The Military Destruction of Late Soviet Urban Space in Ukraine and the Demise of the Soviet Man

By Vadym Ilin

In the pre-war address in 2022 Vladimir Putin transparently hinted at the significance of the material space as a factor to “rewrite” history: “We are ready to show what real decommunizations would mean for Ukraine”[1]. It looks like the euphemism “decommunization” here not only implies territorial changes, but also a return to the “original state of affairs” before 1917 by the destruction of the Soviet material heritage. The significance of Soviet housing in the context of such “decommunization” is illustrated by the fact that 80% of housing stock in Ukrainian cities including Kyiv was constructed in Soviet times after World War II[2].

The significance of the Russian military intervention into the Soviet urban morphology is not limited to material damages. In 2021 the Russian journalist Alexey Pivovarov stated in his documentary about Soviet panel housing: “This is a familiar, understandable world. It unites us all . . . . These panel districts commemorate Russian humanism. Their DNA doesn’t contain a memory of wars, repressions, atrocities which were so common in our history for over the past 100-150 years. These buildings were built after and their DNA contains the memory of that initial decision to make people’s lives a little bit easier, more human-like”[3].

As the researcher Alexei Yurchak explains, the destruction of something familiar helps to understand its nature: “. . . the disgust or horror experienced when the coherent appearance of the familiar and intimate world is suddenly disrupted by evidence of its unnatural, constructed quality”[4].

The research hypothesis is that the Soviet urban space built in the 1960-1980s, which is equally familiar to both Russians and Ukrainians, had shaped Soviet identity and certain notions of “stability”, “normality”, and “civilization” incompatible with images of war and destruction. Respectively, the planned destruction (urbicide) of that previously common space should have a devastating effect on the identity of the Soviet Man, its perceptions and marks a distinctive break between Soviet and post-Soviet societies.

Which identities could the urban space reveal?

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Soviet and Russian societies are often uncritically identified, while their features are presented as primordial and common to all social groups[5]

In contrast to simplified and evaluative characteristics of the Soviet project, a non-binary approach considers Soviet as multivariate phenomenon depending on who perceives it: “Polar points of view very conditionally can be defined, on the one hand, as the interpretation of ‘Soviet’ as a desire for a progress, self-expression and social justice, and on the other hand, its interpretation as a ‘sovok’[6] – a desire to get money or other benefits and at the same time do nothing, to place responsibility for one’s fate on the state and consider it guilty for any troubles, to have such a situation ‘stable’, i. e. unchanged, as long as possible.” (translation is mine – V. I.)[7]

‪Oleksiy Musiyezdov notes that “the contradiction of the ‘Soviet’ is revealed in the combination of traditional (‘changes reduce the chances of survival’) and modern (‘changes are necessary to cope with the challenges of modernity’)”[8]. Such a combination forms two types of (Soviet) personality – traditional and modern.

Contrary to Soviet identities which were formed under the impact of multiple life strategies, the urban identity is sociologically defined as “perception and interpretation of individuals’, groups’, societies’ connection with a certain place, a common form of self-identification[9].

In turn, the architectural identity “is formed as a result of identification of an architectural object or environment with certain events, phenomena, properties and experiences”[10].

The reason for considering Soviet housing as a factor that formed identities is the “housing problem” – central to the Soviet Man throughout the existence of the USSR. The late Soviet period became a decisive time for solving the housing problem – the complex expansion of social infrastructure reached its peak at the end of the 1970s when the Soviet leadership declared that half of the prefabricated housing in the world was built in the USSR[11]. Microdistricts of the 1970s are considered by researchers as the best of everything that was built in the USSR in the era of industrial housing construction – they had better social infrastructure than the Khrushchev residential areas and lower population density than microdistricts of the 1980s[12]. The comfort of Brezhnev era apartment buildings corresponded well to the hedonism of the 1970s. Namely those high-rise buildings shaped the familiar landscape of Soviet dormitory areas that many Ukrainians still live in.

What were the features of the Soviet city?

