The problem of the “socialist city” introduced by Sabsovich was not exclusively pondered over by architects and urban planners. Indeed, quite a number of prominent Soviet officials weighed in on the matter, from the People’s Commissar of Enlightenment, Anatolii Lunacharskii, to the renowned Bolshevik and member of the Politburo Grigorii Zinoviev, all the way to Lenin’s widow, Nadezhda Krupskaia.
Krupskaia, who will be the subject of the present post and whose writings will be included along with it, had largely been relegated to the sidelines of Soviet politics by 1929-1930. The Stalinist bloc had by then established itself on fairly firm footing in the political sphere, but knew that Krupskaia was too symbolically important to the Revolution to silence altogether. So Krupskaia was still able to publish some political articles here and there, and became a popular pedagogical and matriarchal figure for the young Soviet regime for her writings on education and children.
In 1929, when the economist Sabsovich published his seminal article on the Socialist city, Krupskaia became intrigued by the prospect of a new mode of social and municipal reorganization. Early on, she sided with Sabsovich’s proposal to overcome the antithesis of town and country with a more uniform system of settlement. She thus wrote her article, “Cities of the Future,” which can be found on pages 161-165 of the volume uploaded below, in which she announced her support for Sabsovich’s Urbanist plan. As a correlative of that plan, in which Sabsovich had proposed that children have their own “little cities” (детьские городки), Krupskaia responded by writing an article posing the question, “Where will Children Live in the Socialist City?” This can be found between pages 206-209.
Also, as the competition for the “Green City” of Moscow heated up, Krupskaia offered her input, as she (amongst other Soviet intellectuals) tried to conceptualize a city for workers’ rest and leisure.
. IMAGE:Lev Rudnev’s City of the future (1925),
before his turn to Stalinist neoclassicism .
An update on the Modernist Architecture Archive/Database I discussed a couple posts ago. I’ve begun work on it, and have uploaded almost half of the documents I intend to include. Only a few of the Russian ones are up yet, but I’m hoping to post them over the next couple days. There are many more on the way.