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Elemental materialism : objectifying power and selfhood in the late USSR, 1961–1991 Golubev, Alexey 2016

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1     ELEMENTAL MATERIALISM: OBJECTIFYING POWER AND SELFHOOD IN THE LATE USSR, 1961–1991  by Alexey Golubev Specialist Diploma, Petrozavodsk State University, 2002 Candidate of Sciences, Petrozavodsk State University, 2006  A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in   The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (History)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April 2016  © Alexey Golubev, 2016 ii  Abstract  This dissertation explores the link between materiality and individual and collective selves in late Soviet society. Focusing on material objects ranging from space rockets to heritage buildings to weightlifting equipment to TV sets, it argues that material objects in late socialism were key elements in the organization of the Soviet historical and spatial imagination. They embodied various, often contrasting social techniques and understandings of time and space, and acted as material coordinates of the Soviet self.  The central concept of this dissertation is elemental materialism, by which I mean a culturally rooted recognition of the power of matter and things to shape human bodies and selves, a prominent feature in the Soviet system of signification which regulated the production of meanings on daily basis. Soviet elemental materialism was a social reaction to pre-ideological experiences of daily life, including entangled assemblages of bodies, objects and physical space which exercised a social agency that did not originate from the dominant Soviet ideology. It was a set of spontaneous and situational cultural forms which gave Soviet people ways of making sense of the social agency of things. At the same time, my research historicizes Soviet things and material space in their spontaneity and affectivity as actual agents of historical change in the late USSR on a par with people, social institutions, and ideologies. By tracing the biographies of Soviet things and spatial constructions, I demonstrate how the material world of late Soviet period determined people‘s habitual choices, social trajectories, and imaginary aspirations. This research contributes to several key debates in Soviet history including how the Soviet state fashioned its citizens into subjects, and how Soviet people embraced and questioned the dominant paradigms of selfhood. My study of social reactions to the recognition of the power of things over people – that is, elemental materialism of Soviet society – contributes to a better understanding of cultural logic of late socialism. In a broader context, my research contributes to the debates on how we as historians should conceptualize the role of objects in history.  iii  Preface  This dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, A. Golubev. The fieldwork reported in Chapters 2, 3 and 6 was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate number H13-02595. All figures are used with permission from applicable sources. Portions of the Chapter 1 are used with permission from Alexey Golubev and Olga Smolyak, ―Making Selves through Making Things: Soviet Do-It-Yourself Culture and Practices of Late Soviet Subjectivation,‖ Cahiers du monde russe 54, no. 3–4 (July-December 2013): 517–541. Only my contribution to the co-authored article is used in this dissertation. A version of Chapter 2 has been published as Alexey Golubev, ―Time in 1:72 Scale: Plastic Historicity of Soviet Models,‖ Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 17, no. 1 (Winter 2016): 69–94.    iv  Table of Contents  Abstract ........................................................................................................................ ii Preface ......................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................... iv List of Figures .............................................................................................................. v List of Abbreviations ................................................................................................... viii Acknowledgements...................................................................................................... ix Introduction: Elemental Materialism in Soviet Culture and Society ........................... 1 Chapter 1. The Soviet Man as a ―Master over the Material World:‖ Techno-  Utopian Visions of the Soviet Future ............................................................ 31 Machines as the Measure of Men .................................................................. 37 Vernaculars of Soviet Techno-Utopianism ................................................... 46 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 57 Chapter 2. Time in 1:72 Scale: The Plastic Historicity of Soviet Models ................... 62 Censoring Objects of Modelling ................................................................... 69 The Fetishism of Detail ................................................................................. 73 Historicities of Scale Model Collections ....................................................... 81 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 88 Chapter 3. ―A Wonderful Song of Wood:‖ Heritage Architecture and  the Search for Historical Authenticity in North Russia ................................. 94 Lyrical Landscapes of Socialism ................................................................... 100 Aleksandr Opolovnikov‘s Making of Kizhi .................................................. 107 Accretions of History .................................................................................... 117 Identities under Sail ....................................................................................... 123 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 129 Chapter 4. When Spaces of Transit Fail Their Designers: The Social Antagonisms  of Soviet Stairwells and Streets ..................................................................... 137 Exposition: The Soviet Stairwell ................................................................... 140 v  Sex on Stairs .................................................................................................. 147 Containing the Stairwell ................................................................................ 153 Traces on the Walls ....................................................................................... 158 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 166 Chapter 5. Empowering Iron: Bodybuilding and Elemental Materialism  in the late USSR (1962–1991) ....................................................................... 172 A Morally Dangerous and Aesthetically Dubious Activity .......................... 177 Basements, Filthy and Clean ......................................................................... 184 Iron: Medicine or Drug? ................................................................................ 192 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 200 Chapter 6. Ordinary and Paranormal: The Soviet Television Set ............................... 209 The Voyeuristic Revolution of Soviet Apartment Interiors .......................... 220 New Rhythms of Life .................................................................................... 225 Paranormalists on TV .................................................................................... 228 Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 235 Conclusions ................................................................................................................. 237 Bibliography ................................................................................................................ 243        vi  List of Figures  Figure 1. An antenna of a ballistic missile early warning radar  in Chernobyl, Ukraine ................................................................................... 30 Figure 2. People and material objects from the 1961 issues of Ogoniok,  the leading Soviet illustrated magazine ......................................................... 39 Figure 3. Aleksandr Deineka, Conquerors of Outer Space, 1961 ............................... 43 Figure 4. Pyotr Sarukhanov, a caricature on the current state of affairs  of the Russian space program ........................................................................ 58 Figure 5. A World War II-themed diorama with plastic models ................................. 61 Figure 6. The Young Technical Designers pavilion at the Exhibition of  Achievements of the National Economy in Moscow, early 1980s ............... 63 Figure 7. Box cover designs of USSR-produced models of the Gypsy Moth  and the Fairey Barracuda ............................................................................. 71 Figure 8. Illustration from Modelist-Konstruktor for the feature article  about the Morane-Saulnier G showing Pyotr Nesterov‘s attack  on an Austro-Hungarian plane in 1914 ......................................................... 77 Figure 9. Soviet private and public collections of scale models.................................. 85 Figure 10. The Museum of the Petrozavodsk Palace no. 2 of Children‘s  Arts and Crafts ............................................................................................... 91 Figure 11. Texture of log walls of an early-twentieth-century house  from the White Sea coast of the Republic of Karelia .................................... 93 Figure 12. Soviet architectural contrasts ..................................................................... 95 Figure 13. A schematic map of major open air museums established  after World War II in the Soviet Union ......................................................... 97 Figure 14. Boris Pomorstev‘s landscapes .................................................................... 103 Figure 15. A general plan of the former Muromsky Monastery ................................. 110 vii  Figure 16. A 1947 sketch of the southern façade of the Church of the  Transfiguration before Opolovnikov‘s restoration project ............................ 112 Figure 18. Members of the club ―Polar Odysseus‖ examining a Pomor  fishing boat in the village of Niukhcha in Karelia, 1984 .............................. 126 Figure 19. The Pomor .................................................................................................. 127 Figure 20. Building of the People‘s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs  of the Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, ca. 1940s ....................... 130 Figure 21. Illegal demolition works in Petrozavodsk, 16 June 2013........................... 131 Figure 22. Vyacheslav Orfinskii runs to prevent the demolition of the 1936  building. 16 June 2013 .................................................................................. 131 Figure 23. Stairs of a 1974 apartment block in St. Petersburg .................................... 136 Figure 24. New apartment blocks in Moscow, ca. 1963 ............................................. 142 Figure 25. Stairwell of a 1959 khrushchevka in Petrozavodsk ................................... 143 Figure 26. Young lovers and a vigilant neighbour in the basement of an apartment  block. A still from Kur’er (dir. Karen Shakhnazarov, 1986) ........................ 149 Figure 27. A group of teenagers in the stairwell of an apartment block  in Sverdlovsk ................................................................................................. 153 Figure 28: Urban Leningrad in A Criminal Talent (1988, dir. Sergei Ashkenazi) ...... 159 Figure 29. A vandalized UFO. Still images from Issue 54 of Yeralash (1986) .......... 162 Figure 30. A Soviet barbell produced in Leningrad, ca. 1980s ................................... 171 Figure 31. Opening paragraphs and image from Vladimir Iakovlev‘s article  ―The shady business of the ‗liubery‘‖ ........................................................... 174 Figure 32. Vladimir Dubinin (left) and Evgeny Koltun  in a Leningrad gym, 1970s ............................................................................ 180 Figure 33. A basement gym in a Khrushchev-era apartment block, which  has survived mostly unchanged since the 1980s. Liubertsy, 2006 ................ 186 viii  Figure 34. A positive perspective on a basement gym  in Liubertsy in Soviet media.......................................................................... 189 Figure 35. A bodybuilding contest in Zhdanovsky Park, Moscow,  on the occasion of the Victory Day, 9 May 1985 .......................................... 191 Figure 36. Patients of the Ilizarov institute in Kurgan wearing  the Ilizarov apparatuses, ca. mid-1980s ........................................................ 194 Figure 37. Vitalities of the Ilizarov apparatuses .......................................................... 196 Figure 38. A basement gym in Liubertsy, 1980s ......................................................... 202 Figure 39. Screen of a Soviet TV set Foton ................................................................ 208 Figure 40. Soviet paranormalists on the TV screen ..................................................... 213 Figure 41. A sketch of a living room from a guidebook on apartment interiors  with seating places organized to face a television set ................................... 221 Figure 42. Aerobic exercise in Soviet homes .............................................................. 226   ix  List of Abbreviations  CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union d.  delo, file f.  fond, collection GTO Soviet physical culture training programme ―Ready for Labour and Defence of the USSR‖ Gulag Main Administration of Corrective Labor Camps KASSR Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1923–1940),   (1956–1991) KFSSR Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic (1940–1956) Komsomol All-Union Leninist Young Communist League l. list, page NARK National Archive of the Republic of Karelia NEP New Economic Policy, 1921–1928 NGO Non-governmental organization op. opis’, inventory number RSFSR Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic TASS Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union TRIZ Theory of Inventive Problem Solving TsGA SPb Central State Archive of St.Petersburg TsGAIPD  Central State Archive of Historical and Political Documents of St. Petersburg  UFO Unidentified flying object UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republic VTsSPS Central Council of Trade Unions   x  Acknowledgements  The fact that this dissertation was ever written attests to the enormous help of many people.  I am extremely grateful to my supervisor, Professor Anne Gorsuch, for her guidance, feedback and encouragement. As my dissertation gradually drifted from the firmer ground of East-West contacts across the Iron Curtain (my initial research idea) to the shakier terrain of Soviet subjectivity and selfhood, she kept on pushing me forward. Our discussions were instrumental in helping me formulate the research questions, general argument and current structure of this dissertation. Whether it was to test a new research idea, or to discuss historiography, or to plan the writing schedule, Anne was always there despite her extremely busy schedule, which included – apart from cutting-edge research in Soviet history – the administrative duties of a Department Chair and later a Deputy to the President: University Affairs at one of the largest universities in North America.  I endlessly appreciate the help and guidance provided by my other dissertation committee members. Alexei Kojevnikov, with his extensive expertise in Soviet history, provided many new perspectives on my subject that became crucial for this work. In particular, he encouraged me to explore the history of Soviet technology early in my graduate program, which made me think about the social importance and agency of things in completely new ways. Bill French fuelled my initial interest in the visual, material and affective turns in history. My coursework and discussions with him were instrumental in helping me realize that what often seemed to me like uniquely Soviet historical phenomena were, in fact, part of the global experience of modernity and modernization. Carla Nappi helped me clarify my thinking about the complexity of the interaction between the natural world, human bodies, and systems of knowledge.  I would also like to thank other faculty and staff members at the University of British Columbia who contributed to the successful completion of this degree by reading various portions of this dissertation, sharing the skills of the historian‘s craft, or navigating me through formalities of the PhD program, including Michel Ducharme, xi  Courtney Booker, David Morton, Eagle Glassheim, Daniel Vickers, Christopher Friedrichs, Tina Loo, Paul Krause, Brian Wilson, Adam Frank, Tuya Ochir, and Jason Wu. The graduate student community at UBC was an important part of my intellectual and social life during the graduate program, and I would like to thank Kilroy Abney, Natalia Balyasnikova, Sarah Basham, Eric Becklin, Eriks Bredovskis, Jorge Carrillo, Vivien Chang, Adam Coombs, Ken Corbett, Stephanie Dreier, Sam Fenn, Stephen Hay, Edgar Liao, Meghan Longstaffe, Dmitry Mordvinov, Teilhard Paradela, Sarah Primmer, Tom Peotto, Patrick Slaney, and Baris Yorumez for their collegial and friendly support. Tadeo Lima was always around when I needed it most. Jonathan Henshaw graciously proofread the dissertation for me. This dissertation would have been an entirely different work without the input of Serguei Oushakine. My main argument took its present shape in our numerous debates about Soviet culture and society, affect theory, materiality, subjectivity and selfhood, and the production of knowledge. His feedback on various portions of this dissertation helped me refine the concepts and intellectual framework of my research. His critical engagement with the theory and practice of Soviet and post-Soviet studies as well as eagerness to help and generosity in sharing his immense knowledge taught me many important lessons.  The preparation of my thesis has been greatly facilitated by the help and encouragement of many people on the both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, Julia Obertreis, Dietmar Neutatz and Michel Abeßer were among those who organized and participated in two lively and productive discussions at the Colloquium of Eastern European History of Freiburg University, while Willibald Steinmetz and Jörn Leonhard shared with me their expertise in Begriffsgeschichte and historical semantics that partially informed my theoretical framework. At various events in (and out of) Finland I had productive discussions with Markku Kangaspuro, Simo Mikkonen, and Pia Koivunen. I am extremely grateful to the participants of the Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching ―The Soviet in Everyday Life‖ funded by the Open Society Institute. At our meetings in Bodrum, Istanbul, Yerevan and Bishkek, as well as in online xii  conversations, I received invaluable advice from and had productive conversations with Olga Smolyak, Galina Orlova, Laura Adams, Gulnara Aitpaeva, John Schoeberlein, Ilya Kalinin, Yulia Skubytska, Eeva Kesküla, Aleksandr Chashchukhin, Irina Rebrova, Daria Dimke and Gaigysyz Jorayev. Anastasia Fedotova, Anatoly Pinsky and Zinaida Vasilyeva provided an attentive and constructively critical audience in St. Petersburg. On various occasions I received invaluable feedback on my research ideas and portions of this text from Dmitry Gromov, Yevgeny Efremkin, Yvonne Howell, Dragan Kujundžić, Alaina Lemon, Aleksei Popov, and Perry Sherouse.  