2010–11 EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
Thinning Research Report
Thinning Instructors: Joseph Grima Jiang Jun Ekaterina Golovatuk Sergei Kulikov Students: Ivan Kuryachiy Minkoo Kang Xenia Makarova Gleb Vitkov Anton Ivanov Alena Lanina Daria Syuzeva
List of Topics: 1. Ivan Kuryachiy
Infrastructure/Borderline: Structures that shape the landscape
2. Minkoo Kang
Tourism: Chasing Illusions Made in USSR
3. Xenia Makarova Sochi as a status indicator 4. Gleb Vitkov
Post-Soviet Settlement: Diseases of CityIndustrialization
5. Anton Ivanov
Neodacha: The Freedom Kit
6. Alena Lanina
Back to Basics: Defining primary resources in Russia
7. Daria Syuzeva
Re/evolution of the USSR
Thinning Intro Jiang Jun
The world is sick. Architects have to be more and more about understanding and curing a sick world instead of making a better world, or architecture might be an effort no more hopeful than polishing the deck of a sinking Titanic.
Albeit “thinning” is a global epidemic nowadays, we assume Russia might be the most typical case for it. It’s not only because Russia is the biggest country in the world with unequal ability to intensively manage its territory and vast amount of land disused, but also because of the drastic change it made in its superstructure in recent 20 years has left us a unique sample of the failures of both planning system and market system, which were supposed to deploy the land use and its relevant resources efficiently. Russia is a country in thinning, with all its polluting industries, abandoned arable lands, shrinking cities, empty houses and de-populating demography, and the process is still going on. In order to make a comprehensive use of land, it’s not enough for one to be a physiologist to understand how the uses from different dimensions – geography, economy, society, politics and culture – can work together, but a pathologist to examine how different uses might be incompatible and conflicting with each other. It’s also not enough for one only to sort out the direct causes of the symptoms, but the root of systematic failures. Comprehensive use of land needs a comprehensive understanding of use of Land and its effect on the landscape, with which architect could decipher of the landscape and engage further into the driving forces behind. Since it’s a short-term research with longer-term consideration and full-scale perspective, 7 directions were selected around the theme “thinning” so as to cover a wide realm without losing the intensity on specific issues. The criterion is a maximum distribution on 5 dimensions (geography, economy, society, politics, culture) and 7 scales (international, int. regional, national, nat. regional, urban, rural, community), and the relevance to Russia’s urgent issues. As “land use” is directly about the economic exploitation of land, we sub-divided the economic dimension (according to Industrial Economics) into 3 industries (primary - secondary - tertiary). It’s a Cartesian map with each axis/coordinating point supported by existing disciplines and theories (geo-politics, regional economics, etc.). The research is an “acupuncture” process in this map, through which the underlined channels could be bridged and interacted. The 7 directions are: Ecological Externalities, Border Zone, Infrastructure, Mono-cities, Arable Land, Tourism, Dacha.
Ecological Externalities is about the environmental abuse as the ecological and social expenses in the shortsighted state power/market competition. Border Zone is about the disuse of the vast periphery around Russia’s territory and the status of confrontation or communication to the different geo-political context. Infrastructure is about its potential in changing the value of a location and thus the use of the land. Mono-cities is both about the use/abuse/disuse/reuse of the vast industrial heritage/left-over by USSR’s self-circulated industrial system through the re-orientation of urban planning and re-structuring of industries, and also about Russia’s status quo as a mono-economic country over-dependent on energy exportation. Arable Land is about how agriculture is sacrificed in the double failure of plan & market system in the recent economic transformation of Russia, and how food production one of Russia’s most competitive potentials – has been wasted. Tourism is about how to reuse the heritage of USSR’s sanatorium system in a marketized and privatized economic system and post-cold war context. Dacha is about how wide-spreading second-houses create a “doubled urbanization”, which is (almost) against the efficiency principle of conventional urbanization, either in the use of space or in the use of time.
Generally, architects are working on the landscapes for the landusers. Through the tangible way of landscape, the intangible land use could be organized. In a sick world, the landscape is the external symptoms for the internal pathological changes, which is increasingly about the imbalanced use (including abuse and disuse) of land. The symptom is entitled with “thinning” in our research.
7 students set up their subjects and storylines within the 7 directions. Collaboration always starts from the links and overlaps in this reactor of teamwork: Ecological Externalities caused by Mono-cities, Tourism in Border Zone, Arable Land used by Dacha, etc. It is even more inspiring to found out the common theoretic background for different directions, as it could be where the bigger picture, or the root of symptom appears, such as geo-politics theory for Border Zone, Infrastructure and Tourism, shock supply theory and regional economy and industrial cluster theory for Infrastructure, Mono-Cities, Arable Land and Tourism, etc. It’s when a common theory applied into different subjects that it could be critically tested in the reality of landscapes, and further developed as the arguments of the research. Field trip is another tool for theory test and research development. It’s also inspiring to see the convergence of different subjects in one site, where one could physically experience the conflicts or interactions between different perspectives. Except for several mini-trips for Dacha around Moscow, two long-distance field trips were made for 5 of the 7 subjects – the YaNAO trip is about the biggest energy production center in Russia at the ecologically unlivable Border Zone in the polar north with large scale energy Infrastructure to Europe but small scale Mono-Cities. Sochi is about the hottest Tourism center at the geo-politically instable Border Zone in the subtropical south, with a series of upcoming international events as its chips to develop away from being a Mono-city. The latent parallelism between the two remote trips
is another evidence of how common theoretic ground works behind different subjects and how much space it leave for us to develop. Far from being a perfect one, the research of “thinning” itself is also a “thinning” process, with an ambitious coverage on the intellectual land but not enough insightful use of it. Just like an infrastructure built for future, the real value of the 6-month research lies in the long-term & full-scale knowledge structure it constructed for the deciphers of landscape – the future architects. In the un-developed voids in-between the fathomed or anchored territories are the other equally urgent issuesDemography, Corruption, Real Estate, Consumerism, etc., which could be the directions for another term to come.
Infrastructure/Borderline: Structures that shape the landscape Ivan Kuryachiy
1. Empire of the Void Russia is the Empire of Void. Being unable to manage the enormous extent of its landscape, land tends to be clustered along the key infrastructural frameworks. Infrastructure as a mechanism for transforming the value of the landâ€”the main tool of colonization of vast territories. A synthetic map of the settlement pattern, shadow of the economical and geopolitical interests. For centuries infrastructure shaped the country, a multi-layered grid of interconnected roads, animaldriven transportation and waterways, but was concentrated primarily in the West-European part of Russian Empire, where more than 90% of the countryâ€™s population lived.
In the XX century, the countryâ€™s claw-like grid geometry evolved to become a linear passageway, with the Trans-Siberian railroad as its new, extended backbone stretching from the West to the East. Cities left aside of this new infrastructure were condemned to inevitable stagnation or deterioration. Tobolsk - the capital of Siberian Tzarhood that once controlled all territories from Urals to Alaska, soon became a forgotten provincial town. And conversely, the small village of NovoNikolaevsk evolved into the huge hub city Novosibirskâ€”with a population growth from 8 thousands to 1,4 million in next 100 years.
2. A Triangle of Power After the USSR disintegrated, a host of new states emerged on the region’s geopolitical map. The biggest of them was the Russian Federation - the core of former Empire. The collapse triggered a number of mutations in the Russian landscape. If we examine these processes—many of which are still under way—the “corpus” of the emerging state can be recognized. That is, the new organism that took its genetic background from its predecessor, the USSR, borrowed some elements from its neighbors, and employed some barbaric strategies that can be traced back to the medieval time. To identify the structure of that body, we need to indicate its basic joints – points of accumulation of economic, political, social and cultural energies. And if we were to name them, they might be described as The Castle, The Battlefield and The Treasury. This triangle-shaped corpus indicates the current “geometry of thinning”, the primary cause of the misbalance in the existing landscape pattern. Territories beyond that triangle are delegated to Feudal Lords and doomed to shrink. The Castle is Moscow. The old capital of the tzars and Soviet rulers, it now aggregates all branches of political power of the state. Through a vertical of power, the reigning delegates the control of land to Feudal Lords through a sophisticated and corrupt system. Moscow is home to the main Russian corporations and more than a half of total number of banks, and accounts for near the 10% of country’s budget and the same percentage of Russian population. It became the main migratory destination, draining out people from Eastern regions and exUSSR territories.
The Battlefield is the south-west of Russia: the Caucasus and Krasnodar regions. With a large number of human and economic resources expended in numerous wars and ongoing conflicts over the last 20 years, this land is the true frontline of the geopolitical games of the state. Region has the highest natural growth of population, compared to an overall decline in the country. It absorbs a vast amount of the budget with superprojects like Olympics-2014. The Caucasus republics are up to 90% subsided by the federal budget. The Treasury is two regions in north of Siberia: the YNAO and HMAO. Almost unsettled, they provides 95% of Russian gas production (18% of world total) and 67% of oil production (8,7% of world total). It is the main source of money for the State, with 73% of total Russian export dedicated to gas, oil and oil products. GRP per capita of YNAO region is equal to the one in USA. Zooming in, the epicentre of state power can be clearly identified. It is the area called the “Heart of Europe” because of the fact it provides a quarter of Europe’s gas consumption. It is the hugest gas field in the world, situated in the vast tundra below the Polar circle in Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous region. This name is derived from the land – Yamal peninsula – and its people, the native Nenets minority.
3. Colonization Having been conquered in the XVI century, those territories were kept out of the sight of the government for centuries. Colonized area was left unsettled by the state because of the hostile permafrost condition. Only two outposts were created to trade the only known resource of Siberia – furs. The uninhabitable context led to abandonment of one of those settlements in the following 60 years; another one counted less than a thousand of inhabitants until XX century. The Russian North was like a big fridge, preserving local nomad subcultures for more than 300 years until the invasion of the industrial machine. The language, traditions, beliefs and nomadic life pattern survived untouched through years of shift from Tzardom to Soviet Union. The following layer of colonization was Stalin’s Trans-Polar railroad project, stretching for 1451km. It was planned to connect the northern lands of Soviet State and provide access to a port with access to the Northern Ocean. Projects #501, #502 and #503 were constructed using the GULAG labor camp system and were mostly abandoned after the Stalin’s death. The constellation of dispersed, disconnected settlements was left here as another monument of failed land use model in the Polar region.
After WWII, in 1960s the battle for resources brought the Soviet industrial machine to rediscover this gas wonderland. Unique amounts of resources and unique ability of plan economy made it possible to justify the efficiency of nearly any type of settlement here. Generic Soviet city with microrayons of prefabricated houses was just multiplied among permafrost tundra. Cities were placed not according to the logic of urban demands, but close to pioneer gas extraction facilities. In the 1980s, a complex geopolitical chess game led to the first connection of gas infrastructure from YNAO region to Germany. The 4451km long trunk pipeline connected NATO countries and USSR—at the peak of Cold War. It became first infrastructural object that interconnected Eurasian continent, and the mark of a burgeoning process of globalization.
4. Layers of infrastructure. Now more than 60% of current Russian cargo is dedicated to the transportation of sources of energy. The pipeline networks became the primary typology of Russian infrastructure, even overtaking the railroads – the previous framework that was shaping the country for centuries. In last 15 years the overall length of trunk oil and gas pipelines in Russia increased by 18,000km, while the length of car roads remained unchanged, the operational length of railroads declined by 1000km, and number of airports was cut down by 60%.
Russia, in other words, is becoming a big gas pumping machine. By expanding the pipeline network as the skeleton of new Empire, Russia multiplies its gas & oil dependency, thus falling into a tailspin. The speed of gas transfer through pipeline system is 40km/h–faster than the railroad connection between Nadym and Noviy Urengoy, the main gas “capitals” of the state.
The gas processing unit on Yamburg gas production site (YNAO region, Russia). Photo: Ivan Kuryachiy
5. Gas religion Built from scratch in conditions of permafrost, this young breed of gas cities was the last wave of Soviet industrialization. With more than a half-a-million overall population they are totally reliant on the gas production. (the same could be said about Russia as a whole). Gas “generals”, authorities, ordinary workers and their families pray for high gas prices that can bring the stability and prosperity to the Russian state. It could be understood as a new religion, with natural gas as an invisible vaporous goddess or Holy Spirit, and citizens as the adepts of this new belief. The root of this phenomenon are not new or in any way exceptional. The same way ancient civilizations created the Gods of their main economic source they rely on - agriculture. It was the Osiris and Izida in Egypt, Ishtar in Mesopotamia.
Times change, and with economic model shifted from agriculture to industry, and then post-industry, and Pantheon of Gods is being changed according to it. Russia is still stocked to the oil-dependent model, and that reflected in that Gas Paganism appeared in the last decades. There is a strong background of Orthodox Christianity in Russian society, and the symbols of this emergent belief are very much influenced by it. The gas wellheads are shaped like a cross. The intersection of two main gas trunk pipelines, named the main gas facility in the world by US Dept of State in Wikileaks report as one of the world’s most critically important pieces of infrastructure, is called “the Cross” by locals. Even the minaret of the newly built Muslim mosque in Nadym city takes the form of a gas flame, very similar to the Gazprom corporate logo. Adjacent to mosque, the big Pyramid building is placed, referring to basic objects of cult of ancient cultures.
