History Extended Essay

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History Extended Essay

20th Century Stalinist Architecture
How did the creation of Stalin’s ‘Seven Sisters’ transform Moscow into a contemporary city while simultaneously presenting Soviet Communism to the world 1947-1957?

May 2013

Word Count: 3438

Table of Contents

Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………… 4 Background Information ………………………………………………………………… 6 Influences of Stalinist Architecture …………………………………………………....... 9 Relevance of Stalinist Architecture from 1945-1957 ………………………………….. 12 Incorporation of Moscow’s Seven Sister Buildings into the city ……………………… 15 Moscow’s gradual progression into a contemporary European City …………………... 17 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………... 19 Sources ………………………………………………….……………………………… 22

On the Cover (Figure 1) – Kotelnicheskaya Embankment residential complex dominates over the Kremlin Cathedrals in Moscow’s skyline.

1. Abstract

Stalin’s Seven Sister buildings (Vysotki) irreversibly transformed the vast skyline of Moscow, and ultimately aided Stalin in his pursuit of a contemporary European city after World War II. Although these massive architectural masterpieces hold a legacy that resonates magnificence throughout the architectural aspects of Stalin’s era, the Seven Sisters hold a controversial history behind them, considering the fact that the housing needs of the proletariat were disregarded after 1945 up until Khrushchev’s epoch. I have thus decided to investigate the means in which Stalin’s Seven Sister buildings transformed Moscow into a modern city whilst displaying Soviet communism to the world. Therefore, the subsequent question that comprehensively investigates the social, political and economic impacts of the Seven Sisters is: How did the creation of Stalin’s ‘Seven Sisters’ transform Moscow into a contemporary city while simultaneously presenting Soviet Communism to the world from 1947-1957?

This paper will investigate all the different aspects surrounding the creation of the Vysotki, and analyze the subsequent impacts on Soviet culture. This will be achieved by analyzing various primary and secondary sources regarding the Seven Sisters, along with a comprehensive interpretation of a lecture given in the Moscow Shchusev Architectural Museum that I attended on October 10th, 2012.

Although the progression of Moscow into a contemporary European city is characterized by numerous different aspects, including the Moscow metro system and other forms of Stalinist architecture, the Seven Sisters ultimately defined Moscow with an architectural legacy that remains evident to present day. Therefore, Stalin’s Vysotki played a significant role in the creation of Moscow into a contemporary city, and presented Soviet Communism in Russia with architectural grandeur and magnificence.

Abstract Word Count: 271

2. Introduction

How did the creation of Stalin’s ‘Seven Sisters’ transform Moscow into a contemporary city while simultaneously presenting Soviet Communism to the world from 1947 to 1957? In order to conceptualize the political, economic and social status of the Soviet Union after World War II, it is essential to evaluate the impact of the war on the USSR in multiple aspects. In 1945, while the Red Army controlled all of Eastern Europe and occupied such cities as Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Sofia, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw, much of Russia’s European cities lay destroyed from 4 years of war. The Soviet population suffered an estimated 25 million deaths during the course of the war; a statistic that significantly exceeds the number of deaths of any other country in the world during the war. Similar to the decimation of its population, the Soviet Union’s economy was substantially depleted after the war. Approximately one fourth of Russia’s capital resources were destroyed, subsequently causing a dramatic decrease in the Soviet Union’s industrial and agricultural output,...
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