Crackdown on outdoor markets
Moscow authorities have launched a crackdown on "weekend markets" and sellers of melons and watermelons in a move aimed against foreign agricultural produce.
This month, the number of weekend outdoor markets around the city fell from 235 to 119, City Hall?s consumer market and services chief, Vladimir Malyshkov, told RIA Novosti.
"Inspections have discovered that goods of Turkish and Chinese origin were sold [at a number of such markets], while there were nearly no farmers at some of them," he said.
After shutting down some outdoor markets, others will be focused on local agricultural produce, with non-food sales restricted to souvenirs and goods produced by disabled people.
"There will be no imports," he said, adding that in September some extra outdoor markets for fresh produce will open temporarily for Moscow vendors to sell winter supplies.
Earlier, City Hall said it would dramatically cut the number of cages selling melons and watermelons that pop up in August. So far, however, the number of watermelon vendors seems to be the same as last year.
The crackdown appears to be part of Mayor Yury Luzhkov?s plan from last year to close all outdoor markets.
Outdoor markets were supposed to bring food prices down, but instead middlemen are taking farmers? spots, Igor Nikolayev, an expert at FBK, told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
"It looks like officials are profiting from this, taking bribes from resellers - and those bribes are reflected in retail prices."