Geographer James H. Bater gave the common features of the Soviet city planning: limited city space; state control of housing; planned development of residential areas; spatial equality in distribution of items of collective consumption; limited journey to work; stringent land-use zoning; rationalised traffic flow; extensive green space; town planning as an integral part of national planning[13].

This list coincides with features of Soviet city planning which were outlined by the Soviet architect and urban planner Vyacheslav Shkvarikov[14].

The main structural element of the post-war Soviet city was a microdistrict as a system of facilities that served the daily needs of residents[15]. The guiding principle of its spatial configuration was the System of Stepped Services[16]. It meant spatial proximity of services based on the frequency of their usage. Each microdistrict was planned with community centres which had to fulfil six functions: trade, healthcare, public services, administration, education, culture and sport, and hotel accommodation.

Fig. 1: An old photograph of the Kharkiv River and the Saltivka housing estate in the area of Heroiv Pratsi and Barabashova streets [Стара фотографія річки Харків та Салтівського житлового масиву в районі вулиць Героїв Праці та Барабашова]. Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=382700740519945

The unification of urban planning in the USSR ensured the implementation of those functions: there was a range of typical buildings which capacities were calculated to serve a certain number of residents. That feature of Soviet planning caused the monotony of buildings’ appearance.

What is the connection between the Soviet city and ideology?

The architectural researcher Natalia Mysak indicates the instrumental and symbolic value of urban planning for solving political problems, the connection of the microdistrict concept with a political ideology[17]. She also drew attention to the fact that “the planned economy in the former countries of Central and Eastern Europe generated residential areas”.

The ideology influenced the appearance of Soviet high-rise buildings. The development of prefabricated housing was determined not only by the innovations in its industrial construction and motives of its cheapening. Khrushchev’s idea that “new architecture, to become a suitable place for a new man, must look modern even in the future” gave late Soviet architecture a timeless view[18]. Implementation of that idea required a simplification, standardisation and rejection of “unnecessary décor” – the Soviet architecture was viewed by Khrushchev as “architecture of natural simplicity, strict in form and economical”. However, that “architecture of the future” began to be perceived as monotonous already in Soviet times.

Fig. 2: A poster for the movie “The Irony of Fate”. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The plot of the classic Soviet comedy “The Irony of Fate” ridicules that monotony of Soviet prefabricated housing. The main character arrives drunk in another city, but finds himself in a house and apartment that are completely identical to his own. The humorous prologue stated: “Now almost every Soviet city has its own Cheryomushki[19]. . . . In the old days, when a person arrived in an unfamiliar city it felt lonely and lost. . . . But now the matter of things is completely different. A person got to an unfamiliar city but feels at home in it.” Today that irony acquired an ominous meaning inasmuch the landscape of Ukrainian cities allows the Russian invaders to feel “at home”.

Alexei Yurchak explains the ideological meaning of housing uniformity in the movie: “This comedy makes apparent the standardisation and predictability of Soviet life in the 1970s, when street names, architectural styles, door keys, and household possessions seemed completely interchangeable. These standardizations of everyday tools, references, and scenes were part of a larger standardization of discourse during the Soviet period.””[20] The scholar notes that solidification of form also affected the spatial organisation of microdistricts.

While remaining almost unchangeable the late Soviet urban landscape reflected an evolution of the Soviet ideology. If in the context of the “thaw” standardization of housing symbolised the future, in the Brezhnev era it became a manifestation of the Soviet system’s ideological inertia.

But did the Soviet authorities pursue the goal to form certain qualities of a Soviet Man with the help of urban planning?

