This book tries to find out, through walking the towns and great cities of the USSR, in an itinerary that goes from the Baltic to Belarus, from Ukraine to the Urals, from the Caucasus to Central Asia, in places ranging from utopian colonies of the Twenties, to nuclear new towns of the Fifties, to gleaming new capitals of the 21st century. Ranging across eleven of the fifteen countries that once made up the Soviet Union, this book searches for the remnants of revolutions both distant and recent. and for the continuities with the Communist idea.
Instead of a wistful journey through ruins, this is a Marxist Humanist account of how cities and their inhabitants have tried to cope both with the end of a socialist dream and the failure of capitalism to fulfil its own promises. In this patchwork of EU democracies, neoliberal dictatorships and Soviet nostalgic enclaves (often found in the same countries) we might just find the outlines of a way of building and living in cities that is a powerful alternative, both in the past and present.
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