The All-Russia Exhibition Center, or VVTs, a sprawling exhibition space originally designed to celebrate Soviet industry, will be turned into a park "dedicated to the achievements of the Russian Federation," said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
The grounds have been a ramshackle market since the 1990s, its decaying architecture a distressing symbol of the Soviet Union's collapse. "The former VDNKh is depressing" as "the historical monuments are almost in ruins," said Mayor Sobyanin, himself born during the Soviet Union's heyday.
The Moscow government plans to restore lawns, demolish illegal construction, repair alleys and ban cars from the area's center. The renovated park will have "not less, but many more" visitors than the current one, Sobyanin added.
Some areas, however, will change only slightly. The 'Cosmos' pavilion, for instance, will continue to educate the public about space achievements, but now focus exclusively on Russia.
The exhibition grounds will also be renamed VDNKh, the name it held under the Soviet Union and the current name of the nearby metro stop.
The VVTs, which opened in 1939, covers a vast territory of 236.6 hectares north of Moscow's center. 70 percent of it belongs to the federal government and 30 percent to the government of Moscow. The net profit of the VVTs in 2012 was 72.16 million rubles ($2 million).