Plant park rav­aged

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD -

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]."

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