Photo: Moscow, Nikol’skaya Street

15 Dec

After the Red Plague came to an end in the 1990s, post-Soviet urban renewal started to focus on the back streets of Moscow, and the restoration of the streetscape and churches of these previously neglected neighborhoods revealed something lovely and unexpected: the fact that much of pre-twentieth century Moscow had survived totalitarian depravations intact.

And, of course, the glamorous Neo-Tsarist consumerism and glitz of contemporary Russia — accompanied, as it is, by the sea change in dress, grooming and physical fitness of an already handsome people and, though ethically problematic in a social and economic sense, is sensually great fun — all take place on these rehabilitated streets, while the grim Stalinist boulevards, with their massive building scale, have just become grimmer than they were and now feel like what they really are: anti-human and anti-urban Robert-Moses-style guttings of a great city.

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