The “authoritative language” of the Brezhnev era declared human-centric motives on this issue: “. . . decisive creative principle of the whole urban planning activity was the caring for a person.”[21] No more explanatory are some modern interpretations of the Soviet power’s motives of urban planning, for example the statement that “cities under the Soviet rule were designed to glorify the ideas of communism. Subsequently, the authorities made all possible efforts to construct relevant urban identities.”[22]

The urban policy researchers note that Soviet authorities tried to create “a public space designed to support the process of social integration and the formation of a new socialist citizen . . . new ways of spatial organisation and material environments had to produce new social relations, personal identities, and systems of values.”[23] Natalia Mysak explains that in the USSR “post-war housing estates . . . were considered as the birthplace of socialist society”, “an addition to industrial areas, an environment that should create daily scenarios for users”[24]. Soviet planners also set the goal of forming a territorial community consisting of employees of a single enterprise, as well as to attach a certain contingent of the population to community service centres, which were designed to serve them at their place of residence.

How was the concept of the Soviet city implemented?

The right place to evaluate the achievements of Soviet urban planning is Saltivka – the largest dormitory district in Kharkiv and Ukraine with 450 thousand residents that experienced severe destruction during the current war. Saltivka was built in 1967-1993 from scratch and thus with an opportunity to comprehensively implement the principles of the Soviet city[25]. According to the principle of “focusing”, trade and service centres were built at the intersection of main highways – at public transport stops, while schools, kindergartens, polyclinics, and sport facilities were allocated in the centres of microdistricts. Nowadays some Soviet department stores that were among the most innovative in Ukraine, became out of use. That happened to the “Murashnyk” (“Anthill”) or “Mausoleum”, as locals called it – an experimental multi-tiered trade complex that was built in 1978 and is half abandoned today because it was designed without parking.

Fig. 3: Kharkiv’s neighborhood of Saltivka, once home to about half a million people. Source: Evgeniy Maloletka, https://www.instagram.com/p/Cfs_Cq4Kdrp/?hl=ru
Fig. 4: “Mausoleum” – service centre “Sovietskyi” and the microdistrict 520 at Saltivka, Kharkiv. Source: DOCOMOMO_Ukraine, https://www.facebook.com/docomomoua/photos/gm.282555427310884/3259014981050942
Fig. 5: All around Saltivka, burn marks rise up from the windows where fires raged. Source: Joel Gunter, ‘It’s like Chernobyl now’: Life in Kharkiv’s ghost town, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61856229

Contrary to the declared principle of harmonious city development, a delay in the construction of social and cultural facilities, particularly schools and hospitals, was a common case in Kharkiv, while priority was given to the construction of industry and housing. Although the lack of large industrial enterprises at Saltivka improved its ecology turning the area into the “Kharkiv bedroom”, together with a high population density it also violated the principle of a limited journey to work. The subway still doesn’t cover the large eastern part of Saltivka which is not sufficiently provided with other public transport. The construction of the Saltivka medical complex in the 1980s highlights the inconvenience in the district’s transport accessibility. This medical cluster was supposed to embody the principle of spatial proximity of services to residents. In fact, given the uniqueness of the services provided, the medical complex became important for the entire Kharkiv population. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine when Saltivka is constantly shelled, the medical complex’s inaccessibility is especially noticeable.

Although the principles of Soviet urban planning were rather common modernist, its specifically socialist feature was a possibility of their complex, planned and nationwide implementation[26]. However, the example of Saltivka demonstrates that the Soviet city principles were not fully implemented.

The researchers are sceptical about the success of the Soviet concept of microdistrict[27]. They point out that the microdistrict had a rigid scheme that could function only under certain conditions which changed with a weakening of Soviet social institutions and decline of industrial enterprises which usually funded the construction of social facilities[28]. Nowadays often only one element of such a former complex unit as a microdistrict continues to function fully – housing.

What do we learn from the destruction of the Soviet urban environment?

Taking into account the importance of perception as a central element of identity, we tried to define it by surveying residents of the late Soviet districts[29]. 55 residents from 9 Ukrainian industrial cities (45 from Kharkiv) took part in the survey: mainly – from the age group of 18-35 years (39 people), with higher education (68 %) or a scientific degree (24 %). The collected online sample has an age and educational “incline” and is not representative. The survey with face-to-face interviews in peaceful conditions would allow us to supplement conclusions.

The majority of respondents (39) demonstrated a negative perception of Soviet microdistricts and housing. Moreover, 42 people associate them precisely with the Soviet era and only two persons with modernism or modern times.

