Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin

Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin

by Steven E. Harris

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Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin by Steven E. Harris

This fascinating and deeply researched book examines how, beginning under Khrushchev in 1953, a generation of Soviet citizens moved from the overcrowded communal dwellings of the Stalin era to modern single-family apartments, later dubbed khrushchevka. Arguing that moving to a separate apartment allowed ordinary urban dwellers to experience Khrushchev’s thaw, Steven E. Harris fundamentally shifts interpretation of the thaw, conventionally understood as an elite phenomenon.

Harris focuses on the many participants eager to benefit from and influence the new way of life embodied by the khrushchevka, its furniture, and its associated consumer goods. He examines activities of national and local politicians, planners, enterprise managers, workers, furniture designers and architects, elite organizations (centrally involved in creating cooperative housing), and ordinary urban dwellers. Communism on Tomorrow Street also demonstrates the relationship of Soviet mass housing and urban planning to international efforts at resolving the "housing question" that had been studied since the nineteenth century and led to housing developments in Western Europe, the United States, and Latin America as well as the USSR.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421405667
Publisher: Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 02/04/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Steven E. Harris is an associate professor of history at the University of Mary Washington. Harris was a research scholar at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in 2003–2004.

Table of Contents

Tables and Figures xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Moving to the Separate Apartment 1

Part I Making the Separate Apartment

1 The Soviet Path to Minimum Living Space and the Single-Family Apartment 27

2 Khrushchevka: The Soviet Answer to the Housing Question 71

Part II Distributing Housing, Reordering Society

3 The Waiting List 111

4 Class and Mass Housing 154

Part III Living and Consuming the Communist Way of Life

5 The Mass Housing Community 191

6 New Furniture 228

7 The Politics of Complaint 267

Conclusion: Soviet Citizens' Answer to the Housing Question 300

Notes 309

Bibliography 353

Index 377

What People are Saying About This

Stephen Bittner

"Harris does many things superbly in Communism on Tomorrow Street. His chief aim is to write a social history of Khrushchev's mass housing campaign. He argues that movement to single-family apartments was the way most Soviet citizens experienced the thaw after Stalin. Harris thus challenges long-held assumptions about the centrality of the intelligentsia and high culture in the thaw. Moreover, he shows that the mass-housing campaign had many of the trappings of earlier, Stalinist campaigns, except in one crucial regard: it was non-violent. The result is a major contribution—written in elegant, accessible prose—to the emerging historiography of the post-Stalin period."

Greg Castillo

Harris is the first historian to explore fully the role of Khrushchev era mass housing as a catalytic component of what party ideologues and Soviet citizens called the 'communist way of life.'

Greg Castillo, University of California, Berkeley

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