Photo Gallery Russia's Flourishing Capital

Moscow was long in the hands of criminals and the nouveau riche. But now, Europe's biggest metropolis is undergoing rapid change. It is becoming more open and more cosmopolitian, despite Putin's nationalism.
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Even as Kremlin hardliners keep tight control of the country and suppress the opposition, life in Moscow is flourishing. And the city has the most decadent nightclubs this side of Amsterdam. Here, the male strip club Kapriz.

Foto: Yuri Kozyrev/ Noor/ DER SPIEGEL
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The landmarks of the former Soviet capital are still there, but the face of the city is changing. It now has more square footage of shopping malls than London or Paris. And the grand communist boulevards have been augmented by pedestrian zones.

Foto: © Grigory Dukor / Reuters/ REUTERS
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The city is still very much the representative capital of Russia. Here, for example, people pose in front of the installation commemorating victory day near Red Square. But it is increasingly becoming a city for its own residents as well.

Foto: © Stringer . / Reuters/ REUTERS
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Mayor Sergey Sobyanin is essentially a Putin apparatchik, but he has assembled a staff of young reformers and paved the way for change in the city. Here, he attends a meeting with cyclists in Moscow. The city is building new bike paths across the metropolis.

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Models at Moscow Fashion Week. The city has long had a reputation for having a varied nightlife. But it is also transforming into a more European city as well, with amenities for everyone.

Foto: Denis Tyrin/ AP
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The city's celebrated metro system is expanding rapidly. The city government has initiated a program with which it aims to revolutionize public transportation. The metro's 300-kilometer (186-mile) rail network will be expanded by about 140 kilometers by 2020, and about 60 new stations will be added.

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The Bolshoi Theater, pictured here with a sand sculpture out front, is still the city's most celebrated theater. But there are plenty of new and more rebellious options now available for the city's creative class.

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One significant change is the fact that dozens of streets are being turned into pedestrian zones. The city hired Danish urban planner Jan Gehl, who initiated the construction of the Strøget in Copenhagen, once Europe's longest pedestrian zone. At the city government's request, Gehl also submitted a plan for Moscow, which would open up the city for pedestrians.

Foto: Alexander Zemlianichenko/ AP
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Maxim Liksutov, Moscow's deputy mayor and transportation minister, has been tasked with providing the city with a new infrastructure. "We surveyed 60,000 people and asked them how they envisioned their future lives in the city," he says.

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Business is booming in Moscow, despite the country's economic problems. Here, the buildings of the Moscow International Business Center.

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