This dissertation drew significantly on my earlier research experience in the history of North Russia and Northern Europe that I carried out at Petrozavodsk State University. My colleagues from PetrSU supported me in one way or another both before I came to UBC and during my graduate studies, including in my archival research in Petrozavodsk in the spring and summer of 2014. I would like to thank Irina Takala, Aleksandr Osipov, Sergey Verigin, Aleksandr Antoshchenko, Ilya Solomeshch, Mikhail Shumilov, Leo Suni, Dmitry Chetvertnoi, Yevgeny Kamenev, and Aleksandr Kozhanov. Aleksandr Tolstikov helped me out with some of the research materials that would otherwise have stayed out of my reach. I would like to thank the staff of the National Archive and National Library of the Republic of Karelia and of the Museum of Kizhi, in particular, Olga Zharinova, Liudmila Makarevich, Lidia Kotovich, Igor Melnikov, and Galina Galanicheva, for their professional support that made my research much more productive. My engagement with the Barents History Network informed profoundly my professional development, even though it distracted, at times, from writing my dissertation. I learned a lot from Lars Elenius, Mats-Olov Olsson, Hallvard Tjelmeland, and Maria Lähteenmäki.  I appreciate the financial support I have received for this research. At the University of British Columbia I have benefited from funding from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Arts, the History Department, and the Margaret A. Ormsby Memorial Scholarship. The Killam Trusts and Gerda Henkel Stiftung were my two major external sources of funding. The fact that I could present and discuss different aspects of my xiii  argument as conference papers was possible due to financial support from the Canadian Historical Association, the European University at St. Petersburg, the University of Nottingham, Princeton University, and Winterthur Museum.  Last but not least, I thank my family and friends. My mother Valentina, father Valery and brother Anton were always supportive of their only family member who chose a career in humanities instead of the family profession of energy engineering. My friends in Vancouver, Denis and Ekaterina Kozhevnikov, Ildar and Albina Muslukhovy, Natalia and Anton Laptevy as well as an informal Russian volleyball club at Point Grey helped me keep my sanity. My children Misha and Masha made the writing of this dissertation an occasional intervention between the making of toy cities, farms and sand castles, fighting for candies and other junk food, cleaning and cooking, bike rides, playdates, visits to the doctor, and hospital stays. Finally, I thank my wife Anastasia Rogova. She is the reason why I endeavoured to undertake this journey known as graduate school, and it was first and foremost her support that helped me get through it.     1 Introduction Elemental Materialism in Soviet Culture and Society  …the instinctive, unconscious materialist standpoint adopted by humanity, which regards the external world as existing independently of our minds.  Vladimir Lenin,  Materialism and Empirio-Criticism1  The Soviet Official as Materialist In the Soviet system of centralized management that encompassed all spheres of life from economy to culture, any official position implied a multitude of responsibilities and corresponding skills. A local Communist Party secretary, for instance, had to deal with a range of issues, including implementating production plans in factories and farms under their jurisdiction, renovating infrastructure, distributing housing, overseeing the distribution of an assortment of goods in local stores and ensuring the quality of communal services, preventing crime, enforcing labor safety, and multiple others. Not surprisingly, the normative image of a Soviet official was that of an all-around expert, almost a polymath. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet leader from 1964 to 1982, stressed this in every plenary report at Communist Party congresses,2 and official literature regulating the training of party and administrative cadres never stopped emphasizing that a Soviet official had to be qualified in political and economic issues, industry and technology,                                                  1 V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 14 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1962), 61. 2 For example: L. I. Brezhnev, ―Otchyotnyi doklad TsK KPSS XXIII siezdu KPSS,‖ in XXIII siezd KPSS. Stenogr. otchet, Vol. 1 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1966), 70, 90–91; L. I. Brezhnev, ―Otchyotnyi doklad TsK KPSS XXIV siezdu KPSS,‖ XXIV siezd KPSS. Stenogr. otchet, Vol. 1 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1971), 122–126. 2  group management and individual psychology, Soviet ethics, and multiple others spheres.3  Finding themselves in the center of all political, social and cultural processes in late Soviet society, low-level Soviet officials had to cope with huge information flows. They had to make sense of them in order to react to developments under their jurisdiction, but also to report the current state of affairs to higher authorities.4 The centralized system of state management, of which they were the foundation, immersed them in the fabric of Soviet everyday life and forced them to carry out never-ending interpretation and summarizing. In doing this, Soviet officials acted, to a certain extent, like anthropologists, observing Soviet society in its miniscule forms and incorporating their observations into texts; that is, official documents.5 In fact, ―the study of humans‖ – a dictionary definition of anthropology – was part of their job description, since only a good knowledge of the communities under their supervision could help them effectively build socialism at the ground level of Soviet society. Kommunist, the official journal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (hereafter CPSU), on numerous occasions declared that, in order to fulfill their professional obligations, Soviet officials and managers had to ―study people‖ around them, so that, as one of its articles explicated, they ―knew how to influence people depending on individual psychological peculiarities, mindset, character…‖6 A Soviet theorist of management wrote that officials in the USSR were in charge of ―enlightenment [of people under their control], had to be attentive to people, to immerse oneself in their concerns and interests…‖7 and an official publication                                                  3 A. Pershin, ―Avtoritet rukovoditelia,‖ Kommunist, 1 (1971), 69–79; A. Kandrenkov, ―Zabotlivo rastit kadry,‖ Kommunist, 9 (1976): 67–74; A. Pelshe, ―O trebovatelnosti i distsipline,‖ Kommunist, 2 (1980), 18–32; Yu. A. Rozenbaum, Podgotovka upravlencheskikh kadrov (Moscow: Nauka, 1981), 31–44, 48–54; ―Leninskiie printsipy podbora, rasstanovki i vospitaniia kadrov (vmesto Vvedeniia),‖ Kadry – reshaiushchaia sila partiinogo rukovodstva (Moscow: Mysl, 1984), 3–20.  4 The role of local-level party organizations and administrative bodies in informing the Soviet leadership of everyday realities and popular opinions has been discussed in a number of works. See, among others, Ronald J. Hill and Peter Frank, The Soviet Communist Party (London: Allen and Unwin, 1986), 83–87. 5 This comparison was inspired by Carlo Ginzburg‘s famous analogy between inquisitors and anthropologists: Carlo Ginzburg, ―The Inquisitor as Anthropologist,‖ in Carlo Ginzburg, Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 156–164. 6 S. Kosolapov, ―Trudovoi kollektiv: zabota o nravstvennom zdorovie,‖ Kommunist, 13 (1976): 66.  7 Rozenbaum, p. 37.  3  of the CPSU‘s Central Committee on party cadres emphasized that a party official had to be ―sensitive to people, to their needs and demands…‖8 Due to the nature of their socio-political position and their job requirements, Soviet rank-and-file officials in many instances pursued the same agenda as I have in this work – to understand the people of late socialism and social change in their communities. Their will for knowledge about Soviet personhood was quite pragmatic, since Soviet officials were supposed to enlighten and educate people into proper socialist subjects;9 yet in order to achieve this grand goal of building socialism – the making of the New Soviet Person – they first had to understand the ―human material‖ at their disposal.10 Of course, they had an overarching paradigm of dialectical materialism, a philosophy based on the writings and interpretations of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin, that provided them with the officially sanctioned conceptual framework to make sense of their surrounding reality. But as spontaneous and accidental anthropologists they had to deal with vibrant material – the fabric of Soviet everyday life – that escaped the schemas of Marxism-Leninism. Reading the reports of Soviet low-level officials as anthropological texts – that is, as interpretations based upon observations – is particularly inspiring for research aiming to historicize Soviet selfhood, since their observations and interpretations captured Soviet people in their immediate interactions with their social and material environment. In the language of Soviet bureaucratic reports, this interaction was always complex. Not only were people depicted as agents of socio-economic processes, but objects of the material world were also interpreted as their active participants:                                                   8 ―Leninskiie printsipy podbora,‖ 6. 9 On the making of the ‗new Soviet person‘ as an explicitly formulated project of Soviet authorities, see: K. M. Bogoliubov and F. P. Petrov, eds., KPSS o formirovanii novogo cheloveka: sbornik dokumentov i materialov, 1965-1981 (Moskva: Politizdat, 1982); Hill and Frank, The Soviet Communist Party, 76–79. See also: Catriona Kelly, Refining Russia: Advice Literature, Polite Culture, and Gender from Catherine to Yeltsin (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2001); Boris Firsov, Raznomyslie v SSSR i Rossii (1945–2008): Istoriia, teoriia i praktiki (St.Petersburg: EU SPb Press, 2008). 10 Yuri Olesha‘s term coined in a 1929 short story, in which his character desired to ―reconstruct the human material, to totally re-engineer the new world‖: Yuri Olesha, Izbrannoie (Moscow: Pravda, 1983), 277. The national corpus of the Russian language ( shows that this phrase was routinely used in late Soviet texts. 4  Motor transport inflicts losses on collective farms. This is caused by the low use factor, falsification of figures and over-expenditure of fuel… A tractor Belarus of the farm Medvezhyegorskii stood idle a whole day while there was a complicated situation with the transportation of the potato harvest and fodder at the farm (a 1963 report of the Ministry of Finances of Karelia).11  The grounds of logging sites and sawing facilities are swamped in bark, wood chips and other wood wastes that have not been removed for several years. Merchantable lumber is therefore stocked on top of these waste products which represent a significant fire threat. Fire clearances between stocks of unprocessed wood, lumber, administrative buildings and sawing facilities do not meet the normative requirements. Sawing facilities do not have water supplies for fire protection; telephone service is inoperable during nighttime (a 1974 report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Karelia).12   A serious obstacle on the way to achieving the goal of educating a [Communist] person… is represented by insufficient infrastructure [материальная база, literally a ‗material basis‘] and often by unskilled and incomplete use of already existing sports grounds, dance floors, public halls, parks, social and cultural centers (‗kultprosvetuchrezhdenie‘), propaganda rooms (‗krasnykh ugolkov‘), sports and leisure equipment (a 1975 information letter of the Karelian regional committee of the Komsomol).13   Scholars of Soviet history have long noted that the desire to conquer and exert full control over the material world – natural and man-made alike – was one of the founding pillars of Soviet ideology and culture from 1917 to 1991.14 Yet Soviet low-level officials spent much of their work time dealing with the surprises, difficulties and obstacles created by the stubborn resistance of infrastructure, equipment and/or natural phenomena to Soviet government planning. Tractors and trucks stood idle and thus ―inflicted losses‖                                                  11 National Archive of Republic of Karelia (hereafter NARK), f. R-2359, op. 1, d. 2/14, l. 12. 12 NARK, f. R-690, op. 11, d. 514/2393, l. 43–44.  13 NARK, f. P-3, op. 26, d. 140, l. 4. 14 Katerina Clark, Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-1941 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011), esp. p. 136–168. 5  on companies and regional economies; the waste of industrial enterprises created hazards for people and tangible assets; while insufficient or poor infrastructure interfered in the process of educating and disciplining Soviet teenagers. In order to explain why all this could happen, the language of Soviet official documents in these and innumerable other instances turned nearly animist: material objects were represented not only as the setting for or tools of human actions, but rather as co-participants – sometimes assisting, often resisting – in socio-economic processes. Of course, human agency is implied here: in all three excerpts quoted above, mismanagement by certain people in charge is nodded at. The use of the passive voice is symptomatic in this respect (―territories… are swamped,‖ ―wood wastes… have not been removed‖). Yet equally symptomatic is the fact that the specific culprits in these situations were not named. For officials dealing, for example, with a complicated economic situation at a Soviet collective farm it was important that, at this specific point in time, trucks and tractors stood idle or spent too much fuel. Meanwhile, their colleagues inspecting logging sites were concerned that the piles of wood waste and the overly dense storage of lumber created fire hazards. The language of their reports implied a certain level of social agency of material objects, because the difficulties that Soviet officials dealt with were caused by a material world that resisted the will of the party and the government. The national swamp reclamation campaign (мелиорация) that lasted from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s provides numerous examples. In 1975, inspectors of the Karelian Regional Committee (hereafter obkom after its conventional Russian acronym) of the CPSU reported that reclamation works near Petrozavodsk lagged behind schedule because loamy soil choked up the drainage ditches, and two out of three excavators had broken down.15 A correspondent of the specialized journal Gidrotekhnika i melioratsiia used similar terms to report why hydroengineering works in Southern Ukraine failed to meet the planned deadlines: ―sometimes an excavator breaks down, and                                                  15 NARK, f. P-3, op. 26, d. 211, l. 84–88. 6  then dump trucks stand idle; other times dump trucks get stuck on their way, and then excavators stand idle.‖16  Such explanations can be discarded as naïve, and it is, indeed, easy to build a cause-and-effect relationship that would explain such situations as derivative of the systemic shortcomings of the Soviet planned economy, in which a lack of competition and motivation caused the production of low quality commodities, including equipment, and was thus the root of the problems mentioned above. Yet I suggest that it might be equally productive to think of Soviet officials as ―situational materialists,‖ for whom such a grand scheme of things was of abstract interest. What was actually important for them was that equipment broke down and thus affected production plans, local industrial waste accumulated in and around living areas and created different hazards, and untamed urban landscapes produced social deviations. They needed to react to numerous surprises generated by Soviet realities and they needed to do it both quickly and with the resources at hand. Their language operated not with people and things taken separately, but with assemblages of humans, material objects, and the natural and man-made landscapes. The language of Soviet official documents routinely defined people through the objects of the material world, and objects were interpreted as encapsulating social relations and tensions, concepts and emotions. To rephrase, in their efforts to understand Soviet people and society, Soviet officials appeared very materialist, and not necessarily in the Marxist-Leninist meaning of this term. When they wrote, occasionally or in passing, of Soviet society in terms of assemblages between people and things, this made them in some respects closer to Sergei Tretiakov‘s productivist agenda,17 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari‘s social analysis in A Thousand Plateaus,18 Bruno Latour‘s actor-network theory,19 or the social research of                                                  16 Ye. Tret‘iakov, ―Pioner brigadnogo podriada,‖ Gidrotekhnika i melioratsiia, no. 5 (1980): 14.  17 Sergei Tretiakov, ―The Biography of the Object,‖ October, no. 118 (Fall 2006): 57–62. The work was originally published in 1929 in Russian as ―Biografiia veshchi.‖ 18 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). 19 Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 7  new materialists.20 Of course, it is important not to exaggerate the analogy between the Soviet official, on the one hand, and anthropologists or critical theorists, on the other. After all, to ―study humans‖ was an important, but rather secondary obligation of the former in contrast to the latter. Neither did they pursue a critical political agenda. But the ―vibrant matter‖ of Soviet reality, to use Jane Bennett‘s term, found its manifestation in their reports or official correspondence, as well as in the local and regional-level mass-media and in the everyday talk of Soviet citizens. When Soviet officials sounded like ―vulgar materialists‖21 as in the 1975 report quoted above that explained the root of criminality through the absence of leisure time infrastructure, they did so because they were confronted with innumerable situations in which people and things acted in relationships that are difficult to separate.  A relevant question to ask at this point is to what degree scholars of Soviet history should value knowledge produced by the people who belonged to the culture under study and thus did not have the privilege of an outside perspective, and who also had a clear ideological bias in their observations and interpretations.22 To a certain degree, this question resonates with scholarly debates on the importance of non-academic knowledge systems for our understanding of social reality. These debates emerged as a reaction to the recognition that scholarly knowledge itself is never an innocent descriptive tool, as it encapsulates and enacts political and social agendas.23 They were further spurred by the                                                  20 Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010); Diana H. Coole and Samantha Frost, eds., New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham [NC] ; London: Duke University Press, 2010). 21 While the original German term, Vulgärmaterialismus, was coined by Friedrich Engels in the nineteenth century, Soviet philosophers actively employed it to discredit what they saw as ‗easy‘ and ‗naïve‘ explanations of social processes as directly derivative from matter. See, e.g., A. D. Makarov, A. V. Vostrikov and Ye. N. Chesnokov (eds.), Dialekticheskii materialism (Moscow: Izd. VPSh pri TsK KPSS, 1962), 97.  