Ruined by ‘locusts’: the Moscow area that got too cool, too quickly


Patriarch’s Ponds once housed poor families in communal apartments. Slowly it became home to Moscow’s wealthy elite – but then the hipsters arrived

In a city of high-rise apartment blocks and vast, teeming traffic arteries, tranquility is at a premium in Moscow. For that reason, many rich Russians have been drawn in recent years to Patriarch’s Ponds, a quiet area of pretty art nouveau buildings set around the eponymous pond (once there were three, now there’s only one) right in the centre of the city.

The area has been at the forefront of the new Moscow that has appeared over the past few years, packed with teeming cafes and bars, fashion boutiques and delicatessens. But as the area gets so popular that on weekend nights it overflows with outsiders visiting its bars and restaurants, the rich residents have complained that the influx is ruining their special area. Others say it was the rich new residents themselves who altered the area’s Soviet-era charm.

It is not unusual to see a Lamborghini parked outside an edgy hipster bar

Related: The bubble that turned into a tide: how London got hooked on gentrification

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