6. Weapon of choice At the other end of the pipe, the faith of European gas adepts is also fervent. They are addicted to the continuous flow of that gas emanating from the Northern Temples to their houses and fireplaces. On very local level they are the hostages of a continental-scale infrastructure which, like a steel funiculus, connects them to the distant energy source. Given the up to 90% dependence on Russian gas in East European countries, the object of infrastructure became the geopolitical weapon of choice, a final line of defence against the expansion of NATO and EU in ex-USSR countries. Russia first used this weapon when it interrupting the gas supply to Lithuania for two days in October 1992. After the adoption of a law that changed legal status of Russian minorities in Estonia, the gas supply was stopped for 19 days in June 1993. The switching off of the gas flow to Moldavia in 1994 led to the absorption of the country’s export pipeline system by Gazprom. After Belarus refused to share control on its pipeline network, Gazprom began the “Gas War”, as it was baptised by a deputy of president Putin. In February 2004 this truncation of the gas supply left Poland, Baltic states, East Germany and even Russian Kaliningrad region without heat for 18 hours 47 minutes. The Kremlin was accused of “terrorism on a very high level” by head of Belarus. On 1 January of 2006 Gazprom blocked the gas supply to Ukraine for 4 days. And on New Year holiday of 2009, the supply was stopped and then totally switched off for two weeks.
In Ukraine, the Gas War resulted in the election of a proRussian government that abolished the plan to join NATO and extended the presence of Russian Navy bases on Black Sea. The gas infrastructure can be considered, without exaggeration, the most effective weapon of modern Russia. And thanks to Gazprom’s creation of a vast and widespread network of trunk pipelines all over the Europe, it is a resilient weapon that is not hostage to any single European country.
7. Overprotection In order to protect the Holy Land of gas— the main gas fields of YNAO —exceptional mechanisms were put in place. Its status is largely defined by its condition of “borderzone” – a area with a special legal status stretching along the perimeter of the Russian state and varying in width from a few hundred meters to three to hundreds kilometers. This spatial typology is defined by precise restrictions as to access and land use.
After collapse of USSR, the border law was suspended: the width of all borderzones shrank to 5km. Successively, the control of those lands was given to regional administrations, who used the law primarily to monopolize resources. The whole of Chukotka became a secured border area by decree of governor Abramovich, and the President of Yakutia created a border zone half the size of India so as to cover and control world’s biggest diamond mines.
Historically the settlement structure in those border areas was denser than in other territories, largely as a result of economic and cultural exchange process between bordering countries. Traditionally, the border zone areas fell under the control of the Ministry of Finance – a clear indication that trade was perceived as the main function of these territories. Successively, border settlements were forcedly created by government for the physical protection of the wide territory of the empire. With growth of bureaucracy in Empire, the borderzone width began to increase. In the 20th century, the role of borders changed – evolving into a geopolitical tool under control of Special Services such as the KGB. In the 1930s, in particular, a process of “operated thinning” was undertaken through the forced evacuation of border zone, transforming it into a “frozen belt” that surrounded the inner land of the Soviet empire.
In 2004, after election Putin as the president, the control of border territories was assigned to the Federal Security Service (FSB). In the most sensitive spots of the territory it grew dramatically, and the largest borderzone area, unsurprisingly, was created in YNAO region. Its extent was greater than all of Germany. With more than 700km depth from the State border line, it covered all the gas fields, allowing the FSB ability full control of all access to them.
8. Gas nomads This northern energy empire consists of 2 parallel worlds: shaken, not stirred. The first is the local native population, defined by tribal traditions and nomadic land use. Having lived for centuries in the fragile nature of the tundra, they leave almost no traces on this landscape. Their nomad settlements are mostly temporary, and economic basis - reindeer herding and fishing - is entirely renewable. Natives have longer life expectancy and higher birth rate than Russians and the regional average. The other world is the industrial gas machine that invaded these territories over the last 35 years. It employs the same nomadic style of land colonization, but in an extensive way. The first “gas airborne” had temporary houses, no roads and worked on a rotational basis. But then the “prefabricated cities” were established and “gas nomads” started using them as the base for exploration of Northern resource fields. This, in turn, triggered the deterioration of a fragile landscape: it takes 20 years for the tundra to recover after having been crossed once by a heavy truck. The symbiosis and conflict of those two worlds became progressively more and more evident. With start of gas extraction, the void of Northern landscape was sliced up by trunk pipelines, which became an obstacle on the routes of reindeer herding. To grab the land for gas production from natives, Gazprom began offering them subsidies, thus creating dependency. Company and regional government provide natives with snowmobiles, dwellings, gasoline, money and social services. Together with tough legislation concerning the land usage permissions (like fishing quotas), it causes a mutation of their pure nomadic lifestyle, blurring it with sedentary elements.
And Gazprom (unwittingly, perhaps) learned a lot from the local nomads—for example that it is not effective to create permanent cities in permafrost conditions. In 1990s, in the quest for efficiency, the company restructured and disposed all its “social burdens”, placing the gas cities on the knife edge between permanence and temporariness. The new “gas nomad” model of Gazprom uses cheap labor force from all ex-USSR to work on a short-term rotational basis. On a new gas giant field, Bovanenkovo, that will begin production in 2011, there are no kindergartens or block housing. Hotels, communication center and administration offices – everything is made of quick-mounting lightweight metal constructions, ready to be dismounted and relocated. YNAO is the proving ground for a new land use model that is becoming a new trend in Russian landscape (and was even claimed in 2010 as the State program): the concentration of shrinking population in large 20 agglomerations, while leaving only temporary resource extraction outposts on the rest of the land.
Upper photo: Rotational-based workers on construction site of Bovanenkovo gas field on Yamal peninsula, YNAO region, Russia Photo: Andrey Cherdyncev Below: Native nenents nomad in in YNAO region, Russia Photo: Vyacheslav Ivko
9. Reshaped Geometry The immense scale and vast void of the Russian territory is understood as a problem, an obstacle to the efficient development of the country. But it can be turned inside-out, if the country is analyzed not in its boundaries, but on the world scale. That was not possible in USSR time because the country was closed with limited economic and social connections with outer world. But now, in the globalized world, only the global countries can benefit. One of such examples is the “land grab” phenomenon that appeared the last decades. Russia is the only politically and economically stable territory that borders Europe, Middle East, Asia and America. And the connection between these 4 spots can become the new geometrical framework to restructure the country. The “Russian Cross” can implement cargo and passenger infrastructure, turning Russia into a hub that benefits from it. Transit function can become the substitution of the current oil- and gasdepended model. And as the service economy, more advanced that current primary economy, will lead the shift towards a sustainable and advanced social and economic model.
Tourism: Chasing illusions made in USSR Minkoo Kang
“Dreams of citizens came true!”, 1950, Illustraion : Labrov A.
After WW2, tourism in the Soviet Union underwent phenomenal growth, and given the restrictions on foreign travel, this tourism was by definition domestic. Unlike the western understanding of tourism having as a form of “leisure activity”, domestic tourism in USSR was a response to the perceived need to produce, after the war, “physically and ideologically healthy” Soviet citizens. In the early 1950s, travelers earned badges of “USSR Tourist” for traveling to Gori, Baku, and Tbilisi in a touristic reenactment of Stalin’s childhood and early revolutionary life. Other badges were also created, and the perception, among citizens, of Soviet tourism as a kind of sport, an agonistic activity, was not uncommon.
infrastructure. The ambition of this program was clearly demonstrated both by the number of flight passengers carried annually within the country and the growth in the number of airports between 1950 and 1987: passengers increased almost eightyfold, and the volume of passenger-kilometers grew by a factor of more than 170 in the same period. In the same time Soviet aircraft carried 119 million passengers, of which 115 million on domestic flights. Moreover, by 1987 regular air services were available to more than 3,600 cities and towns. At that time the thirty largest Soviet cities were directly connected with all cities with a population of 500,000 or more.
1. “The tourism movement must become a mass movement.” Once pronounced by Joseph Stalin, during the Soviet era this objective can be said to have been truly achieved. Considering the extent of the infrastructure created and the volume of transportation achieved, one could even go so far as to say that it was the USSR’s most impressive accomplishment.
These remarkable statistics were not achieved solely through the technical development of transportation. Direct financial support to individuals was a key factor behind the movement: the average price for a domestic flight in 1970’s was 25 rubles (5 rubles being the price of a bottle of vodka). In addition to the cheap transportation prices, special budgets were given to ministries to support vacations for every worker.
With the parallel objectives of shaping an image of an opulent motherland within its citizens and physically connect the country, vast investments were made in transportation
2. Sochi Among all the touristic cities, Sochi was one of the greatest attractions for tourists. The unique environment— from the moist subtropic to eternal snow and glaciers—and the
rich infrastructure including sanatoriums hotels and theatres etc, were the main reasons for its fame. After Vladimir Lenin signed a decree transferring ownership of all resorts and spas to the state in 1919, there were three main development plans implemented in Sochi. The city’s main axis, Stalina Prospekt, was the first creation in 1934, development of the sea front and renewal of the city’s health treatment and resort facilities was the second in 1948, and dividing the city into three resort and conservation zones with the idea to make Sochi a all-yearround tourist city (only part of the plan was actually built) was the third, in 1967. Throughout these years, Sochi witnessed a astonishing increase in number of tourists—from 110 thousand people in 1940s to 4 million in 1980s.
dramatic change was the idea of property rights. Again Sochi, as a former tourist city, provides a clear case study. 4. 1990s During 1990s, due to the lack of legislation and the anxiety of people, massive land grabbing, not only by Moscow oligarchs but also by local dwellers, took place in Sochi. Large and small instances of informal, illegal construction occurred. ‘Finders keepers’ is an easy way to describe the situation: even the former state owned properties (for example sanatoriums and hotels) were privatized, but nobody knows how and when this happened. The city centre was unexpectedly overtaken by skyscrapers, and overwhelming numbers of small dwellings squeezed in the narrow strip along the sea shore between the
Abandoned resort in Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana. Photo: Alina Schmuch
3. Collapse Nevertheless, after the dissolution of the USSR and the sudden veer towards the market economy, the artificial life support of the tourist industry abruptly vanished. Since the industry was 100% dependent on centralised government support, the whole sector was vaporized within a second. There were no more visitors in touristic cities, airports stopped operating, and tourist facilities - resorts, hotels, etc - were abandoned. A decade later, Stalin’s dacha in Sochi has been turned into a luxury hotel, and tourists can sleep in his bedroom. Russia was the first country to adopt ‘shock therapy’ to shake off the economic lethargy of the communist era and transit to the capitalist system. The quick transformation, however, created a situation of monopoly. Unlike with the rapid transformation of the main economic sectors, there was a gap of time until it affected the tourism industry. The most powerful cause of this
former plans of Sochi. The rest of the territory(70%) is now unpopulated. Furthermore inside this intervals black market trading boomed and bartering proliferated. “The search for regional diversity in the landscape has remained an important motive for travellers.” (Mitchell, Murphy 1991) Sochi, which since the very beginning was a proving ground for this theory, remained the only city in former Soviet territories which still had tourists, although the numbers dropped more than 70% from their former heights. Tourism, in fact, was the solely remaining economic activity. The combination of the intensive privatization and the economic dependency on tourism made Sochi into a mono-city. Government initiatives in 2005 even fostered this tendency by including Sochi as one of the seven regions of “Tourist and
Stalinist sanatorium covered by a skyscraper. Photo: Franca Scholz
Skyscraper’s on sale. Source: Magazine ‘Real Estate’
Even though the statistics are showing a slight growth in number of tourists (nearly 1 million in 2008), it is not enough to keep up with the fast re-shaping of the city. Personal housing, in many instances, was rapidly transformed into informal hotel accommodation, and even more hotels and recreational facilities were built after the announcement. Now, 90% of skyscrapers and hotels are empty. The only international sea port in Sochi has become a vast shopping mall, and the factories have been closed or moved to other regions. Ironically, the city is at the same time burgeoning and emanating a stronger sensation of emptyness than ever before.
itself is too fragile to be the sole backbone of an economy. Since tourism is included in the post-industrial sector, it becomes the first target to be attacked whenever the economy loses its balance. That being said, it is possible to say that whether tourism is under planned or market economy, the risk will be the same. Nevertheless a question could be raised: is this the only way for the tourism industry to thrive? 6. Olympstroy In the current age of Sochi, a special organization for 2014 Olympic named Olympstroy is making a vast change of landscape under the slogan of “Re-invent Sochi”. With a budget
3D image of ‘Federation Island’, Source: www.federationisland.com
5. Federation Island “Federation Island”, a proposed 350 hectare artificial island in the shape of Russian Federation, was the jewel in the crown of the new 2007 masterplan. It was conceived to include private residences and hotels as well as cultural and recreational facilities for more than 25,000 people. Now completely canceled due to financial problems after the crisis in 2008, it clearly drew on previous schemes such as ‘The World’ and the ‘Palm Island’. The mere fact that the project was proposed is more than enough to demonstrate the government’s ambition towards the ‘Dubaization’ of the city.
of 30 billion dollars, Olympstroy is building 270 settlements including stadiums, resorts and hotels. The size of the budget is already 20 times more than the Vancouver Olympics, and altogether amounts to one tenth of the Russian Federation’s GDP. More than 80% of this virtually limitless Olympic budget is being used for constructing a new transportation network: the new plan includes expanding the former north and south road connection with an east-west connection along side the borderline, a high speed railway, and a new international sea port.
Dubai, as a tourism destination, was a protagonist in the creation of exclusive tourism and hospitality products inspired by the ‘massclusivity’ model, predicated on the idea of highincome groups consuming luxury products en masse. This very strength, however, was soon exposed as a weakness when its clientele’s discretionary incomes were impacted by the current recession. Dubai’s effort in constructing an image of ‘Symbolic Capital’, in which Andre Agassi and Roger Federer play tennis on top of Burj Al Arab’s helicopter pad, turned out to be extremely vulnerable. From 2008, Dubai’s ambitious urbanistic and geoengineering plans have been shattered by the global economic downturn. Dubai proves that the tourism industry
Throughout the history of Russia, Sochi was used as a proving ground to test the idea of tourism of the country. During the 1980s, lavish support from the government produced a rich image of Sochi, making it one of the only three cities (with Moscow and St.Petersburg) which was opened to foreign visitors. After the dissolution of the USSR, the city experienced chaotic privatisations. Moreover, from 2007, as a consequence of the reformulated ambitions of the government, a whole new city is being built on top of the remains of the USSR, craving global attention.
