Ride the Moscow metro
Ride the Moscow metro
Ivan Buranov

MOSCOW - The traffic jams in Russia’s capital have become world-famous in the last several years, so bad that in 2010 the Federal Government decided to address the problem directly.

At the time, then-President Dimitri Medvedev commissioned a plan for the development of Moscow’s transportation system through the year 2020 that aims to get Muscovites and suburbanites to leave their cars at home and take suburban trains and light rail.

In the past two years, the city of Moscow has built 13 kilometers of new subway track and six new subway stations, bought 546 new subway cars, and created 700,000 new parking spots.

Minister of Transportation Maksim Sokolov says the project’s goal is not to make drivers’ lives easier, but rather to convert them to public transportation, particularly those who are coming into Moscow from outside of the city.

In particular, the city intends to develop current rail tracks that are used only for freight at the moment, so that they will be able to transport 285 million people per year by 2020. Unfortunately, the department is also facing budget shortfalls that may threaten the ambitious rail-development projects.

As a way to alleviate the traffic jams in the city, Sokolov is also proposing to limit trucks in the city limits. He said that nearly 30 percent of the vehicles on the Moscow Ring Road are trucks, and that nearly half of the trucks are not going to Moscow, but simply passing through on their way to another destination.

Moscow city authorities also announced late last month a new 34-kilometer pedestrian zone in the city center that is part of the city's attempts to make it more livable as well as more attractive to tourists. The areas will be turned into pedestrian-only zones by the end of this year; this will involve closing 14 kilometers of roads in the city center.

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Ideas

Why Italy's Next President Should Be A Woman — And Not Just Any Woman

Italy's head of state is being elected next week, amid a flood of attention of the candidacy of infamously misogynous former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Having a woman in the presidency, argues Italian writer and intellectual Dacia Maraini, may finally help steer the country in a better direction.

The national demonstration organized by the feminist movement Non Una Di Meno, Rome, Italy

Dacia Maraini

Italy is a parliamentary democracy led by a prime minister. The functions of the President of the Republic are more honorary than operational, yet can be crucial in moments of political or constitutional crisis. Next week the votes among members of the Parliament and Senate will decide who replaces outgoing President Sergio Mattarella. With most attention focused on the names of current Prime Minister Mario Draghi and controversial former four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, calls have been sounded that Italy is long overdue for having a female president.

-Op-Ed-

Many Italians, including some women, have criticized those calling for the election of a woman as Italy's next head of state — as if these calls were saying that being a woman is enough to govern well. To attribute such naive and clumsy thoughts to the people pushing for a woman president is an insult — we are taking instead about a question of principle.

"If the Constitution declares," as Sabino Cassese, a former Constitutional Court judge, wisely recalls, "that citizens are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, why has there not even been one woman among Italy's 12 presidents of the republic?"

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