Why is Sovetskaya Street in Brest better than Eugene Doga Street in Chisinau …?

 

In Moldova, elections of mayors of cities and local councilors are held.

These are the first elections in the country that take place after the overthrow of the totalitarian regime of Vladimir Plahotniuc and his DPM (the Democratic Party of Moldova).

The results of the rule of the so-called “Pro-European Coalition” formed by the alliance of the Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party from 2009 to the end of 2018 are as follows:

 

  • Moldova ranks 114th in the world out of 195 countries according to the Civil Liberties Index
  • Moldova ranks 91st in the world according to the Press Freedom Index: It had dropped by10 positions by the year of 2018
  • As a result of banking fraud, 12% of GDP was stolen
  • 78th place among 113 countries according to the Rule of Law Index for 2017–2018
  • According to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index for 2018, the Republic of Moldova ranked 117 out of 180
  • 81% of Moldovan citizens do not trust the Justice System
  • 73% of the population is afraid to express its opinion or participate in actions that have a political context
  • 28% of children live below the poverty line

 

And here is the data where Moldova “leads” among European countries:

 

  • In Moldova, there are 215 prisoners per 100 thousand people. This is the 5th result in Europe. Only Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania have more.
  • 7th place in Europe for the duration of imprisonment (19 months)
  • 5th place in Europe for overcrowding in prisons
  • Moldova is a leader in Europe for population reduction. By 2050, minus 44%
  • 1st place in Europe for mortality in prisons. 55 deaths per 10 thousand prisoners

 

There can be a lot of talks about European principles and values; there can be thousands of European flags hung on government buildings; there can be endlessly narratives to European representatives of how well the case with human rights is and how successfully reforms are implemented in all areas of life with European taxpayers’ money; however, based on the above figures, we can ascertain that the Moldovan authorities resorted to the usual manipulation and falsification of the real situation.

This year I was lucky to visit several countries of the Eastern Partnership that are at different socio-economic stages of their development: Somewhere, the rule took more authoritarian forms; somewhere, democratic institutions are more developed. However, I will not delve into these differences now. It was interesting for me to compare, using the example of one street, the attitudes of authorities towards its citizens.

So, in any capital, for sure, there is a pedestrian street, which is, usually, the face of the city, and which is suggested by hospitable residents to the tourists for being admired. In 2015, a similar street appeared in Chisinau. However, I think that few Chisinau residents would like to visit it, not to mention suggesting it to guests – who come from far away – to take a walk along it.

 

Here are some photos that were recently taken on the pedestrian street in the center of Chisinau, which bears the name of the Moldovan composer Eugen Doga.

 

 

 

The arrow points to the building of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Moldova, whose one of the sides faces Eugen Doga Pedestrian Street.

 

There is a stone lying right in the middle of the pedestrian street. Judging by the fact that the leaves in the pit for the stone are no longer yellow, but brown, it lies in this place for a long time.

 

There are some benches, which tired passers-by are invited to relax on.

 

There are such potholes here and there in the street.

 

There is another lonely bench.

 

There are drain wells along the entire street. Along the entire length of the street, gaps are already observed: In the places where pipes for collecting rainwater are laid.

Due to the fact that the stones are laid unevenly and on the wrong side, it is impossible to walk in high heels on the street. It is also problematic to walk with perambulators: They must be equipped with good shock absorbers to dampen vibrations. Needless to say, the pedestrian street is a real obstacle for people with disabilities.

In 2013, the Chisinau authorities named the street in the center of Chisinau in honor of the Moldovan composer Eugen Doga. In 2015, the street was paved with paving stones, and it became a pedestrian street. Improvement work cost the capital budget 620 thousand Euros.

The great composer Eugen Doga himself says that he never walked along the capital’s street bearing his name and he does not like how it looks. “This road is not for pedestrians, it is for horses. If you walk along it in heels, you can find yourself without heels and without legs. The city hall is constantly changing leadership and there is no one to talk to. To make something beautiful you need money. It’s good that they did it and did it during my lifetime, but it needs to be completed. Control is needed there.” says Eugene Doga.

For comparison, you can look at several photos I took this summer during trips to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Belarus. Unfortunately, I had only a couple of hours for each of the cities I managed to visit, but it was enough to compare their pedestrian streets. You can see the difference between what the “pro-European” leadership in Chisinau has managed to do and what the leadership of those cities, which are located a thousand kilometers from European capitals, has done.

 

It seems to me that just one picture – taken even in the rain – is enough to see the difference. There are cobblestones only in certain areas: as an element of design..

 

Sovetskaya Street in Brest. View from above. Photo kp.ru

 

I also wanted to show a couple of photos from Brest and Minsk. These demonstrate the absence of the need of loud declaration of pro-European development path for making comfortable living environment for people.

In Brest, large stations have LED screens displaying the estimated time of transport arrival and advertisements.

 

Such toilets, for people with disabilities, are installed in Minsk.

 

There is a pedestrian underpass in Minsk. “Advertising” is written on the LED screen. There are ordinary advertising posters on both sides of the LED screen. Please note: the underpass is protected by the glass canopy from the rain.

 

There is the descent, for people with disabilities, to the pedestrian underpass in Minsk. As you can see, the channel bar is installed only on one side, and therefore wheelchairs with different widths between the wheels can go down. In the meanwhile, in Moldova, it is provided only for standard wheelchairs.

 

There is a pedestrian street in Baku.

 

There is the equipping of a pedestrian underpass, on a pedestrian street in Baku, so as not to be flooded by rain.

 

There is a street in the old district of Baku. For some reason, it is paved with even planch, not cobblestones.

 

There is a pedestrian street in Yerevan.

 

There is a drinking fountain on the pedestrian street of Yerevan. An entire tourist group can come up and slake its thirst.

 

There is a pedestrian street in the center of Tbilisi.

 

There is another pedestrian street for tourists in Tbilisi.

 

There are groceries in the underpass in the center of Minsk near the station. There is air conditioning in every grocery.

 

Care for the visually impaired in Minsk.

 

In the end, I would like to say that in order to make the urban space convenient for residents and visitors of our cities, two conditions shall be observed: the first one – the wish for making this and the second one – ability to make it.

 

 

#CivilSocietyCooperation