Olympic main stadium plan, Imeretinskaya Lowland. Source: Olympstroy
Olympic objects constructing in the border-zone. Source: Kommersant news
7. Weaponising the Olympics “To use special environmental conditions in Sochi, having the moist subtropic to eternal snow and glaciers, the main idea is to plan two separate zones. In a total of 11 competition venues, it will be split between a pair of venue clusters – one coastal, one mountain – set, 48 km from one cluster.” Throughout the history of the Olympics, Russia is the first to hold the event on the border with of another country—one which in this instance is characterised by remarkably unstable political conditions. The choice of Imeretinskaya Lowland was expensive, in that it forced the authorities to spend several millions of dollars just to cover the mud to actualte the fundamental conditions to build. What is the intention behind this decision?
Sometimes, to quote Vladimir Putin’s words, the part of “people from around the world gather on our territory” delivers a different meaning aside of peace and unification. Just as the Chinese communist party utilised the Olympics to consolidate its legitimacy and to showcase Beijing’s modernity, now the essence of the Olympics is using it as a geo-political tool and a demonstration towards the global audience. It is difficult not to perceive in the choice of this particular Olympic site a declaration of Abkhazia’s independence. Or even, some suggest, as a subtle attempt to reframe Abkhazia as a 84th region of Russia. 8. Borderzone As a matter of fact, a process of colonization has already been started. Since the war, local phone exchanges have been replaced by Russian ones, so that to call to Abkhazia
Main ski resort area in Krasnaya Polyana. Photo: Franca Scholz
After Russia and Georgia’s brief war in 2008, Moscow recognized Abkhazia’s declarations of independence. Since then, Abkhazia has, with the Kremlin’s support, lobbied for others’ recognition but have, for the most part, failed. The territories are internationally isolated and increasingly dependent on Russia for security. The shape of the former well known touristic place has been changed to the figure of emptiness. With so few people, Abkhazia lacks the human capital to build a viable government, or to defend itself. Abkhazia lies a mere 5km from the Olympic stadium. Is this just a coincidence? “ We will use this money not to buy guns, not to buy ammunition, not to buy combat aviation, not to buy tanks. We will use this money with one purpose, so the people from around the planet could gather here, in Sochi, on our territory, and extend hands to each other.” – Vladimir Putin, during meeting with the members of IOC evaluation commission.
requires the Russian country code. The ruble remains the common currency. Furthermore, in less than two years Abkhazia and Russia have signed more than 30 agreements on cooperation in various spheres, and vast majority give Russia the license to impose its standards, transfer its human capital or, in some form, absorb some sliver of the Abkhaz state or an entire agency or enterprise under the cover of an international accord. This is just a part and there are more. By making Sochi into the setting for the Olympics, the meaning of the word ‘gathering’ is deformed to become a powerful geopolitical tool of international reach, reinforced by its inclusion within a “special border zone”. This border-zone is defined as a special zone governed by FSB (Federal Security Service) located inside – but with no limitations in width - near the border-line of the country. Entry to the border-zone can be made only with the individual or the group permissions granted by the border administration of FSB of Russia, with the identity documents.
Hotel Magnolia. Photo: Alina Schmuch
By placing almost all the Olympic facilities inside the borderzone, the Russian state gained 100% control of the construction. Using their authority in the lands, numerous legal challenges were sidestepped. The total area of the border-zone around Russian Federation is approximately 550,000 km2, thus giving Russia a powerful diplomatic weapon 5 times the overall size of Great Britain.
case-study of Sochi, became evident. Sochi, with its population of 400 thousand, is now building for more than 2 million. The investment is soaring and emptiness is following. It is impossible to predict the future of a city, yet the upcoming five years of Sochi will be the most important in terms of redefining ‘tourism’ in contemporary Russia.
9. Void Despite all the doubts and conflicts related to the new development, however, if the vision of a touristic city will remain the same as if it was in USSR it will itself be taken in by the illusion it created. The image of tourism in the USSR was an artifact made by the closed border and control of people, but this scenario in the present conditions is all but impossible. A more diversified structure of economy is needed in order to remain sustainable and to reduce the dependency on tourism. At the same time, a concrete legislation—to manage the uniqueness of environment and historical circumstanses of Sochi—is needed. Russia should stop chasing the illusions and face the new reality.
In the centre of Sochi there is a hotel called Magnolia. It was built during 1970’s and after the perestroika, like every other hotel, it was abandoned. From 1992, Turkish merchants started trading leather inside the empty building. The scale of the market grew due to cheap prices and good quality—they even export the goods to Germany—and it became the biggest leather market in Russia. In 2006, the building started to function as a hotel again. Nevertheless, unlike many other temporary black markets, the leather market still remains by sharing half of the former hotel’s area. This case maybe the only part of the economy of Sochi which is sustainable by itself and not relying on tourism. Furthermore, it can be shown as a positive example of reusing the void. Throughout this year of research, the link between tourism from the past and the present of Russia, observed through the
Peter S. (2003), Kaliningrad, Wilson Quarterly, 21 GARF, f.9520, op. 1, d. 24, 1. 85(1945), Report on the Status and Expansion of Tourist Facilities Sabolin & Makarov (1987), SSSR Administrativno-territorial’noye 1987; Narodnoye Khozyaystvo SSSR 1988 Narodnoye Khozyaystvo SSSR (1988), Statistical Abstract 1988, 308, 336 Matthew S. & Thomas M. (1990), Soviet Air-Passenger Transportation Network, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 266 269 George K. (1958), Soviet Air Transport, The American Geographical Society of New York, 311 – 314 Rybak, Elena A., Oleg O., Zasedatelev, Yuri V. (1994), Complex Geographical Analysis of the Greater Sochi Region on the Black Sea Coast, Geojournal 34.4, 507 - 509 Darya K. & Vladimir S. (2008), Sochi. Guide to Soviet Architecture, Project Russia 47, 158 – 159 Anne G. (2003), “There’s No Place Like home”:Soviet Tourism in Late Stalinism, Slavic Review 62, no. 4, 763, 778 – 782 Joseph S. (2003), Globalization and its Discontents, Penguin, 014101038X Marcus S. & Jane A. (2010), Dubai’s Tourism Industry and its Societal Impact: Social Implications and Sustainable Challenges, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change Vol.8, 278 - 281 Harald P. & Jorg F. (2010), Financial Crisis and Tourism, Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 27 - 30
Sochi as a status endicator. How the concept of tourism evolved from the Soviet to the present period Xenia Makarova
Matsesta, bathing building #4, (1940). Photo: anonymous
The economic, ideological and cultural characteristics of each period in time would dictate their own tourist requirements, standards, and, as a consequence, their own infrastructural solutions. Traces of this kind of tourist evolution can be clearly seen in Sochi. Sochi began developing back in the late 1800’s, but it saw what could be described as a real construction upsurge on these three occasions: the 1930’s (Stalin), from the 1960’s to the 1970’s (Khrushchev and Brezhnev), and at the present time, when preparations are in full swing for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Stage One The 1920’s and the 1930’s were a difficult period. The nation had to become involved in a speedy industrialization drive, its agricultural sector was collectivized by an order from on-high, and that led to food shortages and famine. Following the 1917 revolution and an excruciating Civil War there was an entire stratum of tired and not quite healthy persons who had to be rehabilitated, something that amounted to a full-scale social problem. The public felt a need for more and better clinics and health resorts in addition to those that had been in use in the previous period.
In 1926, the Government issued an order to organize SochiMatsesta national health resort. The new Stalin project was on a really majestic scale. On June 17, 1936, the Presidium of the USSR Central Executive Committee approved a planning scheme for a Sochi-MatsestaHosta health-resort area measuring 15,000 hectares that was to stretch for 40 kilometers from the Mamaika river to the Kudepsta river. Its total planned capacity was 25,000 beds, which would require the construction of an additional 100 sanatoria for 150 beds each. Aside from developing the towns of Sochi and Hosta, the planning scheme envisaged that seven more populated localities should be organized. On the whole, an area of 850 hectares had to be redeveloped to accommodate a population of 100,000. That would require the building of 420,000 square meters of housing and a ramified network of public and sociocultural establishments. (“Arhitektura Sochi”.) To compare: Karlovy Vary could receive, as early as 1911, 71,000 a year.
World’s first sanatorium for farmers in Lyvadia. Listening to a radio. Photo: Arkady Shayhet
The German word Kurort can be translated as “a place for treatment.” Thus, the incipient Soviet tourism could be related precisely to health improvement. On top of that there were educational and indoctrination undertakings. The following is an excerpt from a 1937 report: “Listening to the guides and a special-purpose perusal of methodological papers covering each of the sights... revealed that individual guides tended to emasculate some political points. There was no link with the topical events in the life of our country; issues highlighting the heroism of both the Civil War and the postwar period were either hushed up or totally ignored.” Exemplifying the health-improvement and educational establishments in question was the world’s first sanatorium for farmers, which was opened in 1925 at Emperor Nicholas II’s former Lyvadia residence. The sanatorium accommodated 300 holiday-makers (predominantly crude land-tillers) and became one of the first health resorts for the working people.
performed by vacationers themselves and invited professional actors. Once a week, a portable motion-picture projector arrived to show movies. Six palatial rooms on the second floor housed a museum with some furniture, plates and dishes, equipment and accessories that used to belong to the last Czar. To some extent the contemporary stereotypes ended up firmly embedded. Sochi continued the Crimea’s “palatial” traditions. Today the Stalin-era South is associated with “palaces for the working people.” In the Stalin-era architecture you could clearly read continuity: the new Soviet mythology was based on the classical European tradition. The environment dictated its terms, with proletarian vacationers beginning to involuntarily follow the “bourgeois ways.”
Addressing a rally, a proletarian poet, Demyan Bedny, described that historic event as one of the wonders of the revolution, wonders that were “most indicative, most agitation-friendly, and most convincing.” Aside from its mainline health-improvement, the sanatorium engaged in cultural and educational work. It wasn’t easy on the personnel: visiting peasants often had to be taught how to use the toilets or to behave. They were also invited to attend various circles where they were taught to read and write, play musical instruments, stage theatricals, sew and embroider, and so on. There were lectures delivered on agriculture, atheism, politics, and health-improvement. There were amateur shows
World’s first sanatorium for farmers in Lyvadia. Photo: Arkady Shayhet
Among other things, the Stalin-era sanatoria automatically performed an immense educational function. The proletarians, unbeknown to themselves, perceived the forms of Greek and Roman classics.
Following below is a still from Abraham Room’s film “A Stern Young Man” (1935) that serves as a good illustration of Stalin’s Renaissance: young YCL members are seated amid an eclectic environment: a Doryphoros statue and a basrelief with portraits of communist leaders. The young people heatedly discuss “Ready for Labor and Defense,” the national fitness program.
Addressing a 1954 national conference ( the All-Union Conference of Builders, Architects and Workers in Building Materials Industry, in Construction Machinery and Road Machine Building and in Design and Research Organizations), he criticized historicism in architecture. Generally, his address boiled down to the following: we need many cheap prefab houses built to typical designs.
Nikita Khrushchev’s coming to power was marked by changes in Sochi’s cityscape.
Thus Khrushchev voiced, possibly without realizing it himself, the main principles of modern architecture, or modernism. It didn’t matter to him, however, what name the new style sported. The important thing for him was to build as much – and as cheap – as possible. Unlike Stalin, he either failed to comprehend the ideological meaning of architecture, or, which seems truer to fact, consciously destroyed it. (Dmitry Khmelnitsky, historian of architecture.) Sochi saw the launching of multi-storey standard construction projects.
Still from Abraham Room’s film “A Stern Young Man” (1935)
Hotel “Moscow” (1976-1978). The postcard of that time
By the year 1960, almost 500,000 vacationers a year enjoyed themselves at Sochi. In the early 1960’s, the local sanatoria became specialized in some or other medical aspect, something that made it possible to improve the quality of treatment. The hotel industry began progressing as well. In the 1960’s and the 1970’s there were commissioned the now popular hotels like Leningrad, Kuban, Sochi, Khosta, Magnolia, Caucasus, Horizon, Turquoise, and Surf. Somewhat later, Camellia, Sea-Gull, Pearl, Moscow, and Dagomys were added.
In this connection, one can also recall a phenomenon epitomized by the term khrushchevki. It was very cheap, low-quality housing that, nonetheless, made it possible for thousands of people to move from basements and communal apartments to their own flats with decent (and isolated!) sanitary conveniences. A parallel is in order here with the typology of Khrushchevian hotels. Unlike the majority of the Stalin-era hotels that looked like communal flats inside, the new inns were to a much greater extent like present-day affairs (the rooms had toilets and bathtubs. (To compare: the 1937 report said that “the rooms in the tourist inns failed to meet the tourists’ grown requirements (insufficient equipment, crammed bedrooms, lack of wellappointed toilets, showers, wash-rooms, and, as a consequence, an unsanitary environment).) The new hotels, on the contrary, were designed for classical pastimes on the beach. This means the health-resort’s functions became extended, for now it was intended for more than just therapy.
Since many lost their jobs, letting rooms to summertime tourists became practically the only source for earnings for many thousand Sochi residents. This spurred on a mass-scale housing construction in the private sector. There was no general plan as yet (the plan was approved on July 14, 2009). Thus, “for a number of years, the city had no general plan for its development, something that led to a chaotic construction in Sochi and to an inexpedient building of highrises along the coast.” (A. Pakhomov, Rossiyskaya business gazeta.) Private individuals and building companies privatized and redeemed land plots and built whatever they wanted in keeping with their preferences. Moreover, in the chaos of the 1990’s and the 2000’s, those elemental land relations were in no way regulated. (Things went as far as self-willed land seizure.) While in the Soviet period the construction was strictly controlled from above, perestroika ushered in the long-awaited time when everyone was able to do whatever he wished.
