- 10 Apr 08, 11:36 AM
The Russian capital, Moscow, is a place I've long wanted to visit - but not one, I confess, where I had any idea what the disability access would be like. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, which follows wheelchair user Sergei Prushinsky around the city, Moscow is a bit of a nightmare:
For the city's disabled population, however, Moscow is an anachronistic labyrinth of ramp-less curbs and buildings, a capital with a subway system that is next-to-impossible for people in wheelchairs to use.
Disability rights advocates apparently say that disabled people still face a great deal of stigma - a legacy of the way they were treated during the long years of Soviet rule, when they were shut out of society. Things are now changing - but slowly. Buses are being made disability-friendly, and offices and apartment blocks are getting ramps at their entrances - although they obviously still have a thing or two to learn about that, since many of the ramps end up being either too steep or too slippery for wheelchair users to actually navigate.
A few years back, Ouch's Penny Batchelor took a holiday on the Trans-Mongolian Express railway, which started in Moscow. As she said at the time:
In Moscow, their idea of subway access is a couple of breathtakingly steep metal tracks down the stone steps.
Which, I suppose, makes even the notoriously inaccessible London Underground network look a positive breeze in comparison. Well, almost.
If you've gone to Moscow - or indeed elsewhere in Russia - as a disabled traveller, I'd be interested to hear your access experiences in the comments.