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January 22, 2022, 09:05

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Model of the Palace of Soviets. 1930‒1951. Main Archive of Moscow

The height of the structure was supposed to be about 420 meters, including a 100-meter statue of Lenin at the top.

On January 28, 1957, the executive committee of the Moscow City Council decided to build the Palace of Soviets. Documentary evidence of this can be found in the Glavarkhiv.

The idea of ​​erecting a monumental building was first expressed at the First All-Union Congress of Soviets in December 1922 by the People’s Commissar of Education of the RSFSR Anatoly Lunacharsky. The idea was to “give Moscow – the red center of the world – a visible architectural center.” But then the Civil War had just ended in the country, and the grandiose construction was not in time.

They returned to the idea again in 1931. Then they proposed a number of possible locations for the monumental architectural structure, including the former shopping malls on Red Square, Kitay-gorod, Zaryadye. But on the personal instructions of Stalin, it was decided to build the Palace of Soviets on the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior – it was destroyed in December of the same year.

A competition for the best project was announced. The winner was Boris Iofan in co-authorship with Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh. A year later, a special Department for the construction of the Palace of Soviets under the USSR Council of People’s Commissars was even opened.

The finalization of the project continued for several more years, since it was necessary to build the most grandiose building of our time. The height of the structure was to be about 420 meters, including a 100-meter statue of Lenin sculpture by Sergei Merkulov. Initially, it was planned that the project would become the main object of the master plan for the reconstruction of Moscow in 1935, and would define a new historical center of the capital. Construction began in 1937, and with the advent of the 1940s, the installation of the steel frame of the Palace of Soviets began. However, during the war, the metal began to be sent to the needs of the front.

They did not return to the original project in the post-war years. Options for the construction of the building were considered, but already of a much lower height. And by the mid-1950s, it became obvious that the construction of such a structure in the center of Moscow was simply impractical. In 1956, a competition was announced for a new project of the Palace of Soviets, but it was supposed to be located in the south-west of the capital. On this occasion, the above-mentioned decision of the executive committee of the Moscow City Council was adopted.

On June 9, 1960, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution “to recognize the need to complete in 1967 the construction of the Palace of Soviets […] in the southwestern district of Moscow in order to coincide with the opening […] of the 50th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.” It was assumed that the development would be completed before 1962, but in May 1963, the design and construction of the Palace of Soviets was postponed by a government decree. The group of authors was abolished, the materials were transferred to the Moscow City Executive Committee. More to the project did not return.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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