The private sector was active as well, although its functioning failed to be covered by statistics. Contemporaries recall that a vacation voucher was easier to come by in the 1960’s-1980’s than in the Stalin period, but still it was very difficult. For years people went south to rough it. Usually they rented a modest room with toilet facilities out in the yard. At that time, sanatoria were cultural centers of sorts as well. There were movie shows on the premises and evening dancing parties. Sightseeing was a popular pastime but, as distinct from the Stalin period, it was rather culturally than ideologically oriented. Brezhnev on the whole went on with Khrushchev’s course. The year 1967 saw the drafting of a second general plan for Sochi’s development; it spanned the period from 1967 to 1992. What proved possible to do was to establish a cluster of boardinghouses at Adler (currently ZAO Health-Resort Association Adlerkurort), one of the biggest health-improvement complexes in this country. Different ministries and agencies built sanatoria, boarding-houses, and rest-homes.
Sochi chaotic construction. Hotel window view. Photo: Daria Syuzeva
In the late 1980’s, Sochi provided chances for recreation and medical treatment to five million people a year, including more than 200,000 foreigners (Nice, four millions.) Stage Three The situation at the health-resort changed dramatically in the early 1990’s, the reason being the political and economic transformations in the country. As dramatic an alteration affected the structure of health-care establishments; many changed owners. Numerous trade-union sanatoria became jointstock companies. New owners controlled ministerial sanatoria, and some fresh health-centers sprang up. In the mid-1990’s, the number of vacationers that went to Sochi for rest and treatment was 300,000 a year; in 2000, the figure upped to 1,456,000. After perestroika, a new chapter in Sochi’s history was opened, with the cityscape immediately reacting to shifts on the national scale.
Sochi chaotic construction. Photo: “Privet Sochi”
In the 1990’s and the 2000’s , a period of primitive accumulation of capital in architecture began, with post-modernist quotation of different styles and forms both from above and from below. In parallel with the private sector, middle and big hotel business developed vigorously in Sochi. A fairly big number of new hotels sprung up starting in 2000, mostly small private inns sitting both on the coast and in Krasnaya Polyana, the mountain ski resort. Some Soviet-era hotels and sanatoria are being overhauled as well. But in keeping with a study of the hotel market in Sochi, the majority of currently existing hotels and other tourist establishments fall short of the modern requirements and are incapable of meeting a potentially grown demand. Currently a room at a mid-level hotel (Pearl) is at least $100 a day. A high-level hotel (like Grand Hotel Polyana) charges at least $200 a day.
As distinct from Sochi that was artificially filled by the Soviet distribution system and enjoyed lavish subsidies, the Turkish tourist business was originally orientated to Europe and developed in a market competitive environment. The Turks do all they can to attract the potential customer. In 2010, they abolished the visas for Russian citizens. Russian tourist firms are in close cooperation with the Turkish side. The tour-operators themselves would often order chartered flights, thereby managing to considerably reduce their prices. Lyudmila Sysoikina, head, tourist firm Solvex, says this about Sochi’s future: “Currently, an all-inclusive trip to Turkey carries the same price as a Sochi-Krasnoyarsk air travel for one person. This means that the cost of one air ticket inside Russia is equal to a foreign trip… “Sochi can be considered on two levels, hypothetically and as is. Hypothetically, it is an ideal health-resort. It can offer good climate, séances of treatment, a combination of mountains and the sea, or what the Russian health-resort science is based on. Add to this the sports: mountain skis, extreme sports, children’s sports, and the like. But all of these are shreds, if there is no single concept that might merge all these advantages. And there is none. Can we call Sochi a full-blown health-resort, if it is openly described as a place for the rich?” Launched in 2009, the Olympic construction project caused a noticeable deterioration in the ecological situation. To quote A.N. Lutsyk, Chairman, Sochi City Assembly, “Starting from 2008, the tourist flow to this city declines by 15% a year.”
Grand Hotel Polyana. Photo: ug-otdyh.ru
Russia’s Black Sea coast, however, is still the most popular direction for Russian tourists (10% a year, Rostourism). During the 20th century, the concept of “tourism” and Sochi developed in parallel. Originally tourism was about healthimprovement. With Khrushchev’s coming to power, the city development veered towards tourist multi-functionality. Currently its original city-forming balneological vector no longer plays the key role. The main effort is directed at developing the infrastructure for the 2014 Winter Olympics. At each epoch, tourism had its own functions and commanded a different perception in the public. The history of Russian tourism reveals a clear cyclical pattern.
Grand Hotel Polyana, interior. Photo: grandhotelpolyana.ru
While before perestroika Sochi had no rivals, the market economy gave people a free choice. Higher demands came to be placed on servicing, and defects of Sochi’s entertainment infrastructure came to the surface. Turkey has emerged as the main rival to Sochi, differing favorably in terms of service and low prices (a seven-day tour with threestar accommodation, all included, with two-way air tickets can be bought for $200, cheaptrip.ru). For today, Turkey tops the list of outbound Russian tourism (nearly three million a year, Rosstat). After the Germans, Russians are the most frequent sight out there.
‒‒ After the 1917 revolution, the Government in all ways supported the new ideology, thus helping to democratize the tourist and medical sphere. ‒‒ After Stalin’s takeover, the health-resort sphere grew more elite-oriented. ‒‒ The vigorous construction drive in Khrushchev and Brezhnev periods made the health-resort more accessible for the Soviet middle class. ‒‒ And, finally, today it grows progressively less accessible for the masses in connection with its highly priced hotel services. Thus, there is again a rising vertical trend.
References Zdeněk Vališ: “4. březen 1919 v Kadani” www.svobodanews.ru/content/transcript/1800975.html - Kurort Soviet Union Prokopova L. «Царская Ливадия в калейдоскопе ушедшего времени. Очерки» - Simferopol, “Antiqua”, 2008. Plakhotny A., Kosovsky A. «Ливадия: бывшая резиденция русских царей; известная профсоюзная здравница; место встречи Сталина, Рузвельта, Черчилля в 1945 году» - Yalta, “Tavrida”, 1995. www.arch-sochi.ru Les chiffres clés du tourisme à Nice, site municipal www.500-555.ru/sochi/history
Post-Soviet Settlement: Diseases of city-industrialization Gleb Vitkov
Nadym, gate to the Nadym-Gasprom technical zone. Gas Icon City. Photo: Armin Linke
Studying the phenomena of Thinning we came to an understanding of a search for compromise and balance. In Russia the dilemma of industrial development and city improvement is one of the most crucial ones. How did the industrial chain in post-Soviet Russia adopted to new conditions? How has the settlement system changed? We’ve chosen three gas extracting cities for our fieldtrip in the far north region YANAO with a hypothesis that being mono-cities of the last soviet industrialization campaign and still having a market demand of gas supply they haven’t fully revealed there weak points yet. We wanted to follow in our research two dimensions: one of politics and economy, another of social and cultural aspects. Past time. Central Planning Agency made a decision to set few cities in the north of the country for gas and oil extraction. The absence of infrastructure or conditions suitable for life wasn’t a deterrent. With unlimited resources, the country can afford to inhabit any territory it wants with cities. A more modest and stern model of a rotational settlement method initially was not even considered. The only purpose of such an approach is to provide the maximum amount of product. The bowels of the country are enormous, and it’s impossible to imagine that the gas may ever run out; or that everything will one day be automated. All inconveniences are perceived as temporary. Blinded by the enormous reserves they knew were beneath them, people
build a city from scratch, and gave birth to children. A whole generation now exists for whom these places are native land. Utopian master plans were created, rooted on illusory and baseless parameters of further growth. Planners create an abstract ideal model - provide convenient public spaces, a developed system of social infrastructure, but these plans are to far from reality not taking into an account the real economic and social matters. Present time. The past development has resulted in several new cities in the north three of which were visited. This region, according to every statistics, is the centre of contemporary Russian economy, and our hypothesis that cities here have lots of in common with the other parts of the country has appeared to be true as we’ve uncovered the facts. The life there is classical for mono-cities model and directly illustrates it. Nadym is the first city of this gas wave. 39 years old, and with a declining population of 47 thousand people this city was once an ideal model of northern expansion. Its form of a compact plan together with the hierarchical society inside with Gasprom Idol on top, gas workers and finally common people is reminiscent of the Ideal City theories by Platoon. The unrealized concept of a cupola over entire city should fulfill the utopian image of a colony city and set the boundaries between artificial
Nadym, inner yard of a microrayon. Mosaics of 70-s. Cemented Temporariness with Gas development propaganda. Photo: Armin Linke
and natural. Mostly grey building of panel blocks of special northern series are offered a minimal decoration through small pieces of colored ceramics added in the concrete of walls. Being seriously isolated from not only the “main land” as locals call the entire country but even from the nearby archipelago of other settlements it has preserved the unique atmosphere of late Soviet stability and timelessness. Huge propaganda mosaic murals on the walls celebrate not Communism but the gas pipe construction. Gasprom is the main enterprise that runs the city: without it no life is possible - or needed, for that matter - in the region. After the completion of the city and collapse of Soviet Union, almost all enterprises that were involved in city’s maintenance were abandoned. A massive concrete-panel factory remained a silent ghost almost in the center of a city together with scattered sites of road construction companies. This created a strong devotion to Gasprom as a hope of guaranteed stability and prosperity on the part every dweller. According to collected interviews, almost everyone dreams of working for Gasprom and everyone who is not already working there recognizes that it’s impossible to be employed there. The mono-city system created a clan of gas workers, where only family connections are influential. The second reason of a conflict is that as a business Gasprom isn’t interested in hiring locals for higher salaries and keeping the city in a good condition due to its high cost. Mono-country led to a broader desire to work for Gasprom – the most reliant and wealthy opportunity. Now a lot of temporary workers are standing in a queue all around the country to work on a temporary basis in the north. There is no place for city like Nadym in this system. This way Gasprom becomes a state on itself. The whole city is decorated with Gasprom symbols
and propaganda, even advertisement works for Gasprom: corporation as a feudal system. But for the entire country this means the Dutch Disease – the marginalizing and shrinking of manufacturing and the resource-based economy. At the same time city dwellers are waiting the resettlement from old housing, construction of new cultural facilities, new jobs. Another Gasprom city - New Urengoy is an etalon of unconscious and is often called the Capital of Gas. Even when planning a city from scratch, compromises must be made. In this case motivated by the most ambitions to make housing closer to the gas extraction, which is important in the severe climate, led to setting of the city in the middle of nowhere around the grey sands and flat landscapes of tundra, but not
Nadym, bas-relief of city map. Compactness of Idiality. photo: Armin Linke
settlement 80km to the East in the Korotchaevo - despite the fact that is closer to various types of transport infrastructure, better landscapes and a milder climate, and therefore obviously a better place for living. In the short-term this logic was effective, but today, gas extraction almost having moved to the polar north further and from this city, the logic that inspired it makes no sense and problems that were swept under the carpet begin to emerge. The city has scattered itself across a vast territory for more than 100km long, to the extent that it can’t be trully called a city. From a defenition of a city it took only the scale of buildings, the infrastructure and social welfare system. Its growing population of more than 120 thousand people including permanently floating number of about 35000 gas rotating workers is an absolute record for the north and this region particularly. The city perceives it as its own merit, prefering not to aknowledge it as a consequence of extensive and intensified gas extraction. For years this prosperous city has been unable establish a rapid connection with distant districts, or build a new train station, which now is nothing than a brick and wood barrack, or create pedestrian trading galleries and other attributes of a city. Even keeping in mind the possibility of temporariness of the city it’s hard to understand why nothing is done to improve the infrastructure which is needed - in any possible scenario. The city itself blames its fate on the distant city of Sochi, where all the enormous revenues of the gas extraction are being spent on the preparation for the Olympic Games. Still, they continue building new real-estate projects.
Noviy Urengoy, chief-architect’s office. 100 km city. Photo: Armin Linke
planning that even preserved existing trees in the yards of new residential microrayons. It’s far from gas fields, although it’s still serving the pipelines and thereby keeping Gasprom as a corporate owner of the city. Noyabrsk is referred to as the Southern Gates of YANAO region, and is a logistical centre that provides region with goods and equipment. Having the minor dependence on Gasprom it managed to develop a better social infrastructure like music schools and learning centers. Still it remains a mono-city and almost every citizen out of 110000 population is imbued with a permanent “travel bag mood”, ready to leave the city at any moment.
Noyabrsk is the youngest city out of three, in that it is only 29 years only. It was created with a careful approach to
Noviy Urengoy, Leningradskaya Street. City in the north Desert. Accunulated dissipitation and land abuse. Photo: Armin Linke
The attitude of local authorities and common citizens is also quite demonstrative. The worse is a situation in a city the less anyone wants to care about it. In Nadym, probably the weakest one due to its most isolated location, citizens prefer to speak about the picturesque landscape around and their explicit relation to the city, while government authorities try to postpone and diminish the scale and speed of upcoming threat like deteriorating housing or gas extraction that’s moving far from the city leaving a lot of people jobless. In Noviy Urengoy we may observe dissipation and indifference. Actually it means not inaction but quite opposite – incredible activity but blind to the future consequences. Citizens of the city either don’t care about the city’s fate or remember the initial opportunity to establish the city in a more suitable place of Korotchaevo as mentioned already upwards. Noyabrsk, which seems to have more chances and potentials, founds itself with a desire to improve its environment, worrying about possible risks and has a lot of complains from the locals, despite having more opportunities to find a flat, or a job, or a cultural activity than in any other city in the north. What is a mono-city? Mono-city is a complete opposite to a contemporary city in that it totally depends on one specific occupation, making one dependent on a system it exists within. And if a system collapses so does the city. In the economic dimension mono means devoted to one single industrial sector; in the social dimension mono-city is a one devoted only to working, instead of living or social communicating.