22 This question is particularly relevant if we take into account that post-WWII American scholarship institutionalized distrust of Soviet official information in the discipline of Soviet studies. For example, on the struggle of America‘s Soviet experts with Soviet official data, see David C. Engerman, Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 101–105. 23 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Pantheon Books, 1971); Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970); Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978); Bruno 8  acknowledgement that indigenous systems of knowledge, despite having being dismissed for decades as naïve or primitive, have their own orders of sophistication and can deepen our understanding of social – and even natural – processes.24 What I want to take from these debates is an understanding that the particular attentiveness of Soviet official documents to interactions between people and their material environment is not necessarily an artefact of the naivety or ideological bias of their authors. As I try to show in this dissertation, the elemental materialism of late Soviet society was an important part of its cultural logic and thus regulated the everyday production of meanings. It influenced the ways in which Soviet people made sense of the world that they populated and tried to change.25 Echoing Bill Brown, the author of ―things theory,‖ I want to ask: ―Can‘t we learn from this materialism instead of taking the trouble to trouble it?‖26 What exactly I want to learn from Soviet officials, journalists and ordinary citizens, these spontaneous and elemental materialists, is their recognition of the actual ability of Soviet objects and material environments to organize social life and thus to become co-participants of the historical process.   Defining Elemental Materialism Elemental Materialism as a Research Object The term elemental materialism first appeared in Friedrich Engels‘s Anti-Dühring as ―naturwüchsiger Materialismus.‖27 The primary motivation of Engels in this work was to discredit philosophical idealism and its temptations for the socialist movement that he personified with Eugen Dühring, a notable German critic of Marxism. Tracing philosophical predecessors of Karl Marx‘s materialist dialectic back to ancient Greece, Engels argued that ―the philosophy of antiquity was primitive, spontaneously evolved                                                                                                                                                  Latour and Stève Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts (Princeton University Press, 1986). 24 Arun Agrawal, ―Dismantling the Divide between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge,‖ Development and Change 26, no. 3 (1995): 413–39. 25 I am grateful to Serguei Oushakine for advising me to use the term ―elemental materialism‖ as a replacement for the more reductionist ―spontaneous materialism‖ or patronizing ―naïve materialism.‖ 26 Bill Brown, ―Thing Theory,‖ Critical Inquiry 28, no. 1 (October 1, 2001): 3. 27 Friedrich Engels, Herr Eugen Dührings Umwälzung der Wissenschaft (Zürich. Berlags-Magazin, 1886), 129.  9  materialism. As such, it was incapable of clearing up the relation between mind and matter.‖ 28 His drafts preserved a more expanded definition of ancient philosophy as  the whole original spontaneous materialism which at its beginning quite naturally regards the unity of the infinite diversity of natural phenomena as a matter of course, and seeks it in something definitely corporeal, a particular thing, as Thales does in water.29   The common English translation of ―naturwüchsiger Materialismus‖ is ―spontaneously evolved‖ or ―spontaneous materialism,‖ as in the quote above. The canonical Russian translation is ―стихийный материализм,‖ that is, ―elemental materialism.‖ This translation includes a reference to the foundational question of pre-Socratic philosophy: its attempt to find the originating principle of nature in one of the classical elements (Engels mentions Thales who championed water as the primary element). In this form, the term elemental materialism became standard in Soviet histories of philosophy as the earliest stage of materialist thinking.30 What Soviet philosophers omitted was that another form of elemental materialism was all around them: a culturally rooted recognition of the power of matter and things to shape human bodies and selves, a prominent feature in the Soviet system of signification which regulated the production of meanings on a daily basis. It was elemental in the sense that it dealt with the pre-ideological experiences of daily life and with the entangled assemblages of bodies, objects and physical spaces that exercised social agency but did not originate from the dominant order of ideology. Soviet elemental materialism was a spontaneous reaction to ―the suddenness with which things seem to assert their presence and power,‖31 as well as to the stubbornness with which they do it. Elemental materialism was a set of spontaneous and situational cultural forms which gave Soviet people ways of making sense of this social agency. The side effect was that in many                                                  28 Friedrich Engels, ―Anti-Dühring. Dialectics of Nature,‖ in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 25 (New York: International Publishers, 1987), 128.  29 Ibid., 467.  30 M. I. Ananieva et al, Dialekticheskii materialism (Moscow: Mysl, 1989), 47.  31 Brown, ―Thing Theory,‖ 3. 10  cases it made them – in Engels‘s words – ―incapable of clearing up the relation between mind and matter.‖  Elemental Materialism as a Method This dissertation is about Soviet elemental materialism; it traces different cultural forms through which people of late socialism conceptualized and problematized the subject-object relation in their particular historical conditions. At the same time, I want to take seriously my own call to learn from the culture I study. That is why this dissertation is itself, to a certain degree, elementally materialist in its research methodology. I am trying to historicize Soviet things and material space in their spontaneity as actual agents of historical change in the late USSR on a par with people, social institutions and ideologies. My use of the concept ―elemental‖ is meant to stress the fact that things were the basic structural elements of the Soviet (and not only the Soviet) social order. A focus on things, on their ability to organize societies and human bodies in ways which are not reducible to social structures and discursive meanings can account for a more complex understanding of historical change in the late USSR. My research methodology is partially inspired by the Soviet elemental materialism that I discovered in my sources, but academically it draws on the rich legacy that critical studies of the body and material culture have created in the social sciences. These studies have challenged scholarly representations of ―a world of actors devoid of things,‖32 and offered various ways of conceptualizing and interpreting the role of materiality and material objects in social processes: as the objectification of social meanings,33 as frameworks of significations on par with language,34 as socially active objects, which are animated by the passage through the social fabric and which stitch it together by their                                                  32 Bernward Joerges, ―Technology in Everyday Life: Conceptual Queries,‖ Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 18, no. 2 (1988): 220. 33 Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1984); Daniel Miller, Material Culture and Mass Consumption, Social Archaeology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987). 34 Boris Arvatov, ―Everyday Life and the Culture of the Thing (Toward the Formulation of the Question),‖ trans. Christina Kiaer, October 81 (July 1, 1997): 119–28, originally published in 1925; Brown, ―Thing Theory‖; Serguei Alex. Oushakine, ―‗Against the Cult of Things‘: On Soviet Productivism, Storage Economy, and Commodities with No Destination,‖ The Russian Review 73, no. 2 (2014): 198–236. 11  trajectories,35 as regulators of people‘s social behavior,36 and as social agents in their own right.37 While I follow many of the insights proposed in these studies, particularly influential for me were the approaches of two notable figures of the Russian avant-garde, Sergei Tretiakov and Viktor Shklovsky.  In 1929, Tretiakov, addressing Soviet writers and journalists in a collection published by the Left Front of the Arts, attacked the persistence of old, pre-revolutionary forms of writing which, he argued, prevented Soviet literature from catching up with the pressing and immediate tasks of socialist transformations in the USSR. His main object of attack was the classical novel centered on the life trajectory of its protagonist, a genre whose forms were so burdened with the novel‘s roots in the bourgeois social order that their reproduction in socialist literature petrified and annihilated its transformative potential:   [T]he novel based upon the human hero‘s biography is fundamentally flawed and, currently, the best method for smuggling in the contraband of idealism… I came up against this in my own practice when I wrote the bio-interview Den Shi-khua, the biography of a real person whom I followed with the highest possible degree of objectivity… Despite the fact that a substantial number of objects and production processes have been incorporated into the narrative, the figure of the hero is distended. Thus, this figure, instead of being conditioned by these objects and influences, begins to condition them himself. 38   Tretiakov notes here that the old literary form imposed on him its own reductionist logic, and he is terrified to discover that he is no longer in control of his own text. In a way, he describes ―the death of the author,‖ a basic postmodern notion that the form of                                                  35 Bronislaw Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea (LaVergne, Tenn.: Malinowski Press, 2008), first published in 1922; Tretiakov, ―The Biography of the Object‖, first published in 1929; Igor Kopytoff, ―The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,‖ in The Social Life of Things, ed. Arjun Appadurai (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 64–91. 36 Latour and Woolgar, Laboratory Life; Bruno Latour, The Making of Law: An Ethnography of the Conseil d’Etat (Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity, 2010). 37 Bennett, Vibrant Matter; Coole and Frost, New Materialisms; Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012). 38 Tretiakov, ―The Biography of the Object,‖ 60. 12  writing has its own politics which cannot be reduced, and sometimes are directly contradictory, to the author‘s intended content.39 Yet Tretiakov is not interested in deconstruction or critical analysis; he wants to reach ―the highest possible degree of objectivity‖ in his understanding and representation of social change, and so he suggests a radical solution: instead of novels based on biographies of real or fictional characters, Soviet writers had to start producing ―biographies of the object‖:   The compositional structure of the ―biography of the object‖ is a conveyer belt along which a unit of raw material is moved and transformed into a useful product through human effort… The biography of the object has an extraordinary capacity to incorporate human material. People approach the object at a cross-section of the conveyer belt… People‘s individual and distinctive characteristics are no longer relevant here. The tics and epilepsies of the individual go unperceived. Instead, social neuroses and the professional diseases of a given group are foregrounded. 40  The focus on the object is, in other words, important because it provides a new perspective that allows people to ―appear before us in a new light and in [their] full worth.‖41 The biography of the object helps us to better understand human society, because objects do, indeed, condition people; ignoring the object would be ―smuggling in the contraband of idealism.‖ While none of my chapters is a biography of a particular Soviet object in the sense of Tretiakov‘s factography,42 I owe to him the idea that writing about Soviet scale models, or heritage buildings, or hallways of apartment blocks can be a productive form of social history. The focus on Soviet objects helps to avoid easy and often forced schematizations of historical material that might be provoked by the use of                                                  39 Roland Barthes, ―Death of the Author,‖ in Image, Music, Text, by Roland Barthes, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 142–48; Michel Foucault, ―What is an Author,‖ in Language, counter-memory, practice: selected essays and interviews, by Michel Foucault, ed. Donald F. Bouchard (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977), 113–38; Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). 40 Tretiakov, ―The Biography of the Object,‖ 61. 41 Ibid., 62. 42 On factography, see: October, no. 118 (Fall 2006), a special issue Soviet Factography, ed. by Davin Fore. 13  even the most productive categories of social analysis, such as gender, ethnicity, nation, consumption, and others.43 For example, the history of hallways and basements of Soviet apartment blocks that I trace in the second part of my dissertation can provide insights into how some of the social divisions and conflicts in the late USSR were linked with the urban landscape of late socialism. These conflicts had a concrete material basis, in addition to more abstract divisive social factors, such as income level, education, or family history. Being a man or a woman of late socialism – that is, performing one‘s masculinity or femininity – could require not only body rituals and discursive practices, but also checking in, or conspicuously avoiding, a certain register of places which, in turn, could vary substantially from one social group to another.44 Another example: a history of scale models of aircrafts, ships and ground vehicles in the USSR (chapter 2) can be written as a history of a particular hobby, but can also suggest the importance of their collections for the organization of the Soviet and post-Soviet historical imagination. Tracing the social trajectories of things is about seeking nuances and details in the grand scheme of economic, social and political change. Yet for history as a conjectural discipline, to use Carlo Ginzburg‘s term, it is details – trivial and unimportant as they might seem – that ―provide the key to a deeper reality, inaccessible by other methods.‖45   Elemental Materialism as a Writing Technique For Sergei Tretiakov and many other representatives of the Soviet avant-garde, most importantly the documentary filmmaker Dziga Vertov, interest in the material side of social life translated into attempts to exclude to the maximum extent the authorial presence in their own works. But not for all: Viktor Shklovsky, another leading figure from their cohort, was skeptical that Tretiakov‘s factographic writing or Vertov‘s cinematographic montages of Soviet everyday life could attain ―the highest possible                                                  43 Later, a similar idea to use the social biographies and trajectories of objects as a method of social and cultural analysis was offered by the American anthropologist Igor Kopytoff: Kopytoff, ―The Cultural Biography of Things.‖ 44 This form of the cultural negotiation of gender is discussed in Serguei Oushakine, ―‗Chelovek roda on‘: znaki otsutstviia,‖ in Serguei Oushakine, ed., O muzhe(n)stvennosti (Moscow: NLO, 2002), 21–23. 45 Carlo Ginzburg, ―Morelli, Freud and Sherlock Holmes: Clues and Scientific Method,‖ trans. Anna Davin, History Workshop, no. 9 (April 1, 1980): 11. 14  degree of objectivity.‖ While Shklovsky shared their ideas on the importance of things and matter in the organization of social life, he criticized the representational techniques of his fellow avant-gardists as completely ignoring the fact that the medium – the written word (Tretiakov) or cinema (Vertov) – is never neutral to the message.46 ―I want to know the [identification] number of the locomotive lying on its side in Vertov‘s film,‖ wrote Shklovsky in one of his works, using the example of a filmed steam engine to demonstrate the artistic conventionality inherent in any representation, even in those claiming an absolute objectivity.47  Shklovsky‘s response to the realization that ―the medium is the message‖48 was to turn this conventionality from a liability into an asset: to use things in the complexity of their social lives as a way of organizing one‘s narrative – as a literary device, or a technique of writing. His most lasting contribution to the field of literary analysis has been the idea of defamiliarization (остранение), coined in his early work ―Art as Technique‖ (1917). Defamiliarization is a technique in which an author represents a common thing or a typical situation in a strange way (estrangement is an alternate translation of this term) that challenges its conventional understanding. Using examples from Leo Tolstoy‘s prose, Shklovsky shows how this technique helps to create a much more nuanced and fresh outlook on the world:  Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one‘s wife, and the fear of war… And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known.49                                                   46 On the Soviet avant-gardist debates about the relationship between things and representational techniques see Serguei Oushakine, ―‗Ne vzletevshiie samolioty mechty‘: O pokolenii formalnogo metoda,‖ in Serguei Oushakine, ed., Formalnyi metod: Antologiia russkogo modernizma. Tom 1 (Moscow, Yekaterinburg: Kabinetnyi uchenyi, 2016), 1–14.  47 Viktor Shklovsky, ―Kuda shagaiet Dziga Vertov?‖ in Oushakine, ed., Formalnyi metod, 194. 48 Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). The comparison belongs to Serguei Oushakine: Oushakine, ―‗Ne vzletevshiie samolioty‘,‖ 12. 49 Viktor Shklovsky, ―Art as Technique,‖ in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, ed. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), 12. 15  What Shklovsky writes for art is applicable to social analysis as well. For example, a common experience in many Soviet families in 1989 was watching teleséances of Soviet psychics Anatoly Kashpirovsky and Alan Chumak, who claimed paranormal abilities to remotely heal their audiences through the TV screen. Many explanations of this phenomenon refer pejoratively to obscurantism and the stupidity of Soviet television audiences. But what if we look at these teleséances as rituals taking place in the home environment and involving an interaction between material objects (TV sets, bottles and jars with fluids) and people‘s bodies? This act of defamiliarization complicates commonplace interpretations of these séances as a ―zombification‖ of Soviet television audiences and provokes questions as to what degree the Soviet television network exercised social power that cannot be reduced to the directives of the Communist party and government (chapter 6). Looking at Soviet things ―as if for the first time‖ can serve as a device to resist the ―habitualization‖ of historical knowledge and to challenge commonplace truths that too often disguise the politics of knowledge. What can come as a result might be a more nuanced and balanced understanding of the process of historical change in the late USSR.  The specificity of working with historical sources is that quite often their authors leave out details that seemed unimportant to them. Many of my steam engines are without identification numbers. Yet there is another important thing that I learned from both Tretiakov and Shklovsky: that the focus on objects should not be a goal in and of itself. Its goal is, instead, to make people ―appear before us in a new light and in [their] full worth.