By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
Published: February 1, 2010
MOSCOW — The bulldozers came at night, flanked by armor-clad riot police officers, to clear the houses of a small neighborhood here at the behest of Moscow’s mayor, forcing residents out into subzero temperatures.
The mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, said they were living on the land illegally. But as more and more homes — some stately, some mere shacks — have come tumbling down over the last week and a half, an uncharacteristically fierce backlash has broken out, challenging one of Russia’s most powerful politicians. Politicians, human rights activists, media organizations and even nationalist and anarchist groups have come to the defense of the neighborhood, called Rechnik. Legal or not, these critics say, the demolition operation has crossed the line. (more…)