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

  • Milka Bliznakov


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.


Socialist Realism Master Plan Apartment Building Housing Estate Architectural Style 
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    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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