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International Modernism or Socialist Realism: Soviet Architecture in the Eastern Republics

  • Milka Bliznakov

Abstract

Public and professional interest in the arts and architecture of the ethnic groups living within the borders of the Russian Empire has been growing since the beginning of the twentieth century, but it gained considerable strength after the Bolshevik Revolution. During the earlier centuries of Russian expansion in Asia, however, the nationalities residing in this vast territory generally were treated as savage tribes or as enemies to be subjugated, and their culture and architecture was either overlooked or destroyed. The European Russians who began settling in Turkestan Province, for example, consisted mostly of peasants: landless Cossack clans settled by the government to garrison the frontier and freed peasants (after the abolition of serfdom in 1861) helped by favourable government policies and financial aid. This flood of immigrants was facilitated by the completion of the Trans-Caspian Railroad (1898) and the Orenburg—Tashkent Line (1906). Between 1896 and 1916 alone, over one million Russian peasants settled in Turkestan.’ They brought their own customs, religion and building traditions; lived separately from the local population; and contributed substantially to the atmosphere of suspicion and animosity that prevails in the region today.

Keywords

Socialist Realism Master Plan Apartment Building Housing Estate Architectural Style 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    The best English language source on Russian migration is Donald W. Treadgold, The Great Siberian Migration: Government and Peasant in Resettlement from Emancipation to the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957).Google Scholar
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  4. 7.
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  5. The winning projects of the Alma-Ata competition were published in ‘Dom pravitel’stva v g. Alma-Ata’, Stroitel’naia promyshlennost’ no. 5 (1928) pp 375–77. The second prize was awarded to G. S. Gurevich-Gurev and K. I. Solomonov and the third prize to Ivan Leonidov.Google Scholar
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  8. The planning of Baku and its satellite settlements is summarised in S. K. Regame, ‘K formirovaniiu general’nogo plana razvitiia sotsialisticheskogo Baku (1920–30g.)’, Iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana (Baku: Akademiia nauk Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR, 1964) 10, pp. 137–66.Google Scholar
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    The design and construction documents of this building were prepared in Leningrad by a large team of architects and engineers headed by Rudnev and his partner in many projects, Oskar R. Munts (1871–1942). The Azerbaijan House of Government has been criticised for its numerous unusable foyers and wide corridors, for its office spaces lacking daylight and sunshine, for its countless stairways and inconvenient circulation, but never for its architectural appearance. Some Soviet scholars have argued that it represents the ‘national in form’ Socialist Realist dictum for Socialist Azerbaijan. See V. E. Ass, P. O. Zinov’ev, V. O. Munts, Ia. O. Svirskii, and V. V. Khazanov, Arkhitektor Rudnev (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo literatury po stroitel’stvu, arkhitekture i stroitel’nym materialam, 1963).Google Scholar
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    This complex of eight three-storey apartments (across from the Dynamo Stadium) is still in use. See Tengiz R. Kvirkveliia, Arkhitektura Tbilisi (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1985) p. 256.Google Scholar
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  21. 24.
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  24. 29.
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  26. 31.
    The modified ‘Mother Armenia’ monument is illustrated in L.M. Babaian and Iu. S. Iaralov, Rafael Israelian (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1986) p. 18, and in contemporary guidebooks.Google Scholar
  27. 32.
    The Sea Gull Gateway, designed in 1961 by O. Akopian and sculptor V. Khachatrian, is illustrated in G. Asratian, Yerevan and its Environs (Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers, 1973) ill. 68.Google Scholar
  28. 33.
    The problem of nationalism and cosmopolitanism in Soviet architecture has been studied extensively by Soviet scholars. For a Soviet point of view on the subject, see Iurii S. Iaralov, Natsional’noe i internatsional’noe v sovetskoi arkhitekture (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Council for Soviet and East European Studies and John O. Norman 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milka Bliznakov

There are no affiliations available

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