To denote Soviet housing respondents most frequently mentioned the epithet “greyness” (17 mentions) which was mentioned along with such connotations as monotony/facelessness (19), sadness (4), depression (4), poverty, dilapidation, boredom, disrespect for a human. The negative associations are not related to the respondents’ age and education.

It is noteworthy that provided associations sometimes matched with polar views on the Soviet: in one case microdistricts were identified with a “sovok”, in others with progressive architectural solutions and social policy (3). The expected associations of “stability”, “normality” were not presented. At the same time, synonymic associations “safety” (3 mentions), “comfort” (2), “familiarity”/“home” (3), “cosiness”, “achievements of civilization”, “peaceful life” were occasionally mentioned.

The survey reflects that the majority of respondents prefer to distance themselves from the Soviet past, and therefore cannot be considered as representatives of the Soviet identity.

Has the current war influenced that distancing? 26 % of respondents could never imagine the massive military destruction of late Soviet housing because its image and the image of war seemed incompatible, and 16 % still can not imagine that. 16 % started to imagine such destruction after 1991 and before 2014, 14 % – after 2014, and 25 % after the invasion in 2022. Only one person could imagine such destruction before 1991, but even she was born in independent Ukraine. The majority of respondents (67 %) never connected images of war and Soviet microdistricts, or such associations appeared only in 2022. The obtained data give the reason to suggest that the respondents’ opinions about Soviet housing in general were formed before the current war.

Fig. 6: Aesthetics of Kyiv modernist residential architecture. Source: Ukrainianmodernism, https://www.instagram.com/p/ChATaTSNtAl/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The assumption that any person in any society cannot imagine the military destruction of own house, is not as obvious as it might seem. The threat of a nuclear war, the mass education on this topic in Soviet times, its presence even in the Soviet counterculture (the song “I Declare my Home a Nuclear-free Zone” by Soviet rock band “Kino”), the common fear of war by Soviet people after the World War II coupled with an optimistic denial of the threat of a military clash between the “fraternal nations” of Russia and Ukraine which allegedly are “not aggressors by nature”, required to check how widespread were the ideas of the military destruction of the late Soviet housing among its residents.

The loss of microdistricts’ complex functionality and dilapidation of the late Soviet housing contributed to their stigmatisation long before the current war[30]. The military destruction is a logical continuation of it. Despite the opinion of experts that the late Soviet dormitory districts are valuable as interesting examples of modernist architecture and social projects, 52 % of our respondents do not consider Soviet apartment blocks and districts to have any architectural or historical value[31].

However, taking into account plans of the Ukrainian authorities to “remove panel houses throughout the country”, there are risks that the post-war reconstruction would be limited solely to the demolition of Soviet housing and construction of higher high-rise buildings[32]. The reasons to assume that are the Moscow Renovation Program launched in 2017 and the pre-war practice of the construction of housing estates without the social infrastructure in Ukrainian cities. That last chaotic, corrupt and neoliberal development not only neglects social functions, but also destroys the environment including the Soviet urban heritage. For example, in Kharkiv new residential complexes were built on the site of the destroyed green zone of the district KhTZ. That green line between the transport-industrial and residential areas was designed in the 1930s as the integral part of the socialist city “New Kharkiv”.

In contrast to Soviet urban planning which aimed at “building of a new architecture representing a socialist way of life”, the Moscow Renovation Program focuses on “demolishing entire parts of the dwelling stock” while “the social issue is almost absent” from its aims[33]. The semantic imbalance of the Program’s title makes the impression of stun and nonsense. The same feelings are evoked by scenes of wartime destruction of civilian objects or routine destruction of objects that still may be functioning: the Pruitt–Igoe complex demolition, shelling the White House in Moscow in 1993 or apartment blocks in Kharkiv and Mariupol. In this context, the term “renovation” is similar to Putin’s euphemism “decommunization” as both mean “destruction”.

