Friday, May 6, 2016

Those Living on Moscow’s Periphery Aren't Like Those in City Center, Study Concludes

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 6 – Those living on the periphery of the Russian capital – an ever-increasing share of Moscow’s population ( – are poorer than those at the center, seldom leave their district and watch television as their chief form of entertainment, according to the Moscow Urban Forum.

            In a 266-page study published in 2013 ( that has now been excerpted by the Tolkovatel portal (, these “peripheral” residents of the country’s capital city who live between the Third Transportation Ring and the Moscow Ring Road are very different than those typically identified as Muscovites.

            The study provides one of the most complete social and demographic portraits of a group of people who all too often by other Muscovites and many Russians as simply Muscovites but who in fact are quite different from the characteristics many associate with that definition and identity.

            Among the most intriguing findings of the research is that “the center of the city doesn’t much interest periphery Muscovites.” They seldom go there for anything but work and often not even for that, and they have little interest in doing so.

            “Almost 30 percent of women over 40” among this group and “22 percent of women under 40” do not go into the center of the Russian capital. And even among working men, only about 50 percent travel to the center for work. Much smaller percentages of both go to the center for films or the theater.

            “Periphery” Muscovite men “two to three times more often than their female counterparts visit the center of Moscow to sit in a restaurant or café.”  And few of either gender visit the center of the city for shopping. Overwhelmingly, both stay near their homes for shopping, entertainment, and were possible relaxation.

            “For the majority of [these] Muscovites, the center of the city is needed as a symbolic but not a business resource,” and the city’s transportation system has the effect of dividing people up in much the same way that “urban walls” did in the past. One way the center remains important for periphery Muscovites is that “almost no” minority groups are allowed there.

            According to the study, Russians on the periphery of the capital rely on television more than other Muscovites and less on the Internet, a pattern that may go a long way to explain why the less wealthy parts of the city are less inclined to engage in protests or even to support opposition candidates than are those near the center of town.

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