Restoration and the Politics of the Heroic

restoration-mast“Restoration and the Politics of the Heroic: The Soviet Reconstitution of Leningrad’s Imperial Baroque”
published in mudot: Magazine for Urban Documentation, Opinion, and Theory, Vol. 1 (2008).


In the 900 days Leningrad was held hostage, from 1941 to 1944, Nazi shelling inflicted catastrophic damage on the city’s people and infrastructure.  In addition to a million dead and 1.5 million evacuees, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, apartments, and factories were destroyed, bringing city life to a halt.  At the city’s edge, the front lines had run through five of Leningrad’s most prized architectural possessions, the imperial palaces of the “pearl necklace,” including Peterhof, Oranienbaum, Tsarskoe Selo, Pavlovsk, and Gatchina.  Despite the need to concentrate post-war efforts on rebuilding necessary social services, Stalin prioritized restoration of these massive Imperialist monuments, which were generally thought to be beyond repair.

Read the full text here.

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