Plant park ravaged
The idea was to create an oasis of greenery in an edgy display of "wild urbanism" close to the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin last week opened Zaryadye, Moscow’s first new park in 50 years, admiring its attempt to recreate sweeps of Russian nature in the heart of the city. But the lofty aims for the 14-billion-ruble (NZ$335m), 14-hectare park divided into zones of forest, steppe, tundra, and floodplain - have been brought back to earth after 10,000 plants were destroyed in the stampede to follow in Putin’s footsteps. Managers have been forced to limit entry after visitors trampled, lay on and stole thousands of specimens. Igor Safiullin, a senior keeper, said the first waves of sightseers had destroyed or stolen 30 per cent of the greenery, including endangered plants. Anastasiya Rakova, Moscow’s deputy mayor, played down the destruction "I wouldn’t call it vandalism," she said. "It’s just that nature cannot yet cope with such a flow [of people]."