Preobrazhenka KOSC
Preobrazhenka is an area in north eastern Moscow, so called after the building of Preobrazhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church in the middle of the 17th century. This suburb developed a new life in the Soviet era around the 1930s when industrial zones and factories began to replace the former, pretty orchards. The area cannot be described as architecturally remarkable; in fact, Preobrazhenka is extremely ugly and still worse are the more-or-less permanent traffic jams and the never ending noise.

Preobrazhenka is a working class neighbourhood and in its midst is Moscow's largest Farmers Market. Practically all trade is in the hands of the intensely disliked immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Fresh fruit and vegetables attract a crowd of customers daily; most are elderly, retired folk who live in the dismal, grey housing blocks nearby. On the streets around the market and near the metro station, the old and poverty stricken attempt to sell second hand clothes, shoes, broken household items and salvaged goods from the rubbish of those who are less stricken and more successful. Amongst those attempting to sell, as everywhere in Moscow, lurk the homeless bomzh.

Bomzh is an acronym devised by the Russian police for 'of no fixed abode'. In a country where registration at place of residence is vital, it is amongst the worst stigma anyone can bear. Typically alcoholics, bomzhs include migrant workers unable to find any sort of work or anywhere to live as well as layabouts and others who simply end up on the street. The police greatly dislike them. Apart from their drunkenness, their thieving and their fights, they are in permanent breach of the law on registration.
Zbigniew Kosc, 2009

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photography Zbigniew Kosc © 2009
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