‖50 For this work, writing about the material environment of late socialism is a method and a technique to better understand the Soviet people: their selves, their social lives and their interactions with power.  Materiality, Heteroglossia and Soviet Selfhood In the previous section I mentioned that since the turn of the 2000s, materiality has become an increasingly important category of academic research, offering new                                                  50 Tretiakov, ―The Biography of the Object,‖ 62. 16  epistemologies, ontologies and political agendas. Among historians, the materialist turn has challenged anthropocentric views of historical processes and offered interpretative frameworks in which things and matter are treated as capable of facilitating historical change, rather than being simply passive objects of human will. The history of science and technology was quick to acknowledge that objects were instrumental in the process of scientific and technological change;51 social and cultural histories soon followed, interpreting humans and objects as co-participants of the historical process.52 The response to this material turn in the field of Soviet history was uneven: while studies of the early Soviet period produced novel research which inspired materiality studies of other regions and periods,53 historical inquiries into the role of material objects in late Soviet socio-cultural change were more limited. Studies of consumption54 and housing55 in the post-Stalinist era have enriched our knowledge of its material world, but their overall emphasis is on official politics, and they employ a predominantly top-down                                                  51 Bruno Latour and Stève Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts (Princeton University Press, 1986); Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987); M. Norton Wise, ―Mediating Machines,‖ Science in Context 2 (1988), 77–113. 52 Leora Auslander et al., ‗AHR Conversation: Historians and the Study of Material Culture‘, The American Historical Review 114, no. 5 (1 December 2009): 1355–1404. 53 Victor Buchli, An Archaeology of Socialism (Oxford: Berg, 2000); Nikolai V. Ssorin-Chaikov and Olga Sosnina, eds., Dary Vozhdiam = Gifts to Soviet Leaders (Moskva: Pinakoteka, 2006); Christina Kiaer, Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism (Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 2008); Emma Widdis, ―Sew Yourself Soviet: The Pleasures of Texture in the Machine Age,‖ Marina Balina and Evgeny Dobrenko, eds., Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style (London; New York: Anthem Press, 2011), 115–132; Emma Widdis, ―Faktura: Depth and Surface in Early Soviet Set Design,‖ Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3, no. 1 (2009): 5–32. 54 Susan E. Reid, ―Cold War in the Kitchen: Gender and the De-Stalinization of Consumer Taste in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev,‖ Slavic Review 61, no. 2 (2002): 211–252; Susan E. Reid, ―Khrushchev Modern: Agency and Modernization in the Soviet Home,‖ Cahiers du monde russe 47, no. 1/2 (2006): 227–68; Susan E. Reid, ―Who Will Beat Whom? Soviet Popular Reception of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959,‖ Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 9, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 855–904; Lewis H Siegelbaum, Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008); Natalya Chernyshova, Soviet Consumer Culture in the Brezhnev Era (London: Routledge, 2013). 55 Christine Varga-Harris, ―Forging Citizenship on the Home Front: Reviving the Socialist Contract and Constructing Soviet Identity During the Thaw,‖ in The Dilemmas of De-Stalinization: Negotiating Cultural and Social Change in the Khrushchev Era, ed. Polly Jones (London: Routledge, 2006), 101–16; Lynne Attwood, Gender and Housing in Soviet Russia: Private Life in a Public Space (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010); Mark B. Smith, Property of Communists: The Urban Housing Program from Stalin to Khrushchev (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2010); Steven E. Harris, Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin (Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Md: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). 17  approach to history. Their authors emphasize the international aspects of both Soviet consumption and housing, placing them in the framework of Cold War confrontation. The favourite story in the studies of both Soviet consumption and housing is the so-called 1959 ―kitchen debate,‖ when Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev confronted each other at the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow and engaged in an argument about whether consumer goods, rather than nuclear weapons, should serve as a measure of progress. The focus of these works is primarily on Soviet consumption and housing as state projects with the corresponding competitive and didactic implications: consumption as a measure of socialist progress, housing as enlightenment, and vice versa.  Studies of materiality in the late USSR have thus been an integral part of the much bigger and more traditional scholarly field: studies of official Soviet politics. This is reflected, in particular, in the titles of works on Soviet consumption and housing, as most of them use the names of Soviet political leaders for purposes of periodization. Overall, these studies have created one of the most dynamically developing fields in the history of the post-Stalinist era: the problem of socialism as a form of modernity and of the specific ways in which it was materialized in socialist objects and embodied in socialist subjects. They have immensely contributed to our understanding of state politics in late socialist societies. The reverse side of this tendency is that the scholarship of consumption and housing in the late USSR is only marginally interested in social autonomy and the agency of Soviet things and space. The latter are represented as the medium that the Soviet authorities used to shape modern, disciplined and cultured citizens. Yet this medium had its own message that too often interfered with what the Soviet authorities wanted it to deliver.  Writing about and from the perspective of elemental materialism in the late USSR offers an opportunity to trace and describe the social power of things, especially their relationship with Soviet selfhood. While the representational aspect of Soviet material culture (socialist modernity made manifest) is important for my research, my dissertation also aims to contribute to another important field of historiography of the Soviet Union: 18  studies of Soviet subjectivity and selfhood. By subjectivity, I understand the ideological construction of individuality – a subject as an effect of the work of structures of power. By selfhood, in turn, I understand the personal and cultural misrecognition of one‘s bodily, emotional and discursive heterogeneity and fragmentariness – misrecognized as the unity of the self. 56 Starting with Stephen Kotkin‘s Magnetic Mountain,57 the questions of how the Soviet state fashioned its citizens into subjects, and how Soviet people embraced and questioned the dominant paradigms of selfhood, and designed their own ways of self-fashioning, have been addressed by such scholars as Oleg Kharkhordin,58 Jochen Hellbeck,59 Igal Halfin,60 Alexei Yurchak,61 Emma Widdis,62 Lilya Kaganovsky,63 Serguei Oushakine,64 Anna Krylova,65 Evgeny Dobrenko,66 Anatoly Pinsky67 and others. This burgeoning scholarship also generated a vibrant discussion of                                                  56 This understanding is based on Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault: Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Hogarth Press, 1977); Louis Althusser, ―Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation),‖ in Lenin and philosophy, and other essays, by Louis Althusser (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971), 127–93; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977). 57 Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995). 58 Oleg Kharkhordin, The Collective and the Individual in Russia: A Study of Practices (Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1999). 59 Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary under Stalin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006). 60 Igal Halfin, Terror in My Soul: Communist Autobiographies on Trial (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003); Igal Halfin, Red Autobiographies: Initiating the Bolshevik Self (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011). 61 Alexei Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). 62 Emma Widdis, ―Socialist Senses: Film and the Creation of Soviet Subjectivity,‖ Slavic Review 71, no. 3 (October 2012): 590–618. 63 Lilya Kaganovsky, How the Soviet Man Was Unmade: Cultural Fantasy and Male Subjectivity Under Stalin (Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). 64 Serguei Oushakine, ―The Terrifying Mimicry of Samizdat,‖ Public Culture 13, no. 2 (2001): 191–214. 65 Anna Krylova, ―The Tenacious Liberal Subject in Soviet Studies,‖ Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 1, no. 1 (2000): 119–46; Anna Krylova, ―Soviet Modernity: Stephen Kotkin and the Bolshevik Predicament,‖ Contemporary European History 23, no. 2 (May 2014): 167–92. 66 Evgeny Dobrenko, The Making of the State Reader: Social and Aesthetic Contexts of the Reception of Soviet Literature (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997). 67 Anatoly Pinsky, ―The Diaristic Form and Subjectivity under Khrushchev,‖ Slavic Review 73, no. 4 (December 1, 2014): 805–27. 19  what it means to study subjectivity and selfhood in the Soviet context.68 Historical studies of subjectivity and selfhood is one of the fields in which the current historiography of the USSR is at the forefront of history as an academic discipline. These studies operate within the general postmodern scheme of a decentered and fragmented subject, recognize that any historical form of selfhood is unstable and always requires work to maintain it, for example, through writing or rituals, and identify subjectivation as a form and effect of power.  While particular methods, techniques and objects of research in the scholarship of Soviet selfhood and subjectivity vary from scholar to scholar, the general modus vivendi in this field is logocentrism.69 In studies of the post-Stalinist period, one particular and influential example is Alexei Yurchak‘s Everything Was Forever until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. Yurchak draws on J. L. Austin and Judith Butler to build a discursive model of the late socialist selfhood which reproduces itself through the repetition of certain speech acts. His main argument is that the people of late socialism combined the mastery of performance of the Soviet authoritative language with trickster skills to employ official language forms to express new meanings. It was this combination that, according to Yurchak, constituted the historical specificity of ―the last Soviet generation.‖70  This dissertation employs the same conceptual model of selfhood as a fragmented, unstable and performative phenomenon, and the problem of language (as structure) and speech (as performative acts) in constituting Soviet subjects is immensely important for my argument. After all, when I discuss elemental materialism as a cultural recognition of the power of things, I deal with the cultural logic of late socialism that became manifest                                                  68 Igal Halfin and Jochen Hellbeck, ―Rethinking the Stalinist Subject: Stephen Kotkin‘s ‗Magnetic Mountain‘ and the State of Soviet Historical Studies,‖ Jahrbücher Für Geschichte Osteuropas, Neue Folge, 44, no. 3 (January 1, 1996): 456–63; Eric Naiman, ―On Soviet Subjects and the Scholars Who Make Them,‖ The Russian Review 60, no. 3 (July 1, 2001): 307–15; Aleksandr Etkind, ―Soviet Subjectivity: Torture for the Sake of Salvation?,‖ Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 6, no. 1 (2005): 171–86; Choi Chatterjee and Karen Petrone, ―Models of Selfhood and Subjectivity: The Soviet Case in Historical Perspective,‖ Slavic Review 67, no. 4 (December 1, 2008): 967–86. 69 The works of Emma Widdis and Lilya Kaganovsky mentioned above are two important exceptions, but both address the Stalinist period.  70 Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, 21–24, 295. 20  in its discursive production. But this is where I also divert from many of the studies of Soviet subjectivity and selfhood. I treat the discursive field of late socialism as a heteroglossia, a term that I borrow from Mikhail Bakhtin to denote the multitude of co-existing cultural languages.71 My main argument in Chapter 1 is that elemental materialism became reflected in the language of Soviet productivism, which, in turn, was just one cultural language (or, in terms of Michel Foucault, one of many discursive formations) in the discursive complexity of late Soviet culture.  Bakhtin stressed the social nature of heteroglossia as ―a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships (always more or less dialogized).‖72 In the late socialist era, this multiplicity possibly found its most clear manifestation in the poetry and performance of Vladimir Vysotsky (1938–1980), one of the most famous cultural figures in the USSR.73 Vysotsky was famous simultaneously for his criminal songs, romantic ballads (such as those about mountain climbing), dissident songs (―Wolf Hunt‖), patriotic songs about World War II, poems that parodied official discourses, and translations from other cultures (the musical ―Alice in Wonderland‖). Any straightforward attempt at answering the question of who the speaking subject of Vysotsky‘s poetry is would immediately transform into a quantitative enterprise (how many subjects?). Social heteroglossia immerses speaking subjects into a mix of discourses, each of which constitutes them in a certain way. This discursive heterogeneity of late socialism produced a cultural milieu in which being a Soviet person could be associated with multiple ―doings,‖ to use Harvey Sacks‘s phrase.74 Vysotsky‘s                                                  71 Mikhail Bakhtin, ―Discourse in the Novel,‖ in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, by Mikhail Bakhtin, ed. Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), 259–422. 72 Ibid., 263. Bakhtin was primarily interested in the study of the novel as a genre, but his specific interest to the novel grew from his general interest in cultural polyphony: ―The novel… makes of the internal stratification of language, of its social heteroglossia and the variety of individual voices in it, the prerequisite for authentic novelistic prose‖ (Ibid., 264.).  73 In 2008, Vysotsky was voted in the top 50 in Name of Russia, a Russia TV channel‘s project modelled after BBC‘s 100 Greatest Britons (ranking was based on television and Internet polls) and aimed to identify the most famous historical personality in Russia. In the early stage of the project, Vysotsky‘s name was second to only Joseph Stalin. See Svetlana Bocharova, ―Zemlia to imeni Stalin,‖ Gazeta.Ru, 7 July 2008,, accessed 5 July 2015.  74 Harvey Sacks, ―On Doing ‗Being Ordinary‘,‖ in John Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage (eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 413–429. 21  talent was, among other things, in the stylization of various Soviet discourses for the lyrics of his songs. Official discourse, in turn, is always seeking to suppress heteroglossia; Bakhtin spoke of ―generative forces of linguistic life, forces that struggle to overcome the heteroglossia of language, forces that unite and centralize verbal-ideological thought…‖75 Igal Halfin and Jochen Hellbeck described exactly this phenomenon in their studies of Soviet autobiographies and diaries, respectively: one‘s appropriation of the official Stalinist discourse which, on a practical level, translates into the most vigorous self-fashioning work to make oneself into a loyal and useful Communist subject.76 Yet while the official discourse hierarchically structures social heteroglossia, it is never able to fully suppress ―the multiplicity of social voices.‖ This is what Judith Butler emphasized when she wrote that ―inadvertently produced discursive complexity undermines the teleological aims of normalization.‖77 If the subject is ―a linguistic category, a place-holder, a structure in formation‖ and ―the linguistic condition of its existence and agency,‖ that is, if the subject works as an abstract symbolic site that an individual occupies in the course of subjectivation,78 then the multiple cultural languages of late socialism could not but provide various, sometimes directly conflicting trajectories of subjectivation and, consequently, diverse means and strategies of expressing and performing one‘s Soviet self.  Scholarship of the material turn as well as the attentiveness of Soviet official documents to interactions between people and their material environment – the observation with which I started my dissertation – suggest that this picture is even more complex. People‘s selves are always a result of material, in addition to linguistic, production. Viktor Shklovsky‘s personal involvement in the Russian revolution, when he commanded a squadron of armoured cars during the February 1917 overthrow of the Tsar, made him particularly sensitive to this fact:                                                   75 Bakhtin, ―Discourse in the Novel,‖ 270–271. 76 Halfin, Terror in My Soul; Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind; Halfin, Red Autobiographies. 77 Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997), 93. 78 Ibid., 9–10. 22  It is the machine that changes the man more than anything else… Subways, cranes and cars are human prostheses… Drivers are measured by the horsepower of the engines they operate. An engine of more than forty horsepower annihilates the old morality… We should not forget the car‘s contribution to the revolution… You, cars, sloshed the revolution like foam into the city [of Petrograd].79   All these insights suggest that a historical description of Soviet selfhood as a list of immanently Soviet features or as a phenomenon derived exclusively from language is an a priori incomplete and particular enterprise. It is, perhaps, more productive to understand such a reconstruction as a description of repetitive, culturally reproducible and materially specific situations, in which the people of late socialism recognized themselves as Soviet persons. This self-recognition was, of course, never complete, but had to be performed again and again in a never-ending process of responding to power‘s incessant calling of its subjects into social being. To rephrase it in Michel Foucault‘s terminology, the understanding of Soviet selfhood that I want to suggest in this dissertation implies a description of specific historical conditions – in their materiality, affectivity and, of course, discursive framing:  I don‘t believe the problem can be solved by historicising the subject as posited by the phenomenologists, fabricating a subject that evolves through the course of history. One has to dispense with the constituent subject, to get rid of the subject itself, that‘s to say, to arrive at an analysis which can account for the constitution of the subject within a historical framework. And this is what I would call genealogy, that is, a form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects etc. without having to make reference to a subject which is either transcendental in relation to the field of events or runs in its empty sameness throughout history.80                                                   79 Viktor Shklovsky, ―Zoo, ili Pisma ne o liubvi,‖ in Zhili-byli, by Viktor Shklovsky (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel, 1964), 130–131. 