukraine itself) it took almost half a year to find a new one for a budget that would buy a quarter of any midsized Turkish city.

Ostankino TV Tower and the usual yellow-grey Moscow sky

Although it was a new building with better hygienic standarts (unlike the old one with soviet fittings just brushed up to look like European -what we call here a Yevroremont-), the real problem was imminent when I emerged from the already crammed Metro in Nagatinskaya region, the south of Moscow.

Make factories closer to homes or vice-versa

Like all mega cities, Moscow also has a air pollution problem and the ever increasing number of passenger cars (most of them are Ladas that are not allowed to enter any civilized country roads) are obviously not helping the solution.

This is the safe heaven for socialism for you

I guess the real problem of Moscow lies beneath its historic communist city planning, where the soviet planners visibly spotted heavy industry inside the cities (Boring Info: in Soviet Union, the cities were created around big industrial complexes like Chelyabinsk, which produced the tanks that destroyed Nazis and Tolyatti, which still produces Ladas of 1952 design).

A view of the Moscow river from my office. This is where the river gets its radiactive content

The way that Moscow is not different than those dark cities far away on the siberian plains is easily understood from the names metro stations like Avtozavodkaya (Automobile factory) or Elektrozavodkaya (Power plant). Most of these pollution centers are situated on the south-southeastern axis (as away from the Kremlin as possible) and this creates a grey zone in the city where the rents are lower and sky is greyer. The southern skyline is dominated by high chimneys and subsequent clouds of all chemicals known to man.

A Russian colleague has made a joke that in this office his coffee always stays warm in smart way that he noted the high radiactivity in this region.

So we have been working in this district for more than 2 weeks and still alive...hopefully.

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