This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Urban activism in Eastern Europe and China: Socio-spatial structures and scales of contention.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
This paper studies local urban activism in contemporary Russia and relates neighborhood protests and urban citizenship to conflicts over housing-related public space. It situates Moscow as a cumulative space of post-Soviet neoliberal and authoritarian urban development and shows how and why Muscovites have opposed this development by engaging in local grassroots initiatives. The empirical analysis employs data from interviews with participants in two neighborhood protests against unwanted construction in their districts. It reveals patterns of active citizenship related to a rights-based approach to the living environment, the rejection of mainstream politics, and the building of new solidarity-based communities. Russian residents are voicing their dissent and building solidarity in their local living environments while innovatively navigating a highly limited public sphere and insisting on their right to participate in urban governance.