80 Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings, 1972–1977. Ed. by Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), 117. 23  For Foucault‘s historical study of subjectivity, domains of objects are equally as important as discourses and knowledge; not surprisingly, his Discipline and Punish is preoccupied with the modern ―set of material elements and techniques that serve as weapons, relays, communication routes and supports for the power‖ to subjugate humans.81 Indeed, given the social vitality of objects and their potential to act as a politically disruptive force (―We should not forget the car‘s contribution to the revolution‖), it is only natural that any form of power seeks to materialize itself. For Louis Althusser, this was the essence of the state‘s ideological apparatuses:   [An individual‘s] ideas are his material actions inserted into material practices governed by material rituals which are themselves defined by the material ideological apparatus from which derive the ideas of that subject… [T]he subject acts insofar as he is acted by the following system (set out in the order of its real determination): ideology existing in a material ideological apparatus, prescribing material practices governed by a material ritual, which practices exist in the material actions of a subject acting in all consciousness according to his belief.82  This dissertation is, therefore, about the objectification of both Soviet selfhood and power, because the social existence of one was impossible without another. The material world of late socialism could repeatedly fail the authorities in their attempts at its rational transformation, and officials and intellectuals could be genuinely scared by affective assemblages of Soviet people and objects that exercised unexpected and potentially disruptive social agency. Yet Soviet materiality could not provide any space that was continuously autonomous from power structures. In chapter 5, for example, I show how Soviet bodybuilders were excluded from the official sport system and forced to occupy the basements of apartment blocks, where they exercised semi-legally and were subject to persistent criticism in the Soviet press. Then in the late 1980s some of them came out from their basement gyms to perform as Team USSR, while others beat-up punks,                                                  81 Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 28. 82 Althusser, ―Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation),‖ 169–170. 24  hippies, metalheads, and similar youth who dressed and behaved in conspicuously Western, non-Soviet manners. The marginal location of bodybuilders in the Soviet social space was not translated into social marginality – quite the opposite, the Soviet basement gym revealed an ability to produce citizens loyal to the regime even in situations where the regime misrecognized this loyalty as a threat and opposed it through its sport officials.  In the end, one of the most important questions of my research is why Soviet meanings proved so resistant to the political and cultural changes related to the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Or, put differently: why did post-Soviet social and cultural structures so often resemble their Soviet predecessors? If the succession of economic and socio-political changes caused by perestroika, liberalization and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet state was so radical, then what is it that makes contemporary Russian society of the 2000s and 2010s again and again reproduce the cultural and political forms that it inherited from its Soviet past? But maybe this question should be rephrased in a radical way. Perhaps, it is actually the crisis of conventional forms of describing post-Soviet societies that forces both participants and observers of the recent political changes in Russia to interpret it as a reincarnation of the late USSR? After all, Karl Marx‘s famous saying in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon that ―history repeats itself… first as tragedy, then as farce‖ draws from the analysis which shows that it is not socio-economic structures that remained unchanged (―repeated themselves‖) from the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte to that of his nephew – they actually changed. What lagged behind were political and cultural forms that provided Louis-Napoleon with an interpretative framework to mobilize French public opinion in his favour.83 Could it be that the persistence of Soviet meanings, in a similar fashion, is not an intrinsic property of modern post-Soviet states and societies, but rather an artefact of politics – including the politics of knowledge and representation? Thinking about it with and through Soviet elemental materialism might                                                  83 Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. (New York: International Pub., 1981). 25  provide some insights on the latter question, and I explore it in the concluding sections of my chapters.   Material Coordinates of the Soviet Self In order to investigate the tenacious, yet elusive link between Soviet materiality and selfhood, my dissertation looks at different ways in which material objects of late socialism came to embody and negotiate different and often contrasting social understandings and techniques of time and space in the final three decades of the Soviet Union. I focus on those material objects which, in the specific late Soviet historical context, pushed Soviet people to occupy different positions vis-à-vis historical process and social space. In other words, I am interested in the objects that served as temporal and spatial coordinates in Soviet society, because it was at the center of these coordinates that Soviet people found their selfhood. This approach determines the structure and composition of my dissertation. The first three chapters explore the link between material objects and the different temporalities of post-Stalinist Soviet society. In Chapter 1, I look at the productivist language of late socialism as a discursive framework which inspired and produced Soviet elemental materialism and was itself inspired and reproduced by it. Productivist language linked a vision of the grand Soviet future with technological objects and sought a rational social organization along industrial production and scientific progress. It abducted the imagery of Soviet factories, machines, vehicles and space rockets, immersed it into the hermetic space of visual and textual representations, and used it to secure, for the Soviet symbolic order, the position of the USSR at the cutting edge of technological progress. In this discourse, technologies and technological objects secured the possession of the present and future of human history for Soviet society, as well as ensured the superiority of the USSR in its competition with the Western bloc. The perceived might and transformative agency of Soviet technological objects made them affective for the Soviet public and they became translated into distinctive discursive practices – vernaculars of the Soviet 26  techno-utopianism – that sought to transform the Soviet material world, but in fact represented rigorous forms of self-making. Chapter 2 explores the scale model hobby in the USSR, focusing on models as objects that made manifest the historical imagination inherent in Soviet techno-politics. Models, especially when assembled in collections, challenged Marxist interpretations of history and helped structure Soviet historical imagination along national lines. As with their prototypes discussed in Chapter 1, scale models were also affective, but in a different way, due to their ability to showcase Soviet industrial and technological capabilities and to stand as a synecdoche for historical progress. The miniaturization of history in its particular technocentric and national understanding made models performative in J. L. Austin‘s understanding of this term, as they organized history into a spectacle for the educated and quintessentially male gaze of Soviet model enthusiasts. Chapter 3 turns to other types of material objects that were capable of performing history: timber buildings associated with cultural heritage and historical ship replicas. The last three decades of the Soviet Union evidenced a fast growth in the number of heritage sites related to traditional wooden architecture. This chapter examines the museumification of old architecture as a process that reflected and stimulated the nationalist understanding of Soviet history in its Romantic interpretation. In particular, I show how wood, a traditional building material, became a symbol that objectified the ―deep cultural roots‖ of Soviet society and served, due to its very texture, as a living witness of its authentic history.  The second part of my dissertation moves from the temporal to the spatial coordinates of Soviet selfhood. In Chapter 4, I look at the mass housing program launched by the Soviet leadership in the late 1950s from the perspective of urban planning. I am interested in the transit spaces of new socialist neighbourhoods, focusing in particular on the hallways of Soviet apartment blocks. Designed as utilitarian spaces for the fast passage of people from home to work to leisure activities, they revealed an ability to accumulate people and connect them in various ways, which Soviet authorities and intellectuals often interpreted as threatening to the public good. The Soviet hallway 27  established different affective regimes of Soviet people‘s interactions with urban space and provoked some of the hidden social conflicts of late socialism that became reflected in socially dominant structures of the Soviet self. Chapter 5 continues the exploration of the marginal urban spaces of late socialism, but from a slightly different perspective, as it examines the peculiar phenomenon of basement bodybuilding in the late USSR. Driven by the transnational imagery of the cultured male body as a muscular body, some Soviet people turned to weight-lifting equipment with its power to help achieve muscle gain. At the same time, the failure of Soviet bodybuilding to become part of the official sport system led to its social marginalization, which became reflected in social topography: most Soviet professional and amateur bodybuilders had to exercise in semi-legal, self-equipped gyms located, as a rule, in the basements of apartment blocks. While the Soviet press repeatedly denounced basement bodybuilding as, potentially or actually, a criminal activity, for most people who engaged in it, it was a form of acquiring strength, health, self-assurance, and – through it – social agency, which they interpreted as loyalty to the dominant symbolic and political order.  Finally, Chapter 6 investigates how the television set as a material object changed the Soviet domestic space and Soviet selfhood. I deliberately focus on the material form in addition to the content of television in order to argue that its very inclusion in the Soviet home instigated new forms of identity performances that cannot be reduced to the content of television programs, but can rather be traced to the physical nature of television as a medium of mass communication. Focusing, in particular, on the phenomenon of paranormal séances broadcast on Soviet television in 1989, this chapter explores the various ways in which Soviet television audiences discovered that the television set had a power over their bodies and selves, as well as looks at different forms of social reaction that this discovery caused in late Soviet culture.  This dissertation is based on a broad variety of published and unpublished sources. In order to combine both central and regional perspectives on my subject, I have done archival research in the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia (NARK after its 28  Russian acronym) in Petrozavodsk, the Central State Archive of St. Petersburg (TsGA SPb after its Russian acronym) and the Central State Archive of Historical and Political Documents of St. Petersburg (TsGAIPD SPb after its Russian acronym). Due to the broad scope of my research, I did not focus on one particular collection, but instead examined collections of documents of various official Soviet organizations, including local and regional cells and committees of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, governmental agencies and ministries, and public organizations such as housing committees and hobby groups based in Palaces of Young Pioneers. Not all of them were used in my thesis as it gradually shifted towards intellectual and material history, but this rich body of archival sources was extremely important, especially at the initial stage of my research, in helping me formulate my research questions. Other unpublished sources include oral history interviews and email correspondence with people who were engaged in the practices that I discuss in this dissertation.  Soviet periodicals are another major source of this work; given my focus on the material side of life in the USSR, I was particularly interested in amateur science and technical magazines such as Tekhnika-Molodiozhi [Technology to Youth], Modelist-Konstruktor [Modeler-Designer], Nauka i zhizn [Science and Life] and others. They combined top-down and bottom-up approaches to content creation, as their readers contributed many of the materials appearing in them. In addition, I used a large number of books published by central and regional Soviet presses. The postwar Soviet Union was covered by an extensive publishing network, which, in theory, was under the strict control of the Communist authorities. In practice, however, the sheer size of this network created a structural disjunction between its official – strategic – mandate to contribute to the socialist cause and the local – tactical – agendas of editors, managers, and authors of numerous Soviet presses who were engaged in their own dialogues and disputes. This was how books on such topics as bodybuilding, romantic nationalism, and even paranormal phenomena were published in the USSR. Treating these texts anthropologically, as sources into Soviet systems of meaning, helped me understand historical forms of interaction between Soviet society and its material world. 29  In the end, the main advantage of following Soviet objects in their passage through social space, in their interaction with people, and in their representation in texts and visual aesthetics is the opportunity to see society in its spontaneous forms. Some of these forms were influenced by dominant ideological narratives, some of them reflected the global experience of modernity and modernization, and yet others represented – in Vladimir Lenin‘s gloss – ―the instinctive, unconscious materialist standpoint‖84 adopted by Soviet society to deal with the unpredictable and resisting – but also flexible and manageable – materiality around them. By examining the interaction between Soviet people and things, this dissertation aims to show, albeit fragmentarily, how the material world of the late Soviet period shaped and influenced people‘s habitual choices, social trajectories, and imaginary aspirations.                                                     84 Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, 61. 30    Figure 1. An antenna of a ballistic missile early warning radar in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Photograph @ 2015 Eriks Bredovskis.  31  Chapter 1. The Soviet Man as a “Master over the Material World:” Techno-Utopian Visions of the Soviet Future  Our path: from a dawdling citizen through the poetry of the machine to the perfect electric man. Revealing the souls of machines, enthusing the worker with the lathe, the peasant with the tractor, the driver with his engine, – we bring creative joy to every mechanical labour, we join men with machines, we educated the new men.   Dziga Vertov, We: Variant of a Manifesto1  The émigré Soviet historian and philosopher Mikhail Heller titled his 1985 historical inquiry into ―the formation of Soviet man‖ as Cogs in the Wheel.2 This mechanistic metaphor aimed to underline Heller‘s main argument that the entire course of Soviet history was shaped by ―a planned, concentrated and all-encompassing attack of unparalleled intensity‖ carried out by the Soviet state in order to ―turn human beings into cogs.‖3 Heller‘s main argument was that the entire Communist leadership, from Vladimir Lenin to Konstantin Chernenko, the Soviet leader at the time he wrote Cogs in the Wheel, intentionally orchestrated this manufacturing process. It was from this perspective that Heller described ―the formation of Soviet man‖ as a thoroughly designed project which had been meticulously implemented since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime; on                                                  1 Dziga Vertov, We, originally published in 1922, here quoted from: Richard Taylor, The Politics of the Soviet Cinema 1917–1929 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 125. 2 Mikhail Geller, Mashina i vintiki: Istoriia formirovaniia sovetskogo cheloveka (London: Overseas Publication Interchange Ltd, 1985); English translation: Mikhail Heller, Cogs in the Wheel: The Formation of Soviet Man (New York: Knopf, 1988).  3 Heller, Cogs in the Wheel, 259–261.  32  one occasion he referred to the Communist leadership as ―the creator‖ and Soviet state institutions as ―tools,‖ bringing demiurgic implications into his historical explanation.4 The historical imagination in Cogs in the Wheel is a good illustration of what Jacques Derrida called a secrecy effect,5 that is, a cultural tendency to explain political developments as the result of secret planning by the government and, consequently, to emplot and write history as the uncovering of this planning.6 This conspiratorial form of historical imagination not only disregards historical transformation in Soviet Russia over the course of seventy years, but is also counterfactual. Heller manipulated some of his sources when, for example, he attributed to Stalin a statement that ―Soviet man should consider himself a mere ‗cog‘ in the gigantic wheel of the Soviet state,‖ or when he claimed that the term ―cogs‖ was commonly used by another Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev.7 The only time Stalin used this metaphor, according to verifiable historical evidence, was to emphasize the indispensability, rather than the interchangeability, of Soviet people: ―If only one of these ‗cogs‘ gets loose, all is finished.‖8 In addition, Stalin‘s use of the metaphor of machine was that of a tool, rather than an all-absorbing entity: in his lectures at Sverdlovsk University titled ―The Foundations of Leninism,‖ Stalin repeated commonplace Marxist views that ―[t]he state is a machine in the hands of the ruling class…‖9 Neither did Khrushchev use the term ―cogs‖ in his speech at the 22nd                                                  4 Ibid., 89. Heller‘s section on the Soviet language is introduced with the opening line from the Gospel of John (John 1:1): ―In the beginning was the Word,‖ which, coupled with his argument that Soviet leaders, in particular Vladimir Lenin, were the authors of the new Soviet language, adds to these demiurgic implications.  5 Jacques Derrida, ―‗To Do Justice to Freud‘: The History of Madness in the Age of Psychoanalysis,‖ trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas, Critical Inquiry 20, no. 2 (January 1, 1994): 245. 6 Karl Popper, ―The Conspiracy Theory of Society,‖ in Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate, ed. David Coady (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2006), 13–16; Eva Horn, The Secret War: Treason, Espionage, and Modern Fiction, trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press, 2013), 82–100.  7 Heller, Cogs in the Wheel, 6. 