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Moscow, the global city? The position of the Russian capital within the European system of metropolitan areas

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During the 1990s, the city of Moscow was subject to an extraordinary transformation in its political, economic and social structures, which had consequences for the position of Moscow within the national and international hierarchy of cities. This article is concerned with the trends that can be discerned regarding the position of Moscow on the national and European scales. Without a doubt, the development of Moscow is characterized by an increasing separation from the national urban system and a growing international orientation. The Russian capital has no competitors on the national level: measured against the relevant economic indicators it is a long way ahead of the remaining Russian cities, which are primarily integrated into national and regional economic flows, and participate in the global economy only to a limited degree. Moscow, in contrast, is increasingly striving to integrate itself into transnational and international economic structures. Although the concept of Moscow as a global city is often instrumentalized in municipal politics, the ability of the Russian capital to act as a global centre is in fact limited. At present Moscow's most important function, from a Central European perspective, is to act as a bridging link between Central and Western Europe and Russia. There is a danger that the spatial disparities between Moscow on the one hand, and the remaining Russian cities and regions on the other, will continue to grow.
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Keywords: Moscow; global cities; service sector; transformation; urban development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leibniz Institute of Regional Geography, Schongauer Str 9, Leipzig D-04239, Germany, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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