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The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - 2017 JAMES HALLIDAY’S TOP 1OO -

Rock of ages Rus­sian fam­i­lies are bury­ing rel­a­tives with­out grave­stones be­cause an ur­ban re­newal pro­gram in Moscow has cre­ated such de­mand for gran­ite. Mus­covites com­plain that the cap­i­tal has be­come one big build­ing site. Since Sergei Sobyanin be­came mayor in 2010, quar­ry­ing of gran­ite has al­most tripled in Rus­sia, ac­cord­ing to the Me­duza news web­site. The city has spent $4.2 bil­lion im­prov­ing parks and streets, lay­ing about 1.2 mil­lion sqm of gran­ite paving and 675km of kerb­ing this year. Most comes from the Urals, Siberia, Ukraine and China. In Au­gust, passersby no­ticed that stacks of gran­ite wait­ing to be laid near the Krem­lin had been des­tined for a fu­neral ser­vices com­pany. Staff at three com­pa­nies that make head­stones and tombs told Me­duza they had prob­lems ful­fill­ing or­ders. “Be­cause of the Moscow or­ders, the Urals gran­ite-sell­ers have turned rude and al­most stopped tak­ing or­ders for smaller batches,” one firm said.

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