8 Iosif Stalin, Sochineniia, Vol. 15 (Moscow: Pisatel, 1997), 232. It was the speech at the victory celebration in the Kremlin on June 25, 1945.  9 Josef Stalin, Works, Vol. 6 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1953), 117. Stalin‘s phrase of state as as ―machine in the hands of the ruling class‖ is a direct quotation from Lenin‘s 1919 lecture delivered at the same Sverdlovsk University and titled ―The State‖: ―The state is a machine for maintaining the rule of one class over another.‖ Vladimir Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1971), 250. 33  Party Congress, as Heller implies,10 or elsewhere in officially published speeches or writings.11 Not only was the metaphor of people as ―cogs in the wheel‖ extremely rare in Soviet official language, but just the reverse; the official Soviet writing on the ―new Soviet man‖ – those texts that became the foundations of Soviet pedagogy, cultural policies or quotidian party work – emphasized that the socialist state ―not only provided working masses with an unlimited access to spiritual wealth, but also made them immediate creators of culture.‖12 The official Soviet ideal of man was that of an ―all-round and harmoniously developed person… that combines spiritual wealth, moral purity and physical perfection.‖13 According to the main ideologist of the late Soviet era Mikhail Suslov, ―the formation of the Soviet person‖ was possible only as a result of ―creative work by and practical cooperation between philosophers and psychologists, historians and sociologists, jurists and pedagogues, specialists in the fields of ethics, aesthetics, literature and art.‖14 As such, it was much closer to the Renaissance ideal of the all-round person, ―mastering the passions within himself and making out of his own life a work of art,‖ as Slavoj  ižek defined it,15 rather than the dystopian vision of people in the totalitarian society of George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is the most quoted book in Cogs in the Wheel. Heller‘s attempt to prove that Soviet leaders were engaged in an intentional and planned campaign of dehumanizing the Soviet population seems especially fallacious if one takes into account the theory and practice of Soviet education                                                  10 Nikita Khrushchev, ―O Programme Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. Doklad tovarishcha Khrushcheva,‖ XXII Siezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. Stenograficheskii otchet. Vol. 1 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1962), 148–257. Heller quoted a phrase from p. 167 as Khrushchev‘s alleged definition of ―cogs;‖ it was just pure fabrication: Heller, Cogs in the Wheel, 6. 11 The only reported use of this metaphor by Khrushchev was at a meeting with Soviet writers and artists in May 1963, the minutes of which were reproduced in an underground journal two decades later: SSSR, Vnutreniie protivorechiia, 6 (1982): 192.  12 Leonid Brezhnev, ―Otchyotnyi doklad TsK KPSS XXIV siezdu KPSS,‖ in XXIV siezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. 30 marta – 9 apr. 1971 g. Stenogr. otchet. V 2-kh t. T. 1 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1971), 114. 13 ―1961 Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,‖ in Programmy i ustavy KPSS (Moscow: Politizdat, 1969), 199.  14 Mikhail Suslov, ―Vysokoie priznanie i otvetstvennost,‖ in KPSS o formirovanii novogo cheloveka. Sbornik dokumentov i materialov (1965–1981) (Moscow: Politizdat, 1982), 619. 15 Slavoj  ižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London; New York: Verso, 2008), xxiv. 34  with its emphasis on the development of creative skills among students or the ultimate rejection of Anton Makarenko‘s militarized approach to education.16 While Soviet ideologists openly acknowledged that the making of the new Soviet person was a vital part of their political agenda, a ―cog‖ is hardly a suitable term to describe the official understanding of an ideal Communist personality.  The easiest way to deal with this contradiction would be to dismiss Heller‘s account as a purely political statement aimed at discrediting Soviet historical experience. Instead, I want to suggest that Cogs in the Wheel represents an interesting entry point to discuss Soviet heteroglossia – that is is, the discursive complexity of late Soviet culture – as a historical phenomenon. Heller operates with two ostensibly different discursive regimes of Soviet culture, making use of one to criticize the other. His account of Soviet society is framed in concepts and arguments typical for a Marxist critique of capitalist societies in which the machine stood for the highest form of alienation and cogs for people alienated from humanity17 and which was a standard critique of capitalism in Soviet political philosophy.18 A graduate of the Faculty of History of Moscow State University, Heller was deeply immersed in this Marxist critique of capitalism. It is therefore hardly surprising that he employed its concepts and imagery to represent the Soviet state as a                                                  16 Lev Vygotsky‘s influence, in particular, was notable throughout the entire Soviet period, both through his own writings and the work of his former students such as Aleksei Leontiev, Alexander Luria or Lidiia Bozhovich, who became prominent psychologists and theorists of education in the USSR. See Alex Kozulin, ―The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky, His Disciples and Critics,‖ in American Psychologist 41, no. 3 (1986): 264–274. Heller claimed that Makarenko‘s theories of education reflected Soviet attempts at dehumanizing education par excellence (Heller, Cogs in the Wheel, 124); what he however failed to mention was a sharp criticism of his pedagogy by Nadezhda Krupskaya, as well as by Soviet education officials whom Makarenko himself quoted as saying that ―The proposed [by Makarenko] system of educational process is a non-Soviet system‖: Anton Makarenko, Sobraniie sochinenii v 5 tomakh. Tom 2 (Moscow: Pravda, 1971), 228. 17 Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, vol. II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 216; Jean-François Lyotard, The Inhuman: Reflections on Time (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991).  18 Klara Shvartsman, Etika… bez morali (kritika sovremennykh burzhuaznykh eticheskikh teorii) (Moscow: Mysl, 1964); Vasilii Gromeka, Nauchno-tekhnicheskaia revoliutsiia i sovremennyi kapitalizm (Moscow: Politizdat, 1976). 35  dehumanizing machine and Soviet people as cogs,19 thus turning the Soviet authoritative language (with its critique of capitalism) against the source of its production.20  The second discursive regime that was targeted for criticism in Cogs in the Wheel is what I hereafter call the productivist language of Soviet culture. In many cases, when Heller claimed to engage with the facts of the Soviet socio-political reality, he actually criticized facts of the language – that is, statements and documents that were produced as meaningful in this particular discursive regime. In one case, Heller quotes a productivist slogan of Sergey Tretiakov, a prominent figure of the Soviet avant-garde, who advocated that literature and art should acquire a practical role in social transformation: ―The worker in art must stand side by side with the scientist as a psycho-engineer and a psycho-constructor.‖ This, coupled with his quoting of Stalin‘s famous reference to Soviet writers as ―engineers of human souls,‖21 gave Heller a rationale to claim that the entire Soviet history, from the very moment the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, was an immense project of social engineering aimed at creating a society which would work like a machine, and would be accordingly easily manageable. Heller‘s was an analysis that extrapolated one particular discourse to the entirety of Soviet history. It is by disguising the productivist language of Soviet culture as the Soviet social reality that Heller produced a plausible – despite its ahistoricity and counterfactuality – genealogy of Soviet man. While Heller is undeniably biased and often inaccurate in his interpretations of Soviet history, his account provides one important observation: together with social or political facts, he also criticizes a wide-spread tendency of Soviet officials and intelligentsia to define individual and collective selves through things.  This chapter examines the relationship between the productivist language of ―the machine and the cogs‖ (the original Russian title of Heller‘s book) and the technologies of the self that it invoked in late Soviet society. I examine here how this language                                                  19 For an earlier Marxist critique of the Soviet regime which employed similar imagery of the Soviet state as a dehumanizing machine turning people into cogs, see Herbert Marcuse, Soviet Marxism: A Critical Study (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), 84–85. 20 On the language of socialist dissidents as the inverted official language, see Anna Wierzbicka, ―Antitotalitarian Language in Poland: Some Mechanisms of Linguistic Self-Defense,‖ Language in Society 19, no. 1 (March 1, 1990): 1–59; Oushakine, ―The Terrifying Mimicry of Samizdat.‖ 21 Heller, Cogs in the Wheel, 217. 36  provided Soviet society with a set of metaphors and concepts to understand the course of human history as the process of technological change as well as provoked widely shared cultural fantasies of total control over the material world. It is the least material of my chapters, as – unlike my following chapters – it is not based on a particular object or material, but is important for my understanding of how human-matter interactions were conceptualized and reflected in the cultural logic of late socialism. The ubiquitous character of the cultural language of productivism was noted by Serguei Oushakine, who suggested that the Soviet economy should be historically characterized as an economy of storage rather than of shortage. The overstocking of commodities – but also of the means of production – was not simply a sign of its ineffectiveness (an assessment which implies that surplus-oriented economic liberalism is taken as a universal economic model), but rather an indication of a different set of socio-economic rules and principles that produced the Soviet economy as a specific historical phenomenon. These rules and principles can be traced back to early Soviet theorists of industrial production like Aleksei Gastev22 and Alexander Bogdanov23 as well as to the avant-gardist ideas of Soviet Productivists such as Boris Arvatov who sought to modernize Soviet everyday life through a new industrial design.24 Dziga Vertov‘s writings and documentaries reflected both the ideology and the aesthetics of Soviet Productivism with machines acting as models for men and factories representing a superior form of the organization for social life. Whereas Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis (UFA, 1927) or Charlie Chaplin‘s Modern Times (United Artists, 1936) represented machines as dehumanizing and alienating people from society and from themselves, for Vertov machines had to show the ―path from a                                                  22 Aleksei K. Gastev, Kak nado rabotat’ (Moscow: Ekonomika, 1972), originally published in 1921. On Gastev, see Rolf Hellebust, Flesh to Metal: Soviet Literature and the Alchemy of Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003). 23 Alexander A. Bogdanov, Vseobshchaia organizatsionnaia nauka (tektologiia), 2 vols. (Moscow: Ekonomika, 1989), originally published in 1922. On Bogdanov, see Nikolai Krementsov, A Martian Stranded on Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011). 24 Boris Arvatov, ―Everyday Life and the Culture of the Thing (Toward the Formulation of the Question),‖ trans. Christina Kiaer, October 81 (Summer 1997): 119–128. On Arvatov and other Soviet Productivist theorists and practitioners, see Christina Kiaer, Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism (Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 2008). 37  dawdling citizen through the poetry of the machine to the perfect electric man.‖25 In his Enthusiasm: Symphony of Donbass (Ukrainfilm, 1930), machines orchestrated and choreographed the movement of people, transforming them from scattered individuals into a powerful collective; the factory became an art object that created new, perfectly socialist forms of social life.  The language of productivism with its tendency to imagine and organize society around machines was engaged in a complex relationship with economic processes and agents: it simultaneously described and constituted them. Despite its seemingly pragmatic and apolitical character, this language produced and was produced by the Soviet ideological order maintaining a specific ―representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real condition of existence,‖ in Louis Althusser‘s definition of ideology.26 As such, it was an authoritative (and officially sanctioned) discursive regime, but unlike the official language of Pravda or similar Soviet publications, its production was deregulated and delegated to individuals for whom ―speaking productivist‖ was in no way a ritualized activity, but rather provided the means of building and expressing their true ideals and visions of the future. In addition, the productivist language of Soviet culture had no particular centers of production: examples of productivist speak can be found from Nikita Khrushchev‘s memoir to Soviet popular magazines to specialized technical writing to grassroots pedagogic theories. Its seeming non-involvement with the language of official Soviet ideology entailed the misrecognition of the fact that productivist language immersed its speakers in fantasies of subdued material reality, ranked Soviet people in accordance to their relationship to the production process and mastery over things, and created moral panic when certain Soviet people engaged in relationships with presumably mean and unworthy objects instead of sublime ones.                                                   25 Quoted in Taylor, The Politics of the Soviet Cinema 1917–1929, 125. 26 Althusser, Louis. ―Ideological State Apparatuses,‖ Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Essays. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972, p. 163ff.  38  Machines as the Measure of Men The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a revival of the productivist language forged in the 1920s. When Nikita Khrushchev ruled out the inevitability of a military conflict between the socialist and capitalist blocs at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956, and instead suggested that socialism would out-compete capitalism peacefully,27 this placed Soviet technological objects into a very different plane of historicity in comparison to late Stalinism with its focus on the applied military use of technologies. For the officials and educational theorists of the post-Stalinist era, inspired by early Soviet techno-utopianism, the national mastery of technology was a way to secure the position of the USSR at the cutting edge of technological progress, a goal that inherently implied the possession of the present and future of human history.28 Soviet visual aesthetics were quick to reflect this changed relationship between Soviet people and technological objects.  Around the mid-1950s, Soviet illustrated magazines such as Ogoniok or Rabotnitsa underwent a notable shift in terms of their spatial poetics. Before, in the late Stalinist era, the dominant form of representing Soviet people in their imagery was to show them in visually closed spaces as parts of self-organized and self-sufficient collectives. Soviet illustrated magazines of the late 1940s and early 1950s placed multiple photos and pictures of school, college and university students, colleagues at the workplace or, more generally, people united by participation in a common activity (for example, elections).                                                  27 Nikita Khrushchev, ―Otchetnyi doklad TsK KPSS XX siezdu partii,‖ XX siezd KPSS. 14–25 fevralia 1956 g. Stenograficheskii otchet (Moscow: Politizdat, 1956), 34–36.  28 This belief found a reflection in an impressive body of writing on the role of Soviet youth in the ―scientific-technical revolution.‖ For an annotated bibliography, see V. G. Bylov and I. G. Minervin, eds., Molodiozh i nauchno-tekhnicheskii progress (Moscow: INION RAN, 1985). For scholarly discussion of these beliefs, see: Julian Cooper, ―The scientific and technical revolution in Soviet theory,‖ in Frederic Fleron, ed., Technology and Communist Culture: The Socio-Cultural Impact of Technology Under Socialism (New York: Praeger, 1977): 146-179; Harley Balzer, ―Education, Science and Technology,‖ in James Cracraft, ed., The Soviet Union Today: An Interpretive Guide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 233–243; Mark Lipovetsky, ―Traektorii ITR-diskursa,‖ Neprikosnovennyi zapas, no. 6 (2010): 213–230. Of course, this was not a uniquely Soviet feature. For the link between technical education and the visions of national development in other national contexts, see Gabrielle Hecht, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1998), 23–26; Andrew Hartman, Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 39  The idea of a panoptic collective was expressed in bodily positions, which were oriented to each other; there was usually a figure that acted as a leader, as a symbolic and physical centre of the collective groups; and such photos and pictures almost always had someone who was speaking while others listened carefully. Mutual gazes, an orientation towards each other, collective emotions shared by groups – all these constructed representations of Soviet collectives in late Stalinist illustrated magazines as a Panopticon where the composition of images implied that everyone could (and should) observe other members of the group and were in turn observed by them – not necessarily to watch for hidden enemies, but rather to reinforce each other‘s positive Soviet identities.29 On the level of visual representations, for any Soviet person there was only one Lacanian mirror – namely, another Soviet person.  Beginning in the mid-1950s, this trend underwent significant changes with a notable increase, in quantitative terms, of industrial scenes at the expense of group images at the focal points (cover and back pages as well as color inserts) of Soviet illustrated magazines. The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 and subsequent de-Stalinization reforms, greatly accelerated by Nikita Khrushchev‘s famous de-Stalinization speech at the 20th Party Congress in 1956, heralded a discursive shift in the ways Soviet official discourse sought to define its subjects. This discursive shift affected all spheres of cultural production, including illustrated magazines, in which representations of production came to symbolize the unstoppable movement towards Communism. Material objects related to the process of production became that new mirror which reflected a new, post-Stalinist Soviet subject on the level of visual representations (Figure 2).                                                    29 See a similar argument based on the analysis of socialist realism paintings in: Jan Plamper, ―The Spatial Poetics of the Personality Cult: Circles Around Stalin,‖ Dobrenko, Evgeny, and Eric Naiman (eds.). The Landscape of Stalinism: The Art and Ideology of Soviet Space (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), 19–50. On the building of postwar Soviet society as a process of self-containment within the Soviet Union‘s own borders, see also: Gorsuch, Anne, All this is your World. Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad after Stalin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 26–30. 