Staunton, June 26 – Approximately five million Muscovites leave the city in the summertime, at least during the day, with the vast majority of them going to dachas in Moscow oblast where they get all the benefits of local oblasts without having to pay any taxes to that region, according to oblast resident Stanislav Barykhanov.
The only way forward, he says in a comment for “Svobodnaya pressa,” is to have Moscow and Moscow oblast unite in an act of “mutual swallowing” that will allow city residents the chance to spend time in their dachas and allow oblast residents with the chance to get on with their own lives (svpressa.ru/blogs/article/151208/).
According to realtors in the Russian capital, “more than three million” of the city’s residents have dachas outside the city limits, most of whom have them in the surrounding Moscow oblast. In addition, there are more than 500,000 people who work in the city but live in the oblast year around.
This pattern reflects the high prices for and small sizes of Moscow city apartments and the continuing urbanization of Russia, Barykhanov says. Consequently, the summer influx of Muscovites only adds to the problems caused by the influx of Russians from more distant parts of the country year round.
One consequence of the flight from the city in summer times is that the population of the Russian capital is five million less in the summer months than in the winter. That may make things easier for Muscovites, but it only adds to the problems of the oblast, problems for which there is now no money to address.
Everyone in both the city and the oblast knows about the overcrowded highways and shortcomings in other infrastructure, he continues; but few reflect on the fact that the city residents who have dachas in the oblast don’t pay taxes to the latter and thus leave oblast residents with a burden greater than they can carry.
The only way forward, Barykhanov says, is for Moscow city and Moscow oblast to “unite into one federal subject. In fact, we live together already … [and] a single system of administration will permit the more effective resolution of many sharp problems,” including regulation of migration and maintenance of infrastructure.
But even more important, he says, unification will help save “the natural and man-made beauty of this unique historical corner of Russia which,” Barykhanov reminds, “belongs equally to Muscovites and to us, the aboriginals.”