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.