BB Cities Distribution in Russia
Cities, inh. > 100 000 50 000 - 100 000 < 50 000
Cities in regions: basic © Independent Institute for Social Policy, 2010
Mono-cities are apparently a leftover of USSR’s centralized system, or even the failure of the plan system, however, it was the macro-structure of USSR that linked all the mono-cities into a diversified network, which guaranteed the supply and demand of each mono-city through the central plan, and the “micro-society” model (the communism social welfare) set up by each city/enterprise was also a minimum compensation of the absence of modern services. Soviet model located the factory in a city mostly motivated by political reasons and ambitions. The culture of industrialization implied an industrial support to the city by locating there a factory. With no respect to such facts as logistical closeness to the raw materials or to a market made all the decisions priceless. Sometimes a factory could be in thousands of km to both (chemistry in Bashkiria). The extraction of resources was following the same logic and let the extensive colonization of extreme north regions. It was not the centralized system itself created mono-cities, but the risk of highly-centralized system created the possibility of being mono. The change of a political and economical model has opened a new page in countries history, in that all the hidden risks and diseases of a closed system have emerged. New conditions of a free market and an open system have immediately resulted in the change of priorities and market demand. Since light industry was weakly developed and was not competitive with the outer market, it almost vanished for the first decade. USSR was based too much on heavy-military industry, but never on monoeconomy. Still this over-heavy industrialization predetermined the vector of industrial re-structuring: after the collapse of the USSR, Russia turned into a resource-reliant economy – a mono-
Al Big Business Companies in Monocities Bl Bz “Alfa-Group”/”Renova” “Norilskiy Nikel” B “MDM”/”EuroChim” “UKOS” VS “Surgutneftegas” “LUKOIL” V Vy UGMK/“Transmashholding” “NLKM” G “Severstal” “Ural Steel” Dg D “Basoviy Element” “Mechel” Ksh “Evrazholding “MMK” Kt “Sibneft” “SIBUR” Ks State monopolies KCh Companies and business(“Gasprom”, RAO EES, L groups of second position M “Rosenergoatom”
Big Business Companies. Image: Independent Institute for Social Policy, 2010
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Mzh Nf NT Na Nk N Ok Pv Pu P R Su SO S Chr Ch
Mezhdurechensk Nefteugansk Nizhniy Tagil Novoaltayisk Novokuybyshevsk Novomoskovsk Oktyabrskiy Pavlovo Pervouralsk Polevskoy Revda Severouralsk Stariy Oskol Surgut Chernogorsk Chusovoy
country. Mono-cities were generated left without the support of an explicit system: the supply-demand chain was destructed, and communism social welfare abandoned.
The logic of USSR’s centralized macro industrial structure and holistic spatial structure covering the east and west was absolutely relevant. The problem was that being supported by artificial methods it generated a system that was not able to survive in natural conditions of market economy. The spatial structure of a self-independence model is also different from that of an exportation-reliance model. And that are the reasons of a selective restoration of mono-cities in a new economy. Finally the special structure of a superpower at cold war is also different from that of a developing country in a multi-poled world. And following the words of Mr. Putin that gas is our new weapon we’ve explored that northern gas cities are more important for national security than any on the periphery or those with atomic stations and rockets, which still doesn’t mean that living conditions there were improved in a better way. The first wave of re-structuring was based on a natural extinction and shrinking of non-efficient in market economy production and causing the same effect on the cities where it was situated. We can mention the Halmer-U town in Komi Republic based on coal mining which was immediately abandoned in 1993 – the extraction was simply so expensive making the cost of coal there uncompetitive with others. The Privatization of 1991-93 gave rise to the formation of a new control system, creating an atomlike model of countless individual companies, which owned factories, stations, boiler houses and other former common property.
Structure of Mono-Cities by Industries and the GDP Level. Data: Rosstat
Although initially the struggle broke out not for improving goods quality and establishing new industrial chains, but for property redistribution. Step by step business started to
restore production itself based on the old spatial structure of factories. Partly it was the easiest and most common way and arrangement. New specialists were not required, basic equipment has been already installed. The development’s priority was to restore plants, factories and opencast mines that supplied primary resources production. Meeting the demand of foreign market for resources was the line of the least resistance for the immature business. By 1996 a new specific order has been formed, with the key role of large, though yet politically weak holdings (examples) that managed to accumulate all more or less vivid and significant and competitive Russian productions as their assets. Every economic or social crisis led to disruption (numbers), and government control intensification of private business. Further followed of resources-reliant economy and control of stability (links to laws and years of adoption, to illustrate the chronology), recovery of State Corporations or government members involvement in boards of directors of private companies. The logic is clear, but destructive. (What to refer to?) So there was a transformation into a quasi-capitalism. Scale of the phenomena. On the moment of USSR collapse there were about 468 cities which can be considered to be mono according to different grounds. Today business has restored approximately 160 cities in Russia, which mostly “belong” to Big Business Companies. This is about 15% of all Russian cities. Majority of them consists of cities with the population from 20 to 250 thousand inhabitants. And that’s about 13% of entire Russian population. And the
economic value of them is estimated as 36% of countries GDP taken as a share of industry in the GDP composition. But no conclusions were done as the last economic crisis has proved. Thousands of people rioted when their factories have stopped. Significant is that workers were calling for help not
their employers but the government, that also can be considered as a mental addiction to old model of management. Today government tries to influence the situation. The problem is that instead of creating conditions for business and civil society development by laws, and management it tries to interfere directly. All the programs it creates are hand tools that cannot help to improve the general state. It partly recreates inertial the common model of Soviet responsibilities and control. Should it intervene at all or maybe it’s time now to leave the cities along giving them back not only responsibility but also right to manage budget and stimulate this way the interest to the city? The key role of a government is to provide the rules for a game and their respect. City-factory.
when city was used as manufacture machine and citizens were compensated with free housing, medical services, and in special cases with objects of sport and culture. But never did citizens repine against the fact of industry recovery in the city. Decades of industrialization have formed concise mindset on industrial production as the only way of self-realization and earnings. “City has to produce something” - that phrase can be heard from locals. This is the traditional model. To some extent this is the reason why Russian cities are tearing away industrial areas with such a sorrow. Among the majority of population the industrial production is still associated with prosperity and growth. In reality the cities that were not lucky with the industrial recovery, are sometimes even in the more advantageous position. It happens if they are able to organize other income sources oriented on connection to adjacent cities or at least on service of neighborhood population. However
Nadym, Airport settlement. Permanent Temporariness. Photo: Armin Linke
Russian cities turned up to be hostages of their own manufacturing. Soviet system by locating a factory to every city has provoked the genetic mutation of city culture. Inherited together with the manufactures problems of ecology remain unsolved and don’t contribute to the improvement of the living conditions and cause massive deterioration in the health of its citizens. Business gradually and selectively returned to cities, suitable for participation in the new economic realm restoring their conventional occupation. Citizens were repining against the new owners: partly because of envy, partly because of incomprehension of their role. Basically business, the main and only goal of which is generation of profit, was blamed by citizens for not keeping the Soviet status quo. It was a model
it has to be admitted that most cities with 12000-250000 population and some exceptions like Togliatti with 720000 and Ulianovsk with 650000 citizens, appear to be weak against their stereotypes. They are ready to wait for years without any attempts for real changes, even understanding that every crisis can leave them without subsistence. Lack of alternative management experience and a habit of life, and lack of financial and political power of Russian cities do not allow them to put a conscious goal to become an intellectual center or a local center, engaged in trade. It’s not entirely clear, and what they could sell, because at the moment the light industry is still emerging from small individual entrepreneurs. While the state tries again to enlarge them and to present as a major controllable elements (numbers and laws). From this we can conclude that the issues of vitality of mono-cities model are not only economic and spatial reasons, but also much more
psychological, mental and deep cultural features.
The concept of a contemporary city.
One of the key features of mono-cities is its condition of Permanent Temporariness. Most of them were created as temporary settlements to maintain the factories. Their future development was occasional and undesirable in some cases or planned but not in an accurate way, when people settled in a temporary housing that has became now their permanent place. This kind of priorities influenced greatly the whole idea of city development and housing construction. The chosen type of industrialized massive panel housing was considered to be temporary and in a short term helped to settle a lot of people however it generated an aggressive and utopian city typology of microrayon. Later it became clear that government has failed in settling every citizen and no alternative sources of funding were able to appear. Now we have almost the same housing blocks of the same quality all across the country with the same set of problems. The only positive thing I find about them is that for fixing them we can also use very common and similar
It seems that processes, we are witnesses in like mobility of population, a loss of direct connection with one particular place, that is understood as relative or native land, the rearrangement of the whole system of settling – are just small bits of a greater process. Temporariness is replaced by mobility. Permanence is understood as permanence of change. One of the pioneers of a new paradigm was a Dutch artist, urbanist and philosopher Constant Nieuwenhuys. “New Babylon, Constant wrote, does not stop anywhere (because the earth is round), no borders (because there is no national economies) or groups (because humanity is fluctuating). Any place is accessible to everyone and everything. The entire planet becomes the home of the inhabitants of the earth. Each change of place when desired. Life is an endless journey through a changing world so rapidly that every time seems different“. This became a prediction of the main vector of a global urbanization. The deindustrialization process, that happens today in the developed countries, and level of technologies, that
Halmer-U, abandoned town.Call of Nostalgia Photo: internet fan-forum
solutions that will accelerate the process. Is there an expiration period for a city? Is it 30, 50, 150, 300 years? What’s the horizon of our understanding of decision making upon the performing action? How long should we keep the city in a living condition? During the last century we’ve studied how to generate a whole city from scratch in a year, seems today we need to develop a method of city erasure or transporting to another place.
let the minimum involvement of people to industrial sector, have almost generated the described condition. This statement was made in late 1950-s and became a focus of attitude of a European society later in 70-s. It would be definitely curious to compare this with what was happening at that time in USSR. As mentioned already above this moment for a shift towards a more humanized paradigm based on the question of what’s the future of a city, was once again ignored and was followed with a new wave of communistic epic constructions and the main effort was spent on increasing the industrialization level and especially on conquest of nature and development of resources
extraction. The result of this approach is clear today: huge cities extracting gas and oil in the extreme living conditions of far north and a mentality addiction to industrial psychology.
production decreases. We can assume that it moves to other countries or becomes more autonomic and needs less people. Almost all the old cities remain but drastically lose their power.
“For us to more fully understand the impact of the digital and of globalization, we need, therefore, to suspend the category “city”. Rather, we need to construct a more abstract category of centrality and of spaces of centrality that, ironically, could allow us to recover the city, albeit a recovery as just one instantiation within a much broader set of issues”. Saskia Sassen
Typology of a nation-state is extinct. The old model of a city was based on a city-centre and a land around it to supply its demands. In this way nearby land was constantly in the conscious of city’s dwellers. The state consisted of these pieces, and was the main element of worlds system. The global world implies a post-sovereign state. It created a model of new centrality when Global Cities as a place where’re concentrated the major intellectual resource and political power become even more influential to the global politics than a state. At the same time all the goods and basic resources for the cities are being shipped from somewhere else. A sort of a city that absorbs everything. Global is opposite to physical expression. This contrast of consumption and production is extremely high today and created a dangerous model of spatial vacuum of inattention to old cities where production was or is located.
Comparing two models of developing the north region we can oppose “cities” with “infrastructure urbanism”. The first one’s being was an unnecessary imperial ambition possible to happen only in a closed system of enormous and priceless effort, while the second is simply an instrument of colonization of a territory. From architectural point of view this type of urbanism is very tight, developed in a very accurate logic, uses automatic mechanisms and needs a very low density and low population to maintain it. The condition we have now is a struggle between two models. Gas extracting companies tend to shrink their spatial structure to a more efficient type
We are used to understand these city-states as a critical centrality and concentration of power. But we let out of our
Nadym, abandoned concrete-panels factory. Industries move out of cities. Photo: Sergey Kulikov
of presence and action and that’s a reason they’re no longer interested in supporting the cities model. At the same time we already have the cities in the region. How should we appreciate them? The industrial-cities shrinking process is happening all around. People move from over all England to Greater London in search of better living conditions and jobs. The same happens in Paris, Hamburg, etc. Although this doesn’t mean that industrial
conscious and focus the simple fact that without supply these main centers of consumption are weaker than ever. That means that small centers outside of our usual understanding of developed space are a significant component of a new spatial model that makes everything working. They have no less power and should be treated the proper way. We should rethink our inhabited environment and grasp the new type of geographical continuity. Contemporary system of habitation is very mobile and flexible. People prefer better qualities of life and can probably even
Noyabrsk, inner yard of a microrayon. The new city was built with a respect to original nature. A tradition of humanising environment. Photo: Ivan Kuriachiy
hypothetically should be done to develop and what exactly should not be reliant. The problems should be perceived as challenges to be solved and not ssuppressed.
choose between different types of density still being a part of urbanized world. The question that remains is how to find a balance for distribution of resources and priorities between production and the urbanized shape of civilization. What is the future of cities as the phenomenon itself and Russia in particular? Following the current projections on the dynamics of internal migration (specify the link) we have to agree with the authorities declared (when and where) scenario where the bulk of the population will be living only in the 22 agglomerations with a population of many millions. The future of small towns relatively to this is bleak. Unfortunately, we must be serious and say that most cities will fade or disappear by forced or natural reasons. Every 5th city estimated would cease to exist (see link). This is due not only to migration in search of better conditions, but with the relocation of production to other regions, with cheaper labor, electricity, rent or where the method of rotational development is used and the automation of production facilities prevails. Now It’s the right moment to ask ourselves a question if every city should grow and prosper? Instead of a dream of a golden mine with eternally unsettled town around a supporting dream standing behind should become of an entirely different order: a comfortable and quality environment. Either way, it is about finding the right balance and finding sobriety, responsibility, and rigor with respect to the arrangement of life - without the epic Komsomol construction projects, and constant turmoil with dreams of heroism. My call does not refer to human qualities, but solely to approach to perception of purpose and character of the cities, especially small and modest. Is there any need in a city in certain circumstances in which it exists now - no one will undertake to answer definitely. But we can with some confidence and hope assume what
We should use the opportunity of Russian Thinning as a positive chance to rearrange our settlement structure and probably cure all the inherited diseases of the previous ages and paradigms: to live where it’s more suitable, to manufacture where it’s more relevant. 3 cities – 3 scenarios. Returning back to our example of three cities in the north of Russia and following our position we can now try to look at their potential. Compliance with which conditions guaranties the survival? Nadym city without connecting it by the infrastructure with Noviy Urengoy and Salekhard will keep its isolated condition of slightly fading nostalgic city. Since the gas extraction has moved far from the city and it’s not needed to be a base for further north development it risks vanishing more than any northern city in the YANAO region. The new road which is planned will link Salekhard with Norilsk allowing having not only additional jobs in Nadym and cheaper products there but also to establish new economic and social relations on a regional level. Maybe this road will also allow collecting and moving all the enormous amount of garbage that has been accumulated in the tundra since the beginning of urbanization there and which is a real ecological threat now which at minimum is not possible to move out today. And this will also create new jobs there by the way. The problem of deteriorating housing can also be solved only by the construction of additional railroad infrastructure; otherwise nobody will simply continue to build there anything – too expensive and no reasons for. That’s the reason why only Gasprom is able to build something for its employees in this city today. As we see the effort to keep this city is really high, but we should see it not as an independent goal but as a part of connection project of two regional centers.