It’s noted by scholars that Soviet housing determines social relations as they are spatially structured and its demolition would bring social changes[34]. Taking into account existing practices of urban development, lack of urban master plans and analysis of the Soviet legacy, the post-war reconstruction of Ukrainian cities threatens to completely eliminate microdistricts’ social functions and increase the burden on social and transport infrastructure.

Ukrainian residents of Soviet housing are aware of those dangers. 45 % of respondents consider their Soviet apartments as satisfactory housing – that’s the common attitude in post-Soviet countries[35]. Responses show that Soviet microdistrict still is a comfortable place of habitation: 79 % of respondents estimated the provision of their district with social facilities as good or satisfactory, 75 % are satisfied with the availability of green zones, 96 % with the transport accessibility of their district. 14 respondents emphasised the availability of infrastructure and 6 extensive green zoning as positive characteristics of their districts.

The survey shows the lack of unanimity among residents about the post-war future of Soviet dormitory districts. Only 16 % of respondents fully and 39 % partially support the plans for the demolition of Soviet apartment blocks in the context of post-war reconstruction, while 30 % reject that idea and 14 % have difficulty with an answer. Some respondents clearly expressed their concerns: “I lived at Osokorky[36] in the residential complex ‘Patriotyka’ for some time. And though the apartment building there was new, it was terrible – the soundproofing was bad, too many people for two elevators, the courtyard was too small, the neighbourhood was overpopulated. It is difficult to say how common that case is – but these low-quality “anthills” are no better than Soviet microdistricts. . . . Actually, I would not like such housing to replace Soviet ones.”[37]. The founder of the cultural and educational project “Ukrainian Modernism”  Dmytro Soloviov notes the same: “It is especially easy to understand the value of spacious microdistricts with typical buildings, if you compare them with modern densely built-up ghettos (often also typical) made of cinder blocks.”[38]

However, the ability of Soviet microdistricts to form a stable and grassroot identity is no less important than their disappearance. Natalia Mysak states the impossibility of the planning system of microdistrict to ensure active social ties, because the concept of microdistrict was based on the idea of the uniformity of residents’ needs and did not leave residents an opportunity to influence the identity formation[39].

Although 79 % of respondents answered that they spend their free time both within a district and out of it, only 21 % of respondents expressed personal responsibility for public space and consider a residents’ participation in an improvement of the house/district as necessary. 23 % consider such activity desirable, and 14 % expressed a willingness to support such initiative. The largest part (41 %) believes that public utility companies must take care of public spaces. The shared maintenance of apartment blocks and the surrounding area is also almost uncommon: 54 % indicated that certain residents take care of house and nearby territory on their initiative, 18 % recognized such practice as uncommon, 9 % take care of an apartment building because they are its co-owners and only 5 % regularly take care of housing though not being its owners. The survey shows that the spatial configuration of microdistrict in fact did not create stable social ties between residents.

Conclusions

The military destruction of the late Soviet urban space of Ukrainian cities by Russia caused a deconstruction of the image of a peaceful, stable, civilised, shared environment. That deconstruction dispels the belief that the space of uniform Soviet microdistricts united at least Slavic nations of the former USSR, and refutes ahistorical ideas about the innate peacefulness or humanism of the (post)Soviet people.

At the same time, the destruction highlights the principal difference between today’s Russia and the USSR which purposefully created a humanising, equality- and future-oriented urban environment. Destroying the material heritage of the USSR, Putin’s regime rejects the principal Soviet features: pacifism, denial of the desirability of nuclear war, social justice and attention to human needs at least as an ideological guide. That in turn exposes the hypocrisy of selective usage of Soviet symbols to justify the aggression.

By destroying the Soviet infrastructure, Russia is not only provoking a more uncompromising psychological break with the Soviet past among Ukrainians. The deformation of the former Soviet officers’ and officials’ identity is also inevitable. Through the destruction of the familiar and sometimes even native urban space they alienate themselves from their past.

Russia is destroying the material ties with the Soviet past which affected even Ukrainians who were born after the collapse of the USSR at the level of reproduction of everyday practices and habits.

