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MOSCOW, August 4 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s capital, which is currently home to an estimated 10.5 million people, is marking City Day that is believed to coincide more or less with its ‘birthday’.
Traditionally, the beginnings of Moscow’s history are traced to the year 1147, under which it was mentioned for the first time in a monastery chronicle. The chronicler said that ‘Moskov’, a small town in the northeast Russian principality of Vladimir and Suzdal, had become the venue of a meeting between the Duke of Kiev, Yuri the Long Arms, and his friend and ally, Prince Svyatoslav Olgovich from Novgorod-Seversky.
Scholars believe, however, that the actual history of the city is at least three or four centuries longer.
Moscow displays an instance of an urban center that kept growing territorially and economically throughout centuries in spite of numerous incursions by foreign troops, fires, destruction and devastation.
Suffice it to recall that foreign invaders burned it down to ashes six times and the list of historical ‘celebrity personages’ whose troops would come close to it or seize it in different epochs includes Tamerlane, Batu Khan, Polish King Zigmunt III, and Napoleon.
In the fall of 1941, Nazi troops approached the city suburbs to stop at a distance where the Wehrmacht generals could see the towers of the Kremlin in their field binoculars.
Still, each major invasion or calamity would eventually bring about an expansion of the city, incorporation of nearby towns into it, construction of new residential areas, and powerful economic growth.
Today Moscow occupies a territory of 1,081 square kilometers. It has ten major administrative districts and 125 local districts.
This city makes up a separate constituent entity of the Russian Federation, and sociology experts say its population is likely to get over the 11 million mark soon.
In accordance with the federal-level plans adopted in the past few months, Moscow is heading for a new major territorial expansion. If effectuated, this project will see a geographic enlargement of the city by a factor of 2.4.
The southwest boundaries of New Moscow will reach to current administrative border between the Moscow region and the Kaluga region – some 75 kilometers away from the Kremlin.
Following the incorporation of 22 municipalities /towns and villages/ the city’s territory will total 160,000 hectares.
On the economic plane, the Russian authorities are eyeing the status of a financial center of global significance for Moscow.
The legislative acts necessary for this will hopefully be adopted in 2013.
The city authorities say the center may be located on the new lands outside of Moscow’s contemporary boundary but some parts of it may be located in the Moskva City business center, which is being erected on the banks of the Moskva River some 3 kilometers away from the Kremlin.
Sunday will be a day off from considering the grandiose plans, however. At 12:00 hours sharp, the striking of the Kremlin Chimes will signal the start of a big performance on Red Square.
Numerous functions and festive events will begin in all parts of the city after that.