Noviy Urengoy should stop its wasteful policy of extensive growth and to congest itself into a more likely place to live. It’s hard to doubt that gas extraction there will last for next at least 50 years or even 100 and even then if there still will be the worlds demand for gas it has already become a base for polar north development. But it crucially needs to humanize and to correlate its plans for growth. Otherwise it will keep its unlivable and undesirable condition of a waste-city with dispersed housing and scattered neighborhoods, with public space everywhere and depressing environment that generates criminal behavior. One of the projects of the first priority should become the rapid train connection of isolated part of Korotchaevo where a big amount of people live and where’s a more suitable place for living according to climatic and logistical conditions. Creation of this connection will give a chance and act as a catalyst to rethink the whole urban strategy of a city, which now follows the policy of extensive land grabbing around the old industrial zones multiplying the negative effects and not solving them. Since this city has almost no problems with jobs and money it’s hard to imagine that they will try to turn to a long-term policy. But making conclusion present conditions of other Russian industrial cities like ones in the Ural should make the authorities more sober I hope. Noyabrsk which doesn’t have its own gas fields has the most prominent potential to become a local centre for nearby smaller cities. Located on the southern part of YANAO region it has a more mild climate and closer distance to the huge regional center Surgut in HMAO region. It has already started its transformation to a logistical and trading center. But it has all the classical problems of soviet urban planning: a microrayon structure and a division into two separate parts: residential one and industrial. The city should make the environment better, solve the problem of microrayons with the creation
of new roads and separating it into a very clear owner lots. It should find the method to incorporate small business activities in the first floors of a panel housing that will let them to create a prosperous and competitive environment serving all the needs of a population. It should clearer understand its priorities. The separate industrial zone should be perceived as a potential of not an industry of revitalization and creation there a multifunctional zone. The large zones of former industries give maximum freedom in rearranging a new urban grid, this territory already has all the engineer infrastructure that can save a lot of money and effort to build there anything. A middle position of a railroad dividing a city into two parts can also become a potential if there will be created a logistical centre right next to it connecting both parts and establishing a new city centre. Another important action that should be done to become an efficient centre is to overcome the monopoly in the air-transportation that exists in the city. This will improve the accessibility to the city. Examples of successful restructuring. We haven’t found any in Russia due it was not our goal. Still we have to mention that there are some ongoing processes in this direction in a natural way, although majority the official plans remain futuristic and there are no strategies yet. The most famous world’s example is a German city of Ruhr, which after the industry has abandoned the city managed to revive itself as a scientific centre and a huge leisure and entertainment park (Zollverein) with a former factory converted to a museum and cultural centre. And even if this example is not relevant for Russian context due to some reasons like the fact that industrial landscape is everywhere and has no specific value anyway this is a visual example that problems can be solved and industrial mentality can be cured. But this is already a next theme.
Noviy Urengoy, road to polar circle along the gas pumps. Infrastructure Urbanism. Photo: Ivan Kuriachiy
Neo-Dacha: Freedom kit Anton Ivanov
Palekh box showing dacha scene, 1997
Intro How does the notion of freedom transform into a spatial typology? How does the Soviet collective landscape adapt to the new implications of private, individual property? What lessons can be learned from the Soviet “dachas”, as an experiment to collectively organize moments of individual “freedom” for urban dwellers in the countryside? What are the consequences of the true freedom of expression ? 1. Defenition The study on the phenomenon of the Russian dacha highlights the relevance of these questions. Many Russian citizens see their dachas as islands of freedom from social, cultural and spatial restraints imposed by the city. Yet the dacha, as second house for urban dweller, remains an urban product. Dachas of Moscovites can be located anywhere – in Moscow region, elsewhere in Russia, or even abroad, in Europe or Asia. It is a feature of the “spreading city”, affecting both close and remote territories by means of an attempted control of the landscape. It is a spatial typology with a specific seasonal use: in Moscow region the dacha season mostly lasts 6 months: from April to October, while temperature is higher than zero.
2. Zagorod The “Russian word ‘Zagorod’, meaning ‘the countryside’ (or more literally ‘outside the city’) is undoubtedly a product of an urban civilization. That which distinguishes it from its sister - word ‘prigorod’, meaning ‘suburb’.”* (‘Zagorod’ relates to less official, of a parallel life that differs with the life in the city.**) To understand nature of ‘Zagorod’ we need to remember the nature of this territory – emptiness, resulting in remoteness, even near the city; ignorance of wide scale post-soviet heritage ruins; ingenious inventory of surrounding as a consequence of the deficit and poverty. “Zagorod in effect signifies everything that lies outside the boundaries of major cities, where this “everything” constitutes a semantic unity which is antithetical to the city. “Zagorod” is a space of completely different quality and content from urban space.” *** Zagorod is the freedom from the city, a sponge ready to absorb for the proliferation of the dachas. *, ** Sergey Sitar, Project Russia 21 *** Bart Goldhoorn, Project Russia 21
3. Scale In Russia, in 2002, according to State Statistics Committee, 104 million people lived in cities, and among them according to various sources were 33 million of dacha owners*. Moscow and Moscow Region are the most densely populated federal areas with 13% (18.6 millions) of the total Russian population (142.1 millions). During the last century Moscow and Moscow region population increased by 5 times from 3.5 millions of people in 1887 to 17 millions of people in 2005. The selected area of research – within 40 kilometers radius around Moscow (in the borders of “Betonka”** ring road) has the highest level of transformation in Moscow region. The geography of dachas duplicates the map of Moscow: it’s the mirror of the city, both official and free. * “We estimate that there are 33 million in the country of such plots” Director of the Federal Registration Service, Sergei Vasiliev ** “Betonka” road – will be explained in part 10
4. Inventory of freedom The history of the dacha is synonymous with the history of freedom—as perceived by urbanites. For this research, the physical exploration of a chosen territory resulted in the creation of an inventory of “autonomous zones”, chaotically dispersed throughout the postsoviet landscape around Moscow. Leafing through a brochure of listings of suburban housing today creates an impression of viewing a kaleidoscope of “freedom”—in terms of hectares, the types of areas, units of space and architecture. This research focuses on the most extreme examples of use – on the freedom from minimum tools of nothing (VOID) and on emerging boundless freedom constructed from philistine dreams of luxury (FAT). The development of dachas in Moscow Region never took place according to a single structured plan. Their placement in the Soviet Union has always been a privilege, accorded to the Soviet leader if it were state dachas for the highest nomenclature members; or to the management in the case of an organization, institution or factory; if it was a plot, to the gardening association.
VOID 5. Six hundred From 1970 to 1984 number of dacha’s in USSR doubled. In 1985, fearingof food shortages, the government supported dacha movement by Law. It issued directives that from 1.700.000 to 1.800.000 new garden plots had to be given in the period from 1986 to 2000. The consequence of this is that the majority of Russian dachas now sit on 6 hundreds square meter garden plots. 6. Electrification (‘60s) (Pylons settlement, quotes from the interview with the chief of the settlement) This dacha settlement was founded in 1965 by workers engaged in construction of pylons, secret radio bureau and workers from the factory. From 100 dachas population grew up to 1706 dachas in 2010. This is an old garden comradeship organization. Permits for agricultural development were issued for the uninhabitable land under the electric lines. Freedom here is embodied in tomatoes and cucumbers. 7. Freedom as a development tool During this period, the ideology of freedom includes work as a basic pillar of freedom. The dacha is perceived as a private labor camp of sorts, issued by the party to city dwellers, where they had the right to master the uninhabitable areas in their free time, for the benefit of the Soviet Union. Collective action was made in the name of communist utopia. It is traditional “doublethink,” precisely as described in George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty – Four”:
“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them...” George Orwell “Nineteen Eighty – Four” Soviet believed both in collectivity and private ownership, and gave land with shabby house was a medium for unity and at the same time owned property. By the form of private property had been constructed collective possession. Garden comradeships were a social experiment of building a private property by the collective society tools. “The construction of individual dachas and individual gardening ... not advisable from the standpoint of the organization of summer holiday masses, education of collectivism.” Khrushchev, 1961, XXII Congress of the CPSU 8. Future city and Dacha amnesty If one compares prices for a two room apartment in an adjacent city and dacha with house here, dacha prices and conditions are better. But to make business with dacha it should by officially registered. Today only 20% of dachas are registered properly*. This is caused by “dacha amnesty” law, which works imperfectly. This is an official tool to register land and property inherited from USSR planning system in private property, which was set in 2006. It’s not an obligatory, but it’s a right. However, without owning a dacha plot as an official private property it’s impossible to sell, buy or leave it in legacy. It is seen as an informal piece of paradise surrounded by the city. * “Dacha amnesty” used for more than 7 million Russians” Rosreestr
Pylons settlement, Moscow region
Map of dachas and main infrastructure lines inside Betonka circle road
9. Tools of space control. “propiska” Propiska is the Moscow system of registration, which tied people to their flat, where they registered with all possible social goods and features. It was extremely hard to change a place of registration. “Propiska” was very power full control tool over people movements through Soviet space. On dachas only seasonal migration during summer time or unofficial living was possible. In the year 2010, a law which enabled dacha as a territory for permanent registration was passed. If a dacha is located inside the city boundaries and has normal conditions for living: temporary building with foundation and walls, engineering systems, water and electricity supply, also dacha had to be the first house, if dacha owner had registration in flat it should be ended. For the most number of dacha owners this is unattainable: the State doesn’t want to endow remote urbanities with the premises to demand infrastructure from government. 10. Tools of space control. “electrichka”* In Soviet time Dacha owners never had cars—only the lucky few . Visits to their plots of land could be made in one’s leisure time, traveling “zagorod” by train. In the USSR, the choice was made by one’s superiors, and a tool for mass movement to rest, work or at the dacha was a coach. Freedom was a freedom of choice from existing set. Therefore, a train that linearly moves flows of people became a transport conveyor for the proletariat masses between predetermined points.
By effect of new born market electrichka radically transformed from transport conveyor to market conveyor, making it possible to buy everything dacha owner need during a trip. Planned movement of the masses through the territory strongly influenced the saturation of the Moscow Region. *suburban electrical train The Moscow region had a poorly developed road network, and roads for a long time were only used for moving goods and army troops between cities, less passenger traffic of people in buses. The first Moscow region ring road, which encircles the nearest to Moscow territories, was originally built to move the parts of rocket troops in case of war. Prudently, the surface was made of concrete slabs, instead of the soft asphalt. Now it’s called – “Betonka”* and still remain two-lane. *word etymology: “beton” means concrete
Dacha settlement always emerged as free form of infrastructural parasite, chaotically growing from existing branches of the transportation network.
11. Avtobusniki Avtobusniki village took its name for the professional career of its population - bus drivers in a Moscow bus fleet. This community emerged in late 80s as a garden comradeship. During last 30 years seasonal use of plots stayed the same. The USSR reality of 70s and 80s was shaped by total shortage of goods from official market and free benefits, found or gathered. In this condition was near impossible to find desirable materials or tools for dacha construction. All the physical artifacts were acquired by barter, finding or simple appropriation of collective possessions. They then were used in the process of constructing one’s own freedom.
FAT 14. unlimited freedom. 90s mutants Just as “Samodelie” was emblematic of the Soviet times, the movement evolved and mutated to adapt to the new reality of the 90s. Dacha ideology mutates to become architecture promoting self-expression, limited only by money. “Samodelie” refuses professional help, i.e. architects. During the early of 90ies only top “cottage-style” development was done with the help of architects*. A lot of this development are now abandoned. For the former inhabitants of the USSR, freely colonizing with one’s property the landscapes formerly protected by Soviet regulations was synonimous with the newly acquired liberty.
12. “Samodelie” It took plot owners ingenuity to transform Objet Trouve into a cozy home. The main property of the effectively operating assemblage is to be usable. Objects with a past life, complete with their aesthetic qualities, take on a new function. For example, bus structures became ideal elements for kitchens and housing. Window frames perfectly assembled in greenhouses.
Avtobusniki garden comradeship. Moscow region. Photo by Alexey Naroditskiy
Here lies the fundamental basis of “samodelie” culture - boundless free choice of material for the synthesis of new function. This is a unique culture of findings. Lack of everything gives rise to a staggering freedom of inventiveness and freedom of implementation, which is not boarded by any limitations of style, age or aesthetics. 13. Future This collective ingenious logic could be expanded on the future. During 6 months settlement stay as frozen, new surrounding conditions suggest alternative use, instead of keeping snow on plot territories. It could be winter museum of national inventiveness or temporary parking’s using settlements roads.