The military destruction “continues” the pre-war practices of “renovation” of the dormitory districts in Russian and Ukrainian cities – that fact illustrates a link between the way of urban development and the specificity of social relations. Though Soviet microdistricts are no longer able to form a socialist lifestyle and identity, the challenge for Ukraine is to overcome the neoliberal model of urban development which destroys the complex configuration and social functions of Soviet housing estates.


[1] Address by the President of the Russian Federation, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67828 [accessed 06.08.2022].

[2] Natalia Mysak, “Identity formation of large-scale housing estates built in 1960-1980s” (PhD diss., Lviv Polytechnic National University, 2018), 40 [Наталія Мисак, Формування ідентичності районів масової житлової забудови 1960-80-х рр. (Національний університет «Львівська політехніка», 2018), с. 40]; Lev Shevchenko, Soviet housing: history and prospects, Commons, June 2018 [Лев Шевченко, Советское жильё: история и перспективы, Спільне, 25 червня 2018], https://commons.com.ua/uk/sovetskoezhilyoistoriyaproshloeperspektivy/ [accessed 06.08.2022].

[3] Soviet-era panel buildings. Did it shape the reality of Russia? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifUzlmIxjKo [accessed 06.08.2022].

[4] Alexei Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, Princeton University Press, 2005, 255.

[5] Andriy Lyubka, “The country of negative selection”, Zbruč, April 2022 [Андрій Любка, Країна негативної селекції, Збруч, 5 квітня 2022], https://zbruc.eu/node/111399 [accessed 06.08.2022].

[6] Sovok is a derogatory term for the USSR and Soviet people.

[7] Oleksiy Musiyezdov, “On the phenomenological view of the Soviet”, Ukraina Moderna, May 2016 [Олексій Мусієздов, Про феноменологічний погляд на радянське, Україна Модерна, 5 травня 2016], https://uamoderna.com/blogy/oleksimusiezdov/profenomenologochnyipogliadnaradianske?fbclid=IwAR01yRFBTvDLBtkcCbYA8NLVEaQyHL3WxAQa9vxd3lzEG9XO3aLwn1N7bg [accessed 22.09.2020].

[8] Ibid.

[9] Oleksiy Musiyezdov, “Urban Identity in (Post)Modern Cities: A Case Study of Kharkiv and Lviv”, East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (2020): 197–217.

[10] Mysak, Identity formation, 83, 258.

[11] Ibid., 87.

[12] Shevchenko, Soviet housing, https://commons.com.ua/uk/sovetskoezhilyoistoriyaproshloeperspektivy/ [accessed 06.08.2022].

[13] James H. Bater, Soviet City: Ideal and Reality (Edward  Arnold, 1980), 27-30.

[14] Viacheslav Shkvarykov, Resettlement and Structure of the City (Moscow: Strojyzdat, 1973): 25, 38, 57, 60 [Вячеслав Шквариков, Расселение и структура города (Москва: Стройиздат, 1973): 25, 38, 57, 60].

[15] Shkvarykov, Resettlement, 47; Mysak, Identity formation, 259.

[16] Shkvarykov, Resettlement, 58; Natalia Otrishchenko, (Re)defining places for community in Sykhiv housing estate. Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Geographica Socio-Oeconomica, no. 30 (2017), 28-29.

[17] Mysak, Identity formation, 29, 42, 67.

[18] Mysak, Identity formation, 84, 86.

[19] Cheryomushki is a district in Moscow and one of the first sites of massive construction of cheap prefabricated housing in the USSR that became a symbol for the typical Soviet microdistrict.

[20] Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, 36-37.

[21] Shkvarykov, Resettlement, 23.

[22] Anatoliy Melnychuk, Oleksiy Gnatiuk, “Public perception of urban identity in post-Soviet city”, Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, April 2019, 37.

[23] Otrishchenko, (Re)defining places, 28.

[24] Mysak, Identity formation, 87, 222-223.

