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Pipeline Company threatens to demolish workshop of artist Aidan Salakhova
Portrait of Aidan Salakhova.

MOSCOW.- Together with neighbors, Moscow artist Aidan Salakhova is fighting a court decision to bulldoze their village. Yagodka is located at the edge of Moscow and is home to Ms Salakhova’s studio where she has created most of her major art works over the past six years. Ms Salakhova's last major international exhibition was at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

OOO Gazprom Transgaz Moskva, a subsidiary of OAO Gazprom, the leading natural gas producer in Russia, wants to demolish all structures within 100 meters to 350 meters on either side of its pipeline that runs near Yagodka. Russian state regulations, however, specify a cleared area of 25 meters on either side of a pipeline.

The workshop of Ms Salakhova and the homes of her middle class neighbors are more than 100 meters from the pipeline, in accordance with state standards. They are challenging a court decision that sanctions demolition of their homes beginning possibly at the end of August. Demolition would severely setback Ms Salakhova’s efforts to complete new artworks for her exhibition that opens in Moscow in early winter.

Ms Salakhova points out that other areas along the pipeline have structures within a distance of 70 meters, and the gas pipeline company didn’t object. The Crocus City Mall and the Myakinino metro station are a few such structures. In another area near the pipeline, new homes are even under construction.

Yagodka is located in one of the most desirable locations on Moscow’s outskirts – the prestigious Rublevka area, home to some of Russia's most powerful businessmen and politicians. Ms Salakhova worries that the pipeline company is acting on behalf of real estate developers who covet Yagodka’s land and wish to clear it of existing middle class homes in order to build expensive elite mansions.

Aidan Salakhova and the residents of Yagodka call on Gazprom Transgaz Moskva and its affiliated structures to come to an agreement and prevent the destruction of their village.

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