*”It never crosses our populations mind that a house has to be built according to an architectural project. The private builder only thinks about where to cut costs. Only the rich build according to project.” Leo Vasilevich Khikhlukha , Academician of the architecture, Distinguished architect of Russia
Deauville gated community. Moscow region. Photo by Aleksandr Tokarev
15. freedom templates (00s) Local migration is the basis of dacha life (seasonal population in Moscow region is 4.3 millions of people). It is migration between official and unofficial. During the late Soviet period interpretation of a journey from the city to the dacha was as an escape from the prison back to the village. But even finding themselves in a condition of “freedom”, citizens continues to be a prisoner within the borders of the Soviet empire. With the advent of international tourism dream of limitless freedom becomes a feasible reality. Now living abroad “as they”, set the trend inside the borders of a country. For the basis of a successful scene of freedom Housing estates took pictures of the aristocratic life from the West. These luxury templates reproduced foreign realities with delicate meticulousness in settlement scale. It is a process of downloading architectural exercises of past eras, emblems of past wealthy life. Immigration becomes a form of pop-culture. Now, after a half-hour journey by car in the Moscow region, one can stand in the shoes of a privileged foreigner. Geography is false, reality can be brought to Moscow – the new freedom is the availableness of everything. A dream geography emerges. Aras Agalarov, the billionaire behind the project Agalarov Estate, has described it as “a new kind of civilization... a kind of utopian social experiment - but without poor people.” the cheapest house in Agalarov Estate cost 8.5 million of Euro.
16. dream geography Development process of new freedom is reflected in a novel aesthetic, a consequence of an attitude of “unlimited egoism” towards the landscape. In this scenario, freedom can’t be achieved without an architect. He frantically searches for new images of luxury and prestige, exploring then one or the other point on the map of Europe. A drive through the Moscow Region is wierd touristic journey around the world: here is Little Italy, Monaco, Belgium, Benelux, Baden Baden and everything is only 30 – 40 kilometers away from Moscow. A geography of dreams come true. The only detail killing perfect illusion is that views of powdered concrete are being squeezed between the smelly cowshed and Soviet post-agricultural dachas. Palm trees intermingled with cow shit are the contemporary reality of Moscow “zagorod”. “We understand that people investing in a countryside estate, primarily expect to get a comfortable, safe and rich landscape, “ - says Anton Gololobov, the spokesperson of the Corporation Incom “A dream will always triumph over reality, once it is given the chance.” - Stanislaw Lem. Futurologistic Congress
References. Research - PENALTY HOUSING: HOUSING POLICY IN THE USSR AS A MEANS OF CONTROL IN HUMAN BEINGS. Mark Meerovich 2008 - Summerfolk: A History of the Dacha, 1710-2000. Stephen Lovell. Cornell University Press, 2003 - Architecture and building summer cottages. G. Bean 1939 - War and food: the supply of urban populations in the Great Patriotic War (1941 -1945) William G. Cherniavsky - Your dacha Herkel - Ways of organizing a mass holiday in a suburban area Kozlov - Economic - geographical aspects suburbunization in Moscow metropolitan area Yu Simagin 1997 dissertation - The Russian Dacha Phenomenon Struyk, R., Angelici, K. (1996) - MOSCOW REGION TODAY AND TOMORROW: DEVELOPMENTS AND PROSPECTS OF DEVELOPMENT OF SPACE AG Makhrova, TG Nefedova, A. Treivish - Peasant and proletarian: the working class of Moscow in the late nineteenth century Johnson, Robert Eugene. Leicester University Press 1979 - Villas and vicinity of Moscow. Guide. 1930. - War and food: the supply of urban populations in the Great Patriotic War (1941 -1945) William G. Cherniavsky - Moscow region dacha in Soviet architecture Axelrod Xenia Igorevna dissertation 2002 - Culture 2 Vladimir Paperny Articles - Project Russia “zagorod” №21 - “Dacha” Project Russia. 1998 № 9. G. Zabelshansky - Heavy heritage medieval 1998 Project Russia №9 Revzin - An article in the book “Ways of Russia” 2009 Graduate School of Socio-Economic Sciences - Soviet architecture number 1 for 1934 - Houses and villas for commuters Moscow H Osterman , H Revyakin Architecture and Construction in Moscow 195 Literature - Outdoor area, Andrei Bits - The General’s cottage Nikolay Z - From the memoirs of an idealist Chekhov AP - One of many Chekhov AP - Kulaks nest Chekhov AP - Cherry Orchard, Chekhov, AP 1901 -1903 - Empty giving K Paustovsky 1946 - Moscow summer Konstantin K. Paustovsky 1931 - Dachnik - Tale (1958) S. Marshak - The old man Yuri Trifonov 1978 - “The Extraordinary Adventures, formerly with Vladimir Mayakovsky in the country” Vladimir Mayakovsky - Summer residents Maxim Gorky - “Sentimental Journey Ivan Chernoknizhnikov in St. Petersburg summer cottages” Druzhinin (1849) Cinema - Villa 1974 Konstantin Voinov - Burnt by the Sun in 1994 Nikita Mikhalkov - Four Hearts 1941 Konstantin Yudin - “Zhest” 2006 Denis Neymand
Rural property websites http://www.osan.ru http://best-stroy.ru http://newdachniki.ru http://www.datscha-booking.com http://realty.dmir.ru/realty/sale/ru/mo/country/dacha/ http://www.novaya-riga.ru http://www.ardiss.ru http://expert-rating.ru authorities http://guag.mosreg.ru/ http://www.rossadovod.ru http://maps.rosreestr.ru/Portal/ statistics http://wciom.ru http://www.valnet.ru http://www.realestate.ru http://www.irn.ru/
Back to basics: Defining primary resources in Russia Alena Lanina
YANAO. Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Nadim city. Photo: Armin Linke
Geopolitically speaking, Russia is the largest union in the world and the landscape of the country has undergone many significant changes as a consequence of evolving political and strategic interests over the past century. To better understand the new opportunities for diversification of the country’s resources, it is interesting to take these transformations and contradictions in the country’s relationship with the landscape as a starting point. At the beginning of the 20th century, the shift from agrarian to industrial development was driven by a need for heavy industry, and was achieved during the 30s through the Soviet Union’s rapid collectivization and industrialization. The country was developing by shock therapy, where quick results were the prime objective and little thought was given to the fate of the territories. Industrialization was a key condition for the survival of such Super State, keeping independence in military and economic field. During WWII, much of the industry was evacuated away from attack zone to Urals and western Siberia regions, and afterwards was especially developing with the help of militaryindustrial establishment. In order to eliminate in short time in 50s lagging in agricultural grain production there was Virgin Lands Campaign that opened up vast land resources in Kazakhstan, the Volga, Urals, Siberia and the Far East. Geological research in 70s found out huge gas fields in the North, and since then resourceoriented gas and oil extractive development started, which is now the basis of Russia’s economy and main source of export earnings. Much of these historical facts subjected the landscape to various changes as well as changed the population settlement pattern.
The emergence of private capital and the return of private property had a number of significant effects on the transformations in land use structure. Privatized industrial and agricultural enterprises were initially passed to employees, but ultimately ended up in the hands of their directors. Often, in order to obtain quick benefits, enterprises were seized and subsequently collapsed. A shift from planned economy to market terminated subsidies and introduced new market conditions that further complicated the management of many enterprises. Furthermore, Russia inherited from Soviet era a large number of monocities — a common typology in any country with a large territory rich in diverse natural resources. Many of these cities are shrinking, their city-forming enterprises turned to be inefficient and on the verge of bankruptcy due to its dependence on outer demand and supply. Auctions in 1995 led the biggest industrial enterprises of the country mainly of fuel and metallurgy to be privatized: the 12 protagonists of these participants went on to form Russia’s new oligarchy. The monocities, in turn, turned into corporate-owned “big business” cities and form the basis of the country’s economy today. Since recently interests shifted to Northern territories where huge resource deposits are being discovered, more territories are being developed and while others become abandoned forming post industrial unlivable landscapes.
Resource-Oriented Extractive Way of Development Thinning intensity of USE
The structure of the energy balance in Russia is constantly changing. Until 70s it was coal, 70-80th - oil, in 90s - natural gas. Nowadays YaNAO region produces 90% of Russian natural gas, which is 20% of Worldâ€™s production. In last years gas productin increased by 11.6% due to grater demand.
YaNAO. Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Tundra, Nadym Gas pipeline junction. Photo: Armin Linke
Northern pioneer cities now considered as base cities for futher development of natural resources, with the main reserve of adapted local able-bodied population to harsh climatic conditions.
Employees of all enterprises in YaNAO region - 365 800, from which 75 500 (21%) of shift workers, from which 58 700 (78%) from outside of region. Shift workers engaged in mining operations - 53 500
Nature Management and Abandoned Unlivable Landscape Form Contradictions Between 2 Coexisting Cultures
Mining operations, construction works or geological explorations now are carried out only by shift arrangements. The ideology of temporariness at chief levels leads to exploitative treatment of the territory. Developed territories that exhausted supply or had served their time are being abandoned, and new tasks are realized already in the new places which allows endless space of the country.
YaNAO. Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Suburbs of Old Nadim. Photo: Alena Lanina
Total land area of YaNAO region - 7â€‹ 6 925 000 Ha Total population of YaNAO - 546 526, density - 0.7 per/sq. km from which population of Nenets - 21 000 Population of reindeers - 731 000, the Worldâ€™s largest herd of domesticated reindeer - 40%
YaNAO region. Reindeers at Ob Bay. Photo: Vyacheslav Ivko
After 10 years of immobility, a Land Code was finally adopted in 2001; subsequent Acts on Agricultural Land Transactions (in ’02) and on land transfer from one category to another (in 2005) strongly affected the landscape of the countryside. A new class of big landowners appeared once again in the Russian “black earth” region. In many cases land was bought up for future use and stored as a deposit at the bank, while peasants were left without work and means of subsistence. Many of ex-Kolkhozes and Sovkhozes began a spiral of decline in these territories as a consequence of natural conditions of the market; most of landlords were not interested in agriculture but in capital investment and quick profits. The classification of a portion of these lands was transferred from agricultural to other categories; many became the locus of extraneous functions such as elite cottage settlements, uncontrolled sprawl of dachas, storage areas or even new industrial development. This dacha sprawl, which almost never led to the actual development of villages and blurred the borders of big cities, congesting the suburban area and annihilating the green lungs of cities.
A counterintuitive reality of contemporary Russia is that according to last All-Russian Agricultural Census of ’06, until recently private farming actually competed in productivity with big agricultural enterprises. As much as 50% of all agricultural products are produced in this way. Nowadays, this incredible productivity is on the decline, giving way to the opponent (largely due to generation change and marketing difficulties). Agricultural hierarchy headed by big enterprises hinders the development of farming in Russia and subdues the former state collective farms, making it difficult for them to stay afloat. Competitive companies of big business form a condition of market monopolization, cultivating an adverse environment for the formation of small and medium-sized businesses and direct marketing to consumers.
Land used by different agricultural sectors (%)
Food production by different agricultural sectors (%)
Russia appears today as a monocentric state were all main agricultural enterprises and industrial head offices are situated in Moscow and Moscow region. It is precisely here that the most intensive agricultural activities took place, and socio-economic environment remained most reliable and productive for effective business.
proportion of loss-making enterprises
big agricultural enterprises
private subsidiary farming
Moscow region. New dachas on ex-arable land. Photo: Alena Lanina
10 Years of Russian Land Market Over the past ten years, Russia has lost one-third of its fertile land. More than 40 million hectares out of production - overgrown with forests or built up. In 1990 - 25000 working kolkhozes/sovkhozes (collective farms) In 2007 - 16000 working ex-collective farms
Reasons for rural stagnation:
- Abolition of social benefits - Mass-scale kolkhoz (collective-farm) bankruptcy - Non-transparent distribution of government subsidies - Low pay - Market monopolization (Final price of a product)
Average village with a bankrupt collective farm:
Moscow Region case: Agricaltural land - 1 357 000 Ha, from which 908 000 Ha - Arable land. 400 000-450 000 Ha out of this owned by landlords. Portion of agricultural land was transferd from one category to another and more than 800 of new cottage settlements were developed. Agricultural production still recovers from crisis of 90s. Grain production fell more than 3 times, potatoes - by 2.5 times, vegetables - by 1/3, livestock and poultry was reduced by 30%, milk - 2 times, eggs - 4 times. Nowadays 12 main big agricultural enterprises provide 45,2 % of Moscow food supply
- some people work in local shops, schools, hospitals - 17% go to work out of their village - 18% work on their personal plots - 31% unemployed
Moscow region. Abandoned sovkhoz. Photo: Alena Lanina
in Russia (usually)
Agricultural land structure
Despite most of Russiaâ€™s territory not being arable, country has the forth largest area of cropland in the world after the United States, India and China. Which is about 10% of Worldâ€™s arable land
Rural population density Dynamics of population distribution in Russia
A key issue of agriculture in Russia is loss of human capital. Informational globalization accelerated the outflow process of able-bodied and most active part of rural population from periphery to the suburbs and cities. Employment potential and social environment of rural communities degrades gradually.
