The Heroes of Russian Architectural Conservation, with Clementine Cecil

Clementine was The Times' Moscow correspondent (2001-2004), In the Soviet era, the struggle to defend Moscow's built heritage was a dissident activity for which protesters were sent to the Gulags

This struggle is renewed today.

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As new money has converged on Moscow, its historic buildings are being demolished and dismembered against a backdrop of fevered development, politics and corruption.

In the words of Andrei Batalov, the head of the commission restoring St. Basil's Cathedral: “The construction business is like a giant monster: the bigger it gets, the bigger the buildings it needs to consume.”

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Clementine Cecil

Clementine was The Times Moscow correspondent (2001-2004).

After the central Moscow building where she lived was demolished, Cecil co-founded MAPS (the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society) in 2004. She co-edited Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point, published by MAPS and SAVE Europe's Heritage. It hit Russia like a bombshell that led to the immediate listing of 3 buildings and alerted all Muscovites to the urgency of the threat to Russia's Constructivist and Avant Garde heritage.

Clementine Cecil relates the stories of an unequal and dangerous struggle fought by concerned citizens against an unholy alliance of corrupt big business in league with a megalomaniac city mayor.

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2010Martin Keeley