40      Figure 2. People and material objects from the 1961 issues of Ogoniok, the leading Soviet illustrated magazine.30  The people represented on the cover images of the Soviet illustrated magazine Ogoniok, shown above, objectified their Soviet identities by interacting with the grand material world of production. The visible materiality of post-Stalinist Ogoniok amassed images of tools (e.g., a weaver‘s loom or a soldering iron in the first and thirds images, respectively), building equipment and sites (as in the second image), and machines (an Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop airliner in the fourth image). Like the fashion system of Western magazines described by Roland Barthes,31 these images of production, when placed in the hermetic and endlessly repeating space of a Soviet illustrated magazine, lost a concrete material connection between signifiers (images) and the signified (those exact people and places depicted on them), forming instead their own system of meanings. The actual functionality of any given tool in the images above was unimportant; what mattered was that they helped express ethnic and gender equality, the enthusiasm of the builders of a new socialist world, Soviet youth, experience, and professionalism. Once these technological objects were appropriated by Soviet visual aesthetics and stripped of their practical applicability and hence of their very materiality, they acquired a historicity not unlike those that German historian Reinhart Koselleck has identified in social and political concepts.                                                  30 From left to right: Ogoniok, no. 2 (1961): cover page; Ogoniok, no. 4 (1961): cover page; Ogoniok, no. 14 (1961): cover page; Ogoniok, no. 26 (1961): cover page. 31 Roland Barthes. The Fashion System. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983, originally published in 1967.  41  In his research on the history of concepts, Reinhart Koselleck pioneered an approach that aimed to overcome teleological understandings of history by identifying and interpreting different ―planes of historicity‖ in historical texts; that is, certain interpretations of the past, understandings of the present and, most importantly, visions of the future, which were encapsulated in the uses of social and political concepts. According to Koselleck, political debates and struggles over concepts were extremely important historically because it was not their lexical meaning that was at stake, but rather different visions of the future that opposing political groups invested in them.32 In a similar way, objects of production that were represented in post-Stalinist visual aesthetics encapsulated all three temporal dimensions: they emphasized the revolutionary enthusiasm of the 1920s and the First Five-Year Plan and silenced the experience of the panoptic Soviet society of the mid-1930s to the early 1950s;33 they interpreted the present as the time when the material basis for communism was being laid; and finally, they offered a vision of the future which promised communism as a result of unstoppable technical progress.  A strong cultural link forged in the Khrushchev‘s era between technological objects and their perceived historicity that went far beyond their actual functionality greatly affected cultural understandings of the socialist body and selfhood. In a kind of reversal of Protagoras, machines came to be the measure of socialist people. As the illustrations from Ogoniok above show, the visual aesthetics of this period routinely defined people through affective assemblages with technological objects. Introduced by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, the concept of the affective assemblage emphasizes the complexity of connections between people and objects in the production of social agency. Arguing against ontologies that interpret the social world as a hierarchically ordered structure of discrete elements, Deleuze and Guattari suggested that many, if not most, social                                                  32 Reinhart Koselleck, ―Modernity and the Planes of Historicity,‖ and ―Begriffsgeschichte and Social History,‖ in Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 9–25, 75–92. 33 See a similar argument as applied to the theater of this period in Stephen Bittner, The Many Lives of Khrushchev’s Thaw: Experience and Memory in Moscow’s Arbat (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 75–76. 42  phenomena cannot be reduced to their constituting elements. Instead, they should be treated in their complexity, as inseparable entities that are always something more than the sum of their components, and where social agency is derivative of their very linkage, a grouping that is inherently affective.34  The newly-found affectivity of Soviet machines, with their ability to define human bodies and selves, can be illustrated through notable changes in the aesthetics of gender after the mid-1950s – an aesthetics that sought to redefine the female body through its assemblages with technological objects. Beginning at that time, Soviet artists and writers working in the genres of popular science and science fiction created multiple representations of women taking part in the socialist conquest of outer space. These representations rejected Stalinist-era ideals of female domesticity, and extended women‘s physical abilities to the abilities of machines, of which women were depicted as equal operators with men.35 Women of such representations were consequently engaged in the socialist conquest of national, international and outer space, thereby overcoming all sorts of natural and social limits. For example, a 1961 painting by prominent Soviet artist Aleksandr Deineka, entitled Conquerors of Outer Space (Figure 3), conspicuously downplays the gender differentiation among the staff of an imagined Soviet space launch facility. With only one exception (a telescope observer), women are portrayed wearing unisex work clothes, and the posture of the central female figure is ostensibly utilitarian: she and her male co-worker act as add-ons to the rocket they are presumably assembling. Even compositionally, they repeat the shape of its tailplane. The focal objects of this painting are rockets: one of them occupies the central position in its composition, while another turns ―conquerors of outer space‖ into spectators observing its launch, and both displace the gaze of the painting‘s audience from female bodies, allowing for a brief cultural interruption of the conventional ―ways of seeing‖ in which ―men act and women                                                  34 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 4–8. 35 For a similar conflict between Stalinist and post-Stalinist understanding of the femininity in domestic (rather than outer) space see Victor Buchli, ―Khrushchev, Modernism, and the Fight against Petit-Bourgeois Consciousness in the Soviet Home,‖ Journal of Design History 10, no. 2 (January 1, 1997): 161–76. On the understanding of the femininity in Stalin‘s era see Vera Dunham, In Stalin’s Time: Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976). 43  appear.‖36 In the logic of this and numerous other representations of the socialist conquest of outer space, rockets and other similarly affective technological objects guaranteed gender equality by transforming Soviet people into laboring bodies and by fusing these bodies with machines.    Figure 3. Aleksandr Deineka, Conquerors of Outer Space, 1961.  The Soviet space program that triumphantly burst into the Soviet public consciousness with the launch of Sputnik-1 in October 1957 made rockets and other space technologies the most prominent objects for encapsulating the long historical time of socialism. Yet the socialist body-machine complex was not limited to them.37 As in the illustrations from Ogoniok (Figure 2), other technological objects possessed the ability to define people as proper socialist subjects. Writing for the Soviet youth magazine Smena (Next generation) in June 1956, several months after Khushchev‘s de-                                                 36 John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: BBC; Penguin Books, 1972), 47. 37 On the body-machine complex see Mark Seltzer, Bodies and Machines (New York: Routledge, 1992), 3–21. 44  Stalinization speech, a director of one Moscow‘s technical college appealed to Soviet youth:  Immense goals are set for the Soviet people in the Sixth Five-Year Plan [1956–1960]. In these years new types of machines, lathes, presses, devices and equipment will appear. Our factories will require thousands of highly qualified metal workers, millers, turners, engineers, and specialists of many other qualifications.38  Both rhetorically and ideologically, this appeal equated Sovietness (―for the Soviet people‖) with the mastery of technologies and called on Smena‘s readers to define their future professional selves as derivative of machines in order to secure uninterrupted socialist development (a reference to the Sixth Five-Year Plan). It was through this world of modern technological objects that official discourses created an image of Soviet society as a progressive, technocratic and industrialized nation comprised of rational socialist subjects. School education, mass media and the state network of hobby groups (kruzhki) promoted an obsession with these objects as a characteristic feature of the Soviet person. Popular scientific and technical writing mounted a discursive support of it, as in the following example from a technical magazine for amateur engineering and model design:  If you are seriously interested in space engineering and exploration, if you have chosen your life path from a model rocket to a spaceship – remember that this is a long and demanding path.39  In this particular example, as in the quote from Smena above, material objects – ―a model rocket‖ and ―a spaceship‖ – act as the reference points between which Soviet teenagers were encouraged to build their biographies as well as the building blocks from which socialism was to be constructed. Characteristic of the Soviet cultural language of                                                  38 B. Soskin, ―Doroga v zhizn,‖ Smena, no. 13 (1956): 15.  39 Yu. Stoliarov, ―Kosmos v rebiachih glazakh,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 7 (1978): 2. 45  productivism, these examples reveal its persistent tendency to imagine society around machines.  The examples above also bring to the surface a certain ethos inherent in the productivist language of Soviet culture regarding the interaction between Soviet people and their material environment. This ethos represented the Soviet person as a creative subject, a representative of the species homo creativus. Soviet ideology interpreted creativity as a necessary trait for a socialist personality. Starting with Lenin, who argued that ―vital, creative socialism is a creation of the popular masses themselves,‖40 Soviet philosophers, political writers and activists amassed writing in which they argued that an ability to create new meanings and new things was a characteristic feature of people living in a socialist society,41 while the Soviet press characterized manual labour with the same terms used to describe the creative activities of artists, poets and composers.42 This ideological definition of the Soviet subject as a ―creative‖ personality implied human mastery over the material world, and it is hardly surprisingly that, for example, Soviet technical magazines – one of the primary sites where productivist language was reproduced – appealed to their readers as the generation of ―creators and explorers.‖43  ―Creation‖ in the Soviet context implied a Promethean vision of the transformative human role in a world waiting to be transformed.44 This vision implied a particular version of the normative Soviet person as a self-aware, rational and free actor capable of manipulating and reconfiguring matter in any possible way. The technocratic,                                                  40 V. I. Lenin, Polnoie sobraniie sochinenii. Vol. 35 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1962), 57. 41 See examples of such writing in the 1970s and early 1980s: M. T. Iovchuk and L. N. Kogan (eds.), Dukhovnyi mir sovetskogo rabochego (Moscow: Mysl, 1972); D. M. Aptekman, Formirovaniie ateisticheskoi ubezhdennosti rabochego klassa v razvitom sotsialiticheskom obshchestve (Leningrad: Izd-vo LGU, 1979), esp. p. 27; T. I. Snegiriova, Dukhovnaia kultura razvitogo sotsialisticheskogo obshchestva (Moscow: Nauka, 1981), esp. pp. 125–127; N. D. Kosukhin, Tekhnicheskoie tvorchestvo rabochego klassa v SSSR (Moscow: Znanie, 1982). 42 Anna Paretskaya, ―A Middle Class without Capitalism? Socialist Ideology and Post-Collectivist Discourse in the Late-Soviet Era,‖ Neringa Klumbyté and Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (eds.). Soviet Society in the Era of Late Socialism, 1964–1985 (New York: Lexington books, 2013), 46–50. 43 ―Uchit‘ tvorchestvu!‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 1 (1978): 1–3, 25; Yu. Gerbov, ―Pokoleniie tvortsov i iskatelei,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 10 (1982): 3–4, 32; D. Filippov, ―V edinom stroiu,‖ Tekhnika – Molodiozhi, no. 11 (1977): 2. 44 Prometheus was an important symbol of the official Soviet culture and ideology: for example, a youth-oriented Soviet publisher Molodaia Gvardiia published under this title, starting since 1966, an almanac with biographies of famous (at least in the Soviet system of coordinates) people.  46  productivist language of Soviet culture found expression in the cultural fantasies of Soviet intellectuals who dreamt of the complete subordination of the material world to the human will. Perhaps, its most perfect example was Genrikh Altshuller‘s grand attempt at creating a system of creative innovation to accelerate both technological and societal evolution.   Vernaculars of Soviet Techno-Utopianism Genrikh Altshuller (1926–1998) was a prominent Soviet inventor who is best known in the former USSR as the author of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (hereafter referred to as TRIZ after its Russian acronym). Altshuller started working on a universal algorithm that would simplify technical inventions in the late 1940s, published early works on it the mid-1950s, and developed it into a comprehensive theory of invention with a methodological apparatus and a growing number of enthusiasts in the 1960s.45 He was also a theorist of pedagogy and a science fiction writer. Altshuller founded his theory of invention on the premise that, in order to solve a technical problem (that is, to make an invention), an inventor should first identify an internal contradiction inherently present in any technical object or system. The ideal solution to the problem would then be to re-format the technical system so that the contradiction is removed, but without the addition of any further mechanisms or parts.46 In other words, TRIZ approached technical objects and the material world as ―infinitely flexible (неограниченно изменяем]),47 as always possessing a hidden potential for their more effective usage, and as fully subordinate to the human will, given that people had the necessary skills to see technical contradictions and find solutions to them.                                                  45 Zinaida S. Vasyleva, ―Soobshchestvo TRIZ: Logika i etika sovetskogo izobretatelia,‖ Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, no. 3 (2012): 29–46. 46 Genrikh S. Altshuller, Algoritm izobreteniia (Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii, 1973); Genrikh S. Altshuller and Aleksandr B. Seliutskii, Krylia dlia Ikara: Kak reshat izobretatelskie zadachi (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1980); Genrikh S. Altshuller, Naiti ideiu (Novosibirsk: Nauka, 1986).  47 Altshuller, Naiti ideiiu, 185. 47  In 1964, Altshuller had a rather lengthy correspondence with the brothers Strugatsky, whose works would soon become part of the Soviet literary canon. In one of his letters he claimed:  Since my childhood, at all stages [of my biography], science fiction determined my life. It is a kind of religion. Of course, I am not a fanatic and admit that one temple can serve to worship different gods. As for myself, I prefer prognostic science fiction, when it is used not as a literary device, but in order to look into the future, as precisely and as far as possible.48  For Altshuller, himself a prolific science fiction author under the pen name G. Altov, science fiction was inseparable from his theory of invention. One of its postulates was that inventions and, consequently, human progress are hampered by the psychological inability of people to see solutions to technical problems, or even to perceive technical problems per se as an obstacle to be overcome. Science fiction was, in his theory, necessary in order to develop the professional vision of an inventor – a vision which could easily identify problems and find solutions to them. As one of his regular co-authors claimed, ―It is impossible for an inventor to acquire advanced professional thinking without reading science fiction regularly.‖49  The reason why science fiction was important lay in the fact that it could teach its audiences to treat materiality as flexible and subordinate to the human will. When Altshuller and his followers established TRIZ groups all over the USSR, the work in these groups included writing or, at least, reading science fiction, so that students would learn to see technological things in their potential flexibility and changeability.50 One such group in Petrozavodsk had regular training sessions during the 1980s in one of local clubs; watching science fiction films, imagining non-existent objects and creatures, and enacting scenes from the communist future were compulsory activities for its students.51                                                  48 ―Pismo G. Altova ANu, 21 aprelia 1964,‖ in Svetlana Bondarenko and Viktor Kurilskii, eds., Neizvestnyie Strugatskiie. Pisma. Rabochiie dnevniki. 1963-1966 gg. (Moscow: AST, 2009), 170–171. 49 Aleksandr Seliutskii, Derzkiie formuly tvorchestva (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1987), 175. 50 B. Zlotin, A. Zusman, Mesiats pod zvezdami fantazii (Kishinev: Lumina, 1988), 48.  51 NARK, f. R-3665, op. 1, d. 9/154, l. 4–6. See also Vasilyeva, Soobshchestvo TRIZ, 34. 48  Altshuller‘s own writing is illustrative in this respect: for example, in his unfinished novel The Third Millenium (1974), the female protagonist achieves such a perfect unity with technologies of the day that she literally penetrates through the walls of a spaceship she was instructed to seize, whereas the technological skills of another female character allow her to assemble and disassemble her spaceship while it is flying through the atmosphere of Jupiter.52 Science fiction allowed for the visualization of this relationship between people and machines that lay at the basis of TRIZ and was, in essence, symbiotic: people relied on technologies to pave the way to communism, but to do so they had to change themselves into creative, technologically literate personalities. Soviet productivist language provided Altshuller and his audience, mostly Soviet scholars and engineers, with the necessary symbolic vocabulary to express and perceive the idea that the path to building a communist society is charted through the creation of machines and tools that would extend the capabilities of human bodies and selves. But the appropriation of this language could not be innocent, given the inevitable link between language and selfhood.  