Moscow's $27million makeover

Long known for its rich history and marble-lined metro, Moscow has suddenly discovered that it has a bad rap among foreigners and is spending tens of millions of dollars on a makeover.

    Moscow is to undergo a makeover to attract foreigners

    Veronika Khilchevskaya, a consultant working on the campaign by the Moscow mayor's office to boost the Russian capital's image, said: "After all, Mickey Mouse is just a mouse with good publicity."

    Yury Luzhkov, the city's mayor, said "we should present Moscow as a confident, comfortable and interesting city" after it was ranked as the most expensive in the world for expatriates in a recent survey.

    Quality-of-life reports frequently slam Moscow for high prices, traffic and pollution.

    The mayor, however, accuses the media of focusing on "negative information" about Moscow, such as frequent building collapses and attacks on dark-skinned foreigners.

    Grigory Antyufeyev, head of the Moscow tourism committee, said: "It pays to make a good impression. Every foreign tourist brings 900 dollars to the city."

    Antyufeyev said that only 3.5million foreigners have passed through "the intersection of Europe and Asia" in the past year - seven times fewer than Paris.

    Moscow has changed radically since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    In addition to a flourishing of Western-style shopping centres and chain stores, old hotel facades have been repainted, cathedral cupolas restored, bridges and monuments spruced up.

    Vladimir Beketov, who returned to Moscow after 12 years, said: "There are new restaurants every 100 metres, the shops are full and there are flowers everywhere."

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Do you really know the price of milk?

    Do you really know the price of milk?

    Answer as many correct questions as you can and see where your country ranks in the global cost of living.

    The Coming War on China

    The Coming War on China

    Journalist John Pilger on how the world's greatest military power, the US, may well be on the road to war with China.