Now, apartment blocks were supposed to be tipovye proekty, or 'pattern book projects'—constructed to formats that were issued by planning institutes for nationwide use.
Tipovye proekty imposed not just norms of space allocation, but also of apartment layout.
It initiated a crash construction programme that aimed to create millions of new homes to an accelerated tempo.11 The minimalist aesthetic endorsed in 1955 was in tune with the return to pre-Stalinist Soviet culture (what the architectural historian Vladimir Papernyi has called ' Culture One' ). A further contradiction is that Soviet citizens were encouraged, indeed exhorted, to spend time and thought on creating uiut (a word that is usually translated as 'cosiness', but which is perhaps the closest Russian equivalent of the English concept of 'home'), while not being given a great deal of practical help in doing this.12 Soviet advice literature and journalism of the period drew readers' attention to the (theoretical) availability of consumer goods for the home, yet in the deficit economy, as we shall see, acquiring these desiderata was often a challenging process.13 The cognitive dissonances of late Soviet culture were directly recognised in texts from the period.
As the script of El'dar Riazanov's hugely popular 1975 film comedy, The Irony of Fate, written by the director and Emil' Braginskii, put it: 8 Edmonds gives a first-hand account of visiting a factory turning out such building units in Leningrad (19-41).
9 Information from the former head of a studio at Lenproekt, who himself moved into designing functional buildings, e.g. Reinventing Russia: Russian Nationalism and the Soviet State, 1953-1991.
garages, because they allowed him more room for manoeuvre.
There is a large secondary literature dealing with this subject: see e.g. In the olden days, when someone fetched up in a town or city they didn't know, they felt lonely and lost.
For a useful discussion of its effects in Leningrad, mainly based on material from the press and memoirs, see Lebina and Chistikov (202-191).
12 The concept of uiut was not invented at this period.
Petersburg.1 In this study, I address the impact of the city's official past, as constructed by cultural institutions such as museums, monuments, the city planning departments, and the heritage preservation organisation, VOOPIi K (All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Monuments of History and Culture), founded by ministerial decree in 1965.
However, alongside these lieux de mémoire in the formal sense, I also look at 'memory spaces' that are often ignored by tourists, but which may spell ' Leningrad' or ' Petersburg' to locals just as much as do the famous views of Vasilievskii Island, the Winter Palace, or the Summer Garden. [recording number] AA [interviewer's initials]. I am grateful to Irina Nazarova, Aleksandra Kasatkina, Aleksandra Piir, and Marina Samsonova for help with interviewing.
However, these discussions focus on developments at the centre of Russian politics. Leningrad: A Case Study of Soviet Urban Government.