Throughout its history, Russia has continuously developed its northern territories, creating settlements in difficult natural conditions whether or not there is a local agricultural tradition. Nowadays, a localised development of rural area came up to take the place of extensive agriculture. Agricultural land is determined not only by natural conditions but also by the level of population development, level of existing technological development and usage of land resources. Depopulation and social degradation of the countryside have had an impact on small-scale agricultural productivity, and in turn a chronic lack of human resources results in workers migration from abroad, while the internal migration of rural population tends towards southern cities and suburbs. As a consequence, the distance from large cities has become a major factor in determining the condition of the rural countryside, its economic and infrastructural development, as well as quality and quantity of its population. In Russia the process of urbanization is dominated by a decidedly centripetal force. Observing the phenomena of so-called central places theory, when the earlier land developed spaces are compressing into centers and the remaining space of the country shrinks, we see that urban and rural areas are undergoing a process of thinning, leaving deteriorated landscape behind. Leftover, disused arable
Features of World’s Land Resources in Food Provision Arable land is a source of food security for each state, food production for 1 person requires from 0.3 to 0.5 Ha. In Russia this rate is 0.86 Ha/pers. With the increase of Worl’s population amount of arable land per capita is decreasing.
land is turning back to nature; the sprawl of dachas and cottages absorbs suburbia; inefficient enterprises are dying out; obsolete infrastructure is accelerating the process of depopulation. The landscape is undergoing a process of adaptation to the new urban-centric world order. The largely resource-oriented economy of the 20th century might well, at some point, give way to agriculture in the 21st century: the looming food supply crisis and the State’s own need for food security could turn Russian agriculture in most attractive fields for development and employment. if favorable investment in the environment, and the right economic conditions and infrastructure were to be provided, grain could be the new oil, and arable land could well become Russia’s main resource.
Prerequisites of Contemporary Land Use System
facts about argiculture
facts about industry
Re/evolution of the USSR Daria Syuzeva
Moscow N. Novgorod Kazan Voronezh Saratov
Oil & Gas VS Trans-Siberian & BAM, Illustraion : Alexander R., Daria S.
Part I Thinning Research: Dachas and Infrastructure issues 1. Oil&Gas VS Transsiberian&BAM Through construction of high-speed line of the Trans-Siberian railway, the speed of passenger transport increased 50 times in comparison to the 2020. This led to the drastic growth of the number of passengers travelling by train. Currently, all Russian railways are used as if they were a metro, enabling fast movement around the territory of the country, both for work and tourism. The vastness of Russia’s territory became a huge advantage (rather than a burden). Due to a specially designed cargo lines all the traffic between USA, Europe and China now connects on the Russian territory. The use of Russia’s transportation infrastructure allows to receive excess profits that are directed to improve the quality of life of Russian citizens. Through the well-developed relations between China, USA and Europe, the Russian Federation turned into one of the most important players within the global markets.
2. 10 Destinations Views from Moscow Windows Inspire You to Go The lack of comfort and beauty, the diffusion of chaotic urban sprawl and the low quality of life are the features of all contemporary urban areas. It seems as if people can do nothing but endure. Yet there is one relief – the dacha. It is a place that provides freedom for creativity in proximity to nature; a place with nice smells and delicious food, typical of the Russian culture. There is a great variety of types of dachas in Russia. They can be made of stone or wood. It can be called with a code word ‘townhouse’ or look like a castle with a church behind the fence. One’s dacha may even be located abroad – in Bulgaria or Spain. However it is still named ‘dacha’, a second house for an urban dweller with Russian registration - ‘propiska’. Why are Russian citizens eager to have a second house for gardening or leisure? Maybe the reasons lie in the failures of the city, unable to satisfy the needs of its inhabitants. Russian houses are created to survive long winter periods, and the SNIPs
Pictures from different windows around Moscow, Photo: Julia M., Julia K., Ivan K., Kuba S., Yefim F., Nadezhda P., Jenny N., Alina V., Olga K.
(Russian building regulations) are written as if in the summer people are supposed to only spend time outdoors. However public spaces have been turned into battlefields and are no longer suitable for relaxation. In these circumstances, dacha becomes a multifunctional area associated with freedom. The desire to have a dacha and independent living conditions are so dramatic that people want to escape from the city even if they have only one alternative: a new â€˜castleâ€™ similar to the ones built in Deauville in the Moscow region. And it doesnâ€™t matter if the prices for a house can be as high as to 16 million dollars.
Illustration: Marver Yucel, Daria Syuzeva
Deauville settlement, Moscow district. Photo: Alexander Tokarev
Part I I Moscow-Adler-Sochi-Lazarevskoe-Gagry-Moscow 1. Olympic truce “King Iphitos of Elis, who was a descendent of Hercules, is credited with revamping the Games and imposing the institution of the Olympic truce. At the time of King Iphitos, around the ninth century BC, mainland Greece was unsettled with civil wars and migrations. Legend claims that King Iphitos went to the Oracle of Delphi and asked her how to bring an end to the wars and pestilence that were gradually destroying the land of Greece. She instructed him to reinstate the Games and declare a truce for their duration. This plan succeeded and the Olympic Truce became a major instrument in the unification of the Greek states and colonies. “I can say with full confidence that if we were not able to restore the territorial integrity of the country, if we had not stopped confrontation in the Caucasus in the form it took place fiveseven years ago, if we had not fundamentally changed the situation in the economy, if we had not decided a number of social problems, we would not see neither hide nor hair of any Olympic Games”. Vladimir Putin, 24.07.2007 People want to see one side on top and the other side humiliated, and they forget that victory gained through cheating or through the intervention of the crowd is meaningless. Even when the spectators don’t intervene physically they try to influence the game by cheering their own side and “rattling” opposing players with boos and insults. Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing
violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting. George Orwell 2. Transformations As a result of Russian-Turkish war the area of contemporary Sochi was conquered by Russians in 18281829. In pre-USSR period the territory was occupied mostly by dachas and summer houses. During the Soviet Period (under the planned economy) Sochi was turned into a city specialized in tourism. Currently the city is the most popular touristic destination for Russians from all over the country. Population of this territory is around 500,000 people (2010). The city-forming industry is tourism and resort industry in particular. Even though the quality of tourism infrastructure is low comparing with such destinations as Egypt, Spain, Turkey, and even Abkhazia, during summer period the population increases dramatically as several millions of tourists from Russia are coming to this destination each year. In 2007 former President Vladimir Putin made a big effort in achieving his goal: 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Sochi. This means that two areas – Imeretinskaya lowland, an old settlement, and the ecological park Krasnaya Polyana will be developed as sport zones. Large scale constructions and big expenses sustain the ambition to make Sochi and the new Olympic facilities an important tourist destination equipped with better transport
Main ski resort area in Krasnaya Polyana. Photo: Franca Scholz
infrastructure, improved accomodation facilities and new energy system. 3. Thinning Aspect The experience of past Olympics show that winter games facilities are hard to re-use after the games are finished and there is a big risk for the infrastructure to be abandoned. Moreover, construction process negatively influences the life of the locals because it damages the ecology, creates traffic congestion and forces them to resettle. But the victims are not only the locals. Most of the governmental projects have been stopped in favor of Olympic construction as the amount of public expenses for the Olympics is high and the government cannot provide support for the rest. Government corporation “OlympStroy” (or OlympConstruct), initiated for this particular project, is financed directly from a federal budget. Both recipient and donor regions as well as taxpayers contribute to the Olympic re-development of Sochi. Russian budget is primarily maintained by industry - extraction and export of raw natural resources – reducing Russia’s economy to a mono-economy. Any attempts of diversification introduced by the federal government look inept. 4. Olympic Truce < Olympic games were initiated in a very unstable time in the end of 19th century. According to Pierre de Coubertin, a founder of Olympic movement, weak physical state of French soldiers was one of the reasons of their defeat in Franco-Prussian war in 1870-1871. As an answer an attempt of propagandizing sport activities, culture and equality on the global level was initiated. However throughout history Olympic
Games were held on territories of instability and conflict like Moscow in the period of the Cold War, or Beijing in a period of uncertain relationship with Taiwan and Tibet, or Barcelona with threats of terrorist attacks by local separatists or Seoul with its confrontation between North Korea and South Korea. Fierce competition between the applicant cities, huge budgets for preparations, involvement of global media, sponsorship boom create an event which turns one small point on the world map into a center of global attention for two and a half weeks in favor of it. However at the same time hot and cold war can be initiated on the 1st day of the Olympic Games following the information war as it happened with Russia and Georgia in 2008. Or the Olympics infrastructure can be constructed in parallel with the existing border zone (at the same area). Can that mean that people treat the war and the Olympic Games as the same things and the venue should be prepared for the consequences of war? In that sense Olympic truce becomes an intricate irony. >
Ski Jumping 1. Adler: A Story About Future “Ladies and gentlemen, please, fasten your seatbelts. We are starting to land”. With big interest I look out of the window and finally see the long-awaited sea. My joy begins to decline as we move further away from the coast. Sweet multi-colored houses become replaced by unfinished bridges, vacant dirty areas and mud. “Our plane landed in the airport of Sochi. For your safety we ask you to remain seated with your belts fastened”. We are in Adler, the venue of 2014 Winter Olympic Games. We were met by bad weather, cold and rain. While waiting for the luggage we had the opportunity to explore the airport. It is new and small, with a queue to the bathroom
meter, although according to the standards it should be not less than five meters. “How can I know that all these houses are built legally? Actually all houses adjacent to the road will be demolished afterwards”, says a young construction worker from Rostov-on-Don. The reason for such a chaotic development in Adler is that the construction process is very hard to legalize in this area. Consequently a new informal procedure appeared, “You first build and then make the papers”. As the result people are vulnerable because the houses they build are illegal. There is no consideration for their rights. The landscape becomes full
Chaotic urban sprawl, Adler. Photo: Franca Scholz
and full of intrusive taxi drivers. But there is a cozy patio, and there behind the glass you can see tropical plants. Adler is one of the four districts of Greater Sochi, “gates” of the venue of the Winter Olympic Games, a festival of sport and culture. Olympic objects, a cargo port and a lot of transport infrastructure are being built here in Imeretinskaya lowland. “Adler Ring” is a complex of two automobile junctions intended to provide cargo supply during the construction and visitor access during the Games. Besides the fact that construction of this junction inhibits the efficient use of main roads, it transfers all the traffic to the narrow bypass road. Additionally, the construction area is too close to housing – not more than half a
of chaotic structures with most unexpected uses such as the residential garages. There is a collision of two powerful forces – the local population and the state. Chaotic building interferes with infrastructure, not bound by social needs. 2. Lazarevskoe: A Story About Present Valentina Stepanovna Masaltseva, a former engineer of energy facilities in Sakhalin, is now living in a settlement Verkhnyaya Mamedka, Lazarevskoe since she retired at the age of 50. Now she is 74. “I am very lucky to inherit this house. In the ‘70s, my husband, an architect, expanded it using different materials. Of course, I need to renew it now”, - she says.
Former Kolkhoz tea plantations, Lazerevskoe. Photo: Franca Scholz
The current population of the settlement is 200 people including children. In the past the settlement lived off the tea plantations. Today, most of the inhabitants are unemployed. Only a small portion of the former tea plantations are still cultivated by a local businessman and his employees, the rest is overgrown with ferns. “The best tea leaves are collected at this time. They are very tasty, very bracing and very expensive,” – says Valentina Stepanovna. After the USSR collapse the tea Kolkhoz was dissolved. Currently all the locals are working, either as taxi drivers or as housemaids. Their children finish studying at the 9th grade and do not want to study any longer. Valentina says that all the advantages of the Olympics bypassed them, “We hoped that they will improve the water system but they made only the bilingual street signs. This is the only thing we received from the Olympics”. In fact, she has self-made water system and the sewer system is filtered by a bamboo thicket. Today, in the context of the market economy, the state is no longer the exclusive land owner to sustain Sochi as a monofunctional city designated for tourism. As a consequence of this, local culture deteriorated
3. Abkhazia: a story about past. We cross the borderline between Russia and Abkhazia. Passing through the border corridor we see the duty free shop “Scyphia”. Its exterior is not different from the kiosks of Moscow, poorly-dressed people with empty trolleys which are the main instrument of foreign trade turnover for Abkhazia. The border guard checks foreign passports and puts no stamp in it. You are in Abkhazia which means that you are in a place where the sea is clean, the beach is empty, the food is delicious, the locals are friendly, the architecture is beautiful and blends into the landscape. And the place is abandoned. In the early ‘90s, Abkhazia struggled for its independence from Georgia. Currently its sovereignty is recognized by 4 states only. One of these is Russia. The political ambiguity blocked the development in the region and led to preservation of the Soviet buildings and the atmosphere. Today, one can appreciate the qualities of the Soviet city: impressive architecture with bold shapes surrounded by public spaces for cultural activities. Local inhabitants are friendly and easy to talk to. They often offer shelter to the visitors. This attitude reminds of the values of the socialist past. One can recognize here some features that Great Sochi seashore once possessed and has now lost in its ambitious attempt to “ski jump” from soviet past to the capitalist future. One can also learn how to reveal different layers of Russian and Soviet history in a clear and correct manner, reinforcing the aesthetic qualities of the environment.
Sochi Fieldtrip Stories Black Sea as Borderzone ”At the moment of perestroika all the border guards accepted that they all would be dismissed. And at that time we were able to travel across the sea very easily. For this reason I have been to Bulgaria, Turkish sea shore. And nowadays we can sail through the Black sea only two miles away from the coastline. However our marine belt is 12 miles away from the coast”.
Kolkhoz shift “The current population of the settlement is 200 people with the kids. In the past the settlement was cultivating tea plantations. Nowadays all the people become unemployed and only a small portion of the former tea plantations is developed by a local businessman and his employers. The rest of the plantations are overgrown with ferns”.
Vitaly Sergeevich Sarakhatunov, a sailor, 80 years old. Photo: Alina Schmuch
Valentina Stepanovna Masaltseva, energy infrastructure engineer, 74 years old. Photo: Franca Scholz
Nature Invaded by Infrastructure “What do I think about the Olympics? I think that in 50 years the fish will come back to the rivers, trees will grow again, but the historical monuments will be gone forever”. (Talking about the fortresses of VI-IX centuries and other traces of past civilizations)
Disharmony between the shell and the content in post-USSR “Mazesta resourt is not worse and in some respects even better than resourts of Baden-Baden and Karlovy Vary, however the demand have fallen dramatically after the USSR collapse” Evgeny Pavlovich Belikov, marketing director, “Matcesta”.
Gennady Ivanovich Kuk, a photographer, 84 years old. Photo: Alina Schmuch
Disharmony between the shell and the coontent in post-USSR Photo: Franca Scholz