[25] Oleksandr Lejbfrejd et al, Kharkiv: Architecture, monuments, new buildings (Kharkiv: Prapor, 1985), 98-99 [Олександр Лейбфрейд та ін., Харьков: Архитектура, памятники, новостройки (Харьков : Прапор, 1985), 98-99].

[26] Thomas M. Bohn, “The Minsk Phenomenon”. City Planning and Urbanization in the Soviet Union after World War II (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2013), 321 [Томас Бон, «Минский феномен». Городское планирование и урбанизация в Советском Союзе после Второй мировой войны (Москва: РОССПЭН, 2013), 321].

[27] Mysak, Identity formation, 40; Shevchenko, Soviet housing, https://commons.com.ua/uk/sovetskoezhilyoistoriyaproshloeperspektivy/ [accessed 06.08.2022].

[28] Mysak, Identity formation, 222-223.

[29] Questionnaire “Impact of War on Perception of Soviet Large-scale Housing Estates” [Анкета “Вплив війни на сприйняття радянських районів масової житлової забудови”], https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1v1lX1H76gPoGxTU_JeaqCxyFbGfS0dY0tgfX3-xuM9E/edit#responses [accessed 07.08.2022].

[30] Shevchenko, Soviet housing, https://commons.com.ua/uk/sovetskoezhilyoistoriyaproshloeperspektivy/ [accessed 06.08.2022].

[31] “Kharkiv which we lost: the architectural researcher tells”, Vogue, March 2022 [Харків, який ми втратили: розповідає дослідниця архітектури, Vogue, 17 березня 2022], https://vogue.ua/ua/article/culture/art/harkivyakiymivtratilirozpovidayedoslidnicyaarhitekturi.html?fbclid=IwAR3EIVyLxzA30VOrTV3GyRP0HM1LOew15PUVz2FOj3detJrO1F5utmMmBRY [accessed 07.08.2022].

[32] President held a meeting on the current situation in the Kharkiv region and the recovery of the region from the effects of the war, President of Ukraine, May 2022[Глава держави провів нараду щодо поточної ситуації в Харківській області та відновлення регіону від наслідків війни, Президент України, 29 травня 2022б https://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/glavaderzhaviprovivnaradushodopotochnoyisituaciyivha-75449 [accessed 07.08.2022].

[33] Guénola Inizan, Lydia Coudroy de Lille, “The Last of The Soviets’ Home: Urban Demolition in Moscow”, Geographia Polonica, vol. 92, issue 1 (2019): 51-52.

[34] Mysak, Identity formation, 52.

[35] Mysak, Identity formation, 40.

[36] Osokorky is a large dormitory district in Kyiv that was built in independent Ukraine.

[37] Questionnaire “Impact of War”, https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1v1lX1H76gPoGxTU_JeaqCxyFbGfS0dY0tgfX3-xuM9E/edit#responses [accessed 07.08.2022].

[38] Aesthetics of Kyiv modernist residential architecture, Ukrainianmodernism, https://www.instagram.com/p/ChATaTSNtAl/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

[39] Mysak, Identity formation, 40, 223.


Vadym Ilin is an associate professor at the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities at Kharkiv National University of Construction and Architecture. He received his PhD in Ukrainian History from V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. For his dissertation, he researched the local development of Soviet health care in 1945–1991. His current academic interests are identities during the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917–1921 and the late Soviet period, the history of medical infrastructure, and urban space. Vadym Ilin was a remote Fellow of Prisma Ukraïna (April to July 2022) in Kharkiv.


Citation: Vadym Ilin, The Military Destruction of Late Soviet Urban Space in Ukraine and the Demise of the Soviet Man, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, https://trafo.hypotheses.org/40215, 15.8.2022



Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Editorial Board (2022, 15. August). The Military Destruction of Late Soviet Urban Space in Ukraine and the Demise of the Soviet Man. TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research. Abgerufen am 18. Mai 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/ut57

Das könnte dich auch interessieren …

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

Diese Website verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre mehr darüber, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden.

Suche in OpenEdition Search

Sie werden weitergeleitet zur OpenEdition Search