Russia classifies pavement graffiti as hooliganism

Spray-painting an advert on a street pavement now counts as an act of hooliganism in Russia.

Graffiti ads first appeared in Moscow just over a year ago, particular around metro exits, and have since become a kind of phenomenon. The colorful signs promote anything from gigs and cafes to cheap registration for foreigners.

A lack of legislation has left the authorities uncertain how to react: until now they have only painted over the ads. As the new legislation has come into force, anyone caught doing this can be fined.

In the future, certain areas will be set aside especially for this form of advertising, primarily near business centers.

Moscow city hall has recently been waging war against all kinds of illegal advertising. Apart from pavement ads, the “unwanted” list includes large billboards on buildings and along streets.

In August 2011, over a third of the city’s street ads were removed from around the Garden, Boulevard and Third Rings. The vast majority of such billboards had been erected without permission.

Even an historic Mercedes sign was recently removede from “House on the Embankment” that had been wearing the mark for the last 10 years. While many thought the massive construction ruined the views of the nearby Christ the Savior Cathedral, for others it was the symbol of 1990s Russia.

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