Moving On Up To the East Side


During the nineteen sixties the Soviet Union had a problem in their cities of providing adequate housing for their people. Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, decided to build what he thought would be greater housing then before. Khrushchev’s private housing was supposed to be this grand building of high end apartment buildings but instead became the slums of the city. Khrushchev’s plan was a good thought but poorly executed. Khrushchev had many problems that he faced during the course of building but what is important when looking at the private housing construction is the effects it had on the people that lived there and how that effected the government as a whole.

The problem that Khrushchev had was the plan was too enormous to start off with. This is not new for Soviet history, they kind of have a go big or go home attitude with their programs and this was no different. I think the need to build up the Soviet Union after the destruction of World War II is the number one reason for this big idea. Since there is a need and a want in the Soviet Union for better housing you have the government start giving private contracts to builders to build housing. So the building is a social program that cost the Soviet government money and must be managed to make sure that the program is going well.

The managed part is the biggest problem that the government had in implementing this program. There was no supervision that looked over the construction. In the Current Digest of the Soviet Press, this issue was looked at in depth by stating that, “It is necessary to establish some kind of technical supervision.” The construction was a disaster because the government really did not have oversight from the beginning. This is why you have buildings looking so run down and cheaply built.

The people that lived in the new housing had promises of better living conditions and the government failed to provide this. Since Khrushchev headed this plan it was forever linked to him. Whole villages and farmland that had been cultivated for centuries were ploughed under to make way for new apartment blocks. By doing this it changed the culture that Russia and the Soviet Union until this time had which was agriculturally driven. This building plan was the end of that and put a stamp on what the modern Soviet Russia was.  In the end housing plan did not have all the grand things to it as promised and it did nothing to fix the living conditions for the Soviet people.




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