Altshuller‘s quest for more inventive means to accelerate technical progress led him to develop by the 1980s another theory called the Theory of Creative Personality Development.53 Dissatisfied with the perceived rigidness and lack of inventiveness among the Soviet engineering cadre, Altshuller argued that, in order to build the material basis of the communist future, every Soviet person should be trained from early childhood in creative thinking – that is, in the skill to treat the world as flexible and subordinate to human imagination:  We know that developed socialism would be unimaginable without universal literacy. More years will pass, and a society will emerge in which every person will be able to solve the most complicated intellectual tasks. This will probably be regarded as an obvious necessity:                                                  52 Genrikh Altov, ―Tretiie tysiacheletiie,‖ in NF: Sbornik nauchnoi fantastiki, vol. 14 (Moscow: Znanie, 1974), 5. 53 Altshuller, Naiti ideiiu, 173–185; Genrikh S. Altshuller and Igor M. Viortkin, Kak stat geniem (Minsk: Belarus, 1994). 49  after all, is it possible that under Communism the summits of intellectual creativity would be available only to a small group of people?54   Having emerged in the 1950s as an algorithm for solving industrial production tasks, by the 1980s TRIZ had transformed into a system that sought to re-model, first of all, Soviet people, and only then machines. While TRIZ encapsulated and expressed cultural fantasies of fully subdued materiality, it demanded vigorous self-fashioning from its followers in pursuit of these fantasies. Practical courses of TRIZ were framed in the rhetoric of technological invention, but structurally, they were built as psychological training aimed to teach their students to ―overcome a psychological inertia and a fear to think creatively.‖55 The promise of mastery over the material world acted, in a way, as bait to lure Soviet people to imagine themselves as creative socialist subjects and invest their personal time in techniques of self-making. Zinaida Vasilyeva in her ethnographic research on TRIZ in post-Soviet Russia quoted a teacher at a TRIZ school who claimed that, of all the children who took its courses, only students from non-religious families tended to graduate, an indirect indication that its inherent materialism suggested ideological forms of imagining one‘s selves that were incompatible with religious beliefs.56  TRIZ was a prominent vernacular of Soviet techno-utopianism that defined socialist selfhood through its relationship with the material world. One‘s belonging to the collective of Soviet people was relatively marginal for this definition; what really mattered was one‘s skills to see technical systems and objects as flexible and ready to subdue themselves to their creator‘s will. Since its vocabulary was based on the understanding of technological objects as encapsulating long historical time, mastery of technologies became a key factor for socialism to occupy its place as the next, more progressive, stage of human history. Training sessions in the Petrozavodsk school of TRIZ took place under a large poster reading ―The history of human civilization is the                                                  54 Altshuller and Seliutskii, Krylia dlia Ikara, 3. 55 NARK, f. R-3665, op. 1, d. 9/154, l. 1–9, quote on l. 5.  56 Vasilyeva, Soobshchestvo TRIZ, 35. 50  history of inventions!‖57 This understanding of technological progress as the essence of personal and social development pushed enthusiasts of TRIZ to argue in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the socialist economy was gradually collapsing around them, that a national adaptation of TRIZ in education and industry would allow for a rapid and effective re-invigoration of state socialism.58 But while they continued speaking their dialect of Soviet productivist language, other less rational forms of interaction with the material world captivated audiences around them. Following the Baku pogrom in January 1990, Altshuller, a Jew, had to flee with his family from Azerbaijan to Petrozavodsk. In the post-Soviet period, associations and schools of TRIZ gradually moved to position themselves as, first of all, personal and career counselling services, and only secondarily as technical consulting services.59 This story is not much different from what happened with another vernacular of the Soviet productivist language – the discourse of Soviet technical do-it-yourself magazines. These magazines were immensely popular in the entire late socialist era, but the peak of their popularity, if judged in terms of monthly circulation figures, coincided with perestroika. One of them, Modelist-Konstruktor [Modeller-Designer], had an impressive circulation which grew from 140,000 copies in 1966, its launch year, to 1,800,000 copies in 1989, its peak year. As for similar do-it-yourself magazines, in 1989 their figures for monthly circulation were 1,777,000 copies for Iunyi Tekhnik [Young Technical Designer] and 1,555,000 copies for Tekhnika – Molodiozhi [Technology to Youth].  The first issue of Modelist-Konstruktor, a cult magazine of Soviet amateur engineering, appeared in January 1966. Its very first editorial address promised to the magazine‘s readers that                                                   57 NARK, f. R-3665, op. 1, d. 9/154, l. 1. 58 Aleksandr B. Seliutskii, ed., Pravila igry bez pravil (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1989), 3–6; Yuri Dral‘, ―Rezultaty obiazatelno budut,‖ Narodnoe obrazovanie, no. 3 (1990): 45–49; Leonid Shub, ―Fantaziia v upriazhke ili dialektika dlia vzroslykh: (O razvitii tvorcheskogo voobrazheniia doshkolnikov),‖ Detskaia literatura, no. 4 (1991): 48–50. 59 See, for example, the website of the Russian TRIZ Association:, accessed December 18, 2015. One of its sections targets a teenage audience with the following slogan: ―Do you want to be lucky in life? Do you want to learn how to solve any problem? Do you want to be an interesting person for your friends? Do you want to study easily and pleasantly? Then learn TRIZ!‖  51   the magazine will tell you how to build... real small airplanes, helicopters, motor gliders, which will take you to the sky. As for future conquerors of the ocean, Modelist-Konstruktor will... supply them with the blueprints and technical characteristics of yachts, catamarans, motor boats... Car and bike fans will find on the magazine‘s pages detailed materials about amateur designs of sport models and personal cars...60  The magazine fulfilled its promises: in the following decades it published hundreds of blueprints and instructions of how to produce virtually everything with one‘s own hands, ranging from light aircraft with motorcycle engines to holiday rafts made of truck tires. Modelist-Konstruktor was not the only cultural venue that popularized amateur engineering in the USSR. Starting in 1963, Katera i Yakhty, a specialized periodical61 for amateur boat- and yacht-building, published hundreds of designs ranging from small riverboats to ocean-worthy yachts. Beginning in the 1960s, another widely circulated technical magazine, Tekhnika – Molodiozhi, started popularizing home-built cars. In 1966, its editorial board organized the first Soviet exhibition of amateur cars,62 an event that became regular during the 1970s and 1980s.63 Radio published electronic circuits and blueprints that could be used to assemble sophisticated electronic devices or to repair virtually everything produced by the Soviet radio-electronic industry. Apart from periodicals, from the 1960s to the 1980s books were published, in the hundreds of thousands copies that advised how to build summer cottages (dachas), cars, boats and electronic appliances.64 From the early 1970s until 1991, the central Soviet television broadcast a TV show called Eto vy mozhete [You can make it], which introduced to a                                                  60 Modelist-Konstruktor, 1 (1966), back side of the front cover. 61 In 1963 only one issue was published, since 1964 it was published bi-annually, since 1967 quarterly and since 1969 bimonthly, reflecting the growing interest to amateur boat and yacht building. 62 Z. Fomina (dir.). Novosti dnia / Khronika nashikh dnei, no. 45 (Studiia dokumentalnykh filmov, 1966). 63 ―Molodost plius umenia,‖ Za ruliom, no. 12 (1967): 17–18; V. Demchenko, ―Marsh-parad v 3000 kilometrov,‖ Za ruliom, no. 2 (1972): 18; O. Iaremenko, ―Serioznyie samodelki,‖ Za ruliom, no. 12 (1982): 12–13. 64 K. N. Kurdenkov, Suda: stroim sami (Moscow: Sudostroieniie, 1964); B. S. Ivanov, Elektronika svoimi rukami (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1964); V. M. Gesler, Avtomobil svoimi rukami (Moscow: DOSAAF, 1970); G. M. Novak, Katera, lodki i motory v voprosakh i otvetakh: spravochnik. Moscow: Sudostroienie, 1977.  52  multi-million television audience different amateur designs ranging from kitchen appliances to cars and small aircrafts.  Like TRIZ, Soviet technical magazines aimed to shape the Soviet subject as master of the material world. They published blueprints of a car to be made of plywood65 and an electric generator mounted on a kite to provide electricity during tourist trips;66 the combination of bearings, metal pipes and plastic could be used to make virtually anything ranging from a velomobile (a bicycle car) to boat engines to gliders to tractors to all-terrain vehicles to snowmobiles.67 There was virtually no technical equipment or home appliances that Soviet amateur engineers could not theoretically assemble using the innumerable circuits and instructions published in Soviet technical magazines and the basic radio components sold in Soviet stores. The list ran right up to computers68 and even, albeit humorously, a time machine.69 Soviet materiality as it was represented through this discourse was, indeed, flexible: in late Soviet culture, any given thing could become anything else and thus a priori performed the function of raw material even if it was brand new. The very first editorial of Katera i Yakhty explained why the magazine would publicize do-it-yourself practices by appealing to its audience: ―We are far from believing that everyone involved in sailing as tourism or sport should build a yacht or a motor boat by himself. One can use an [industrially] produced vessel. But what                                                  65 ―Valga-Kombi: avtomobil iz fanery,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 8 (1980): 4–8 and a colour inlet between pp. 8 and 9. 66 ―Pokhodnaia elektrostantsiia,‖ IuT dlia umelykh ruk, no. 3 (1980): 1. 67 Velomobiles: ―Vita – lastochka velomobilei,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 7 (1976): 24; K. Bavykin, ―Velomobil,‖ Iunyi tekhnik, no. 8 (1977): 41–48; boat engine: A. Katushenko, ―Pedalnaia lodka,‖ Iunyi tekhnik, no. 5 (1977): 78–80; gliders: V. Bugrov, ―Deltaplan kluba Vympel,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 11 (1977): 27–29 and no. 1 (1978): 7–8; ―OKB Deltaplan,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 10 (1982): 12–16 and the color inlet between pp. 16 and 17; tractor: ―Mini-traktor: ot skhemy do pakhoty,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 2 (1982): 4–5; all-terrain vehicle: ―Amfitrak ‗Ob‘,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 4 (1978): 14–16; snowmobile: ―Chuk i Gek – snegokhod,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 1 (1978): 9–10. 68 Modelist-Konstruktor, nos. 2–3, 5–7 (1987); IuT dlia umelykh ruk, nos. 2–8 (1988). 69 The film Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession plays on this: in the end of the film when the time machine breaks and its inventor is unable to return Tsar Ivan the Terrible back from the twentieth century into the sixteenth, he hurries to the electronics store to buy certain basic radio components, of which, as we learn, the time machine is made.  53  enthusiast [of sailing] would refuse the pleasure of remaking [peredelat’] it in his own taste?‖70  The very spirit of Soviet do-it-yourself culture thus implied that human ingenuity should not be limited by the material resources at hand; instead, the only limitation was the human imagination — hence the many different methods to ―develop‖ and ―stimulate‖ imagination which became popular in the discourse of Soviet amateur engineering.71 Drawing on the passivity of matter, this discourse created an illusion that Soviet subjects, by immersing themselves in do-it-yourself culture, would become in this process self-aware, rational and free actors capable of manipulating and reconfiguring matter in every possible way.72  The mastery over materiality suggested by the discourse of amateur engineering was a cultural fantasy, just as it was in Altshuller‘s writings. Publications on how to make complex things with one‘s own hands acted as traps that lured people into established patterns of subjectivation due to their seemingly pragmatic, apolitical and deideologized character. The emphasis of Soviet technical magazines on the conquest of Soviet space with the help of homebuilt cars, yachts, motorboats and planes is symptomatic in this respect. While thousands of people read about them, few actually ventured to build them, judging by the fact that even national exhibitions of homebuilt cars or planes never gathered more than several dozens of vehicles,73 a miniscule quantity compared to the scale of the Soviet Union. Amateur engineering could not overcome the problem of infrastructure, especially when it came to airfields or ports, which were ill-suited for private aircrafts or yachts; besides, their owners were often forbidden to use these state-                                                 70 ―K chitateliam,‖ Katera i Yakhty, no. 1 (1963): 3. 71 R. Nudelman, ―Voobrazheniie po pravilam,‖ Iunyi tekhnik, no. 1 (1968): 58–59; D. Bilenkin, ―Voobrazheniie – sila,‖ Iunyi tekhnik, no. 6 (1977): 78–80.  72 While Soviet women‘s magazines focused on domestic space and the female body, their discourse with its infinitely repeating advice on how to reuse or remake old things brought the same connotations: the idealized Soviet subject through do-it-yourself practices had to perform mastery over the material world. In other words, their relationship to materiality was framed in similar terms of mastery. See Alexey Golubev and Olga Smolyak, ―Making Selves through Making Things: Soviet Do-It-Yourself Culture and Practices of Late Soviet Subjectivation,‖ Cahiers du monde russe, Vol. 54, no. 3–4 (July-December 2013): 517–541. 73 ―Avtofestival-82,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 12 (1982), inlet between pp. 16 and 17; ―V nebe Tushino – SLA,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, nos. 3, 4, 5 (1988). 54  owned facilities.74 Enthusiasts of homebuilt cars had to struggle with a shortage of spare parts, a situation that plagued the Soviet car market during its entire existence.75As a result, homebuilt yachts and cars were something more typical of the Soviet collective imaginary than the real Soviet landscape. The extensive circulation of Soviet technical magazines and the popularity of the TV show Eto vy mozhete secured a wide distribution of images of modern-looking garage-built vehicles, aircrafts and ships. Amateur engineering was something to be looked at and read about; that is, it was a discursive field that turned the materiality of self-made things into a spectacle and that totalized the scattered experiences of their producers into a governing text with a dominant idea, that of human mastery over space:  Sometimes we receive questions asking why the magazine Tekhnika – Molodiozhi organizes collective trips of amateur cars through dozens of Soviet cities. Does [Soviet] industry produce cars of poor quality? This is not the case. The romantic aspirations of young masters to build a car of their own using plastic and aluminium, an amphibious car capable not only of driving, but also of sailing, should be supported. This is also a search for new discoveries.76  This short excerpt from an article by the editor-in-chief of Tekhnika – Molodiozhi highlights several key points of the techno-utopian vernacular of Soviet technical magazines. It associated amateur engineering with the romanticism of exploration — or, if put in Foucault‘s terms, with the will to knowledge,77 that gnostic drive that defined people involved in this culture as subjects of knowledge, as explorers who, in the course of exploration, would fashion themselves into conquerors of land (homebuilt cars), water                                                  74 Katera i Yakhty, no. 2 (1975): 30; V. Kondratiev ―Idei novyie, problemy staryie,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, no. 2 (1990): 3. 75 Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 244. 76 Vasilii Zakharchenko, ―Molodoie dykhaniie veka,‖ Nauka i zhizn, no. 5 (1978): 79. 77 See, e.g.: Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Vol.1: An Introduction (New York: Vintage Books, 1976), esp. the part Scientia Sexualis, pp. 53–73. 55  (yachts and motor boats) and air (small aircrafts).78 The discourse of amateur engineering worked all the more effectively, since in most cases this conquest of the elements was imaginary: to use a metaphor, Soviet technical magazines ―abducted‖ the actual practice of building vehicles in garage conditions and travelling in them. This was then represented to their readers as texts and images, constructing them as one large audience joining this effort to conquer nature and to transform it with travel from a wilderness into a landscape.79 The discourse of amateur engineering worked by seducing readers into imagining themselves at the steering wheel of a motor boat or a car reaching into an otherwise inaccessible wilderness, driving a propeller sleigh through Arctic plains, observing the landscape from a light aircraft, or touring the countryside in a motorhome. This discourse needed the actual practices of building cars, boats or planes only inasmuch as they provided examples to be incorporated into its corpus in order to make it more convincing and tempting – in other words, in order to create a desire to make things with one‘s own hands.  Given the bottom-up approach to content creation in Soviet technical magazines (nearly all of their designs were initially developed by readers for themselves and then successful solutions were shared through the journal), it is hardly surprising that the producers of the Soviet discourse of amateur engineering misrecognized the cultural fantasy of subdued materiality for reality. In the late 1980s, enthusiasts of do-it-yourself culture unsuccessfully argued – in a logic similar to that of the advocates of TRIZ – that amateur engineering could become a nation-wide basis for small businesses that would re-invigorate the socialist economy.80 As the Soviet socio-economic model collapsed, the audience of this particular vernacular of the Soviet techno-utopianism shrank to, perhaps, the actual number of amateur engineers in Russia. The monthly circulation of Modelist-                                                 78 Readers of Soviet technical magazines were also offered to conquer the space, although in an indirect manner: by observing the night sky, playing space-related games or constructing replicas of spaceships, both existing and from the imagined future. See: Modelist-Konstructor, no. 10 (1973): 30-31, 41; Modelist-Konstructor, no. 4 (1974): 46; Modelist-Konstructor, no. 7 (1974): 18–19. 79 On the role of travel in the transformation of nature into a landscape, see: Christof Mauch and Thomas Zeller, eds. The World Beyond the Windshield: Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2008), esp. ―Introduction‖ by Christof Mauch and Thomas Zeller, pp. 1–13. 80 See, e.g., V. Kopyev, ―Paradoksy uspekha,‖ Tekhnika – Molodiozhi, no. 5 (1989): 2–4.  56  Konstruktor fell from 1,800,000 copies in 1989 to 5,150 in 2010, while another technical magazine, Katera i Yakhty, transformed into a modern illustrated magazine focused on consumption. Yet their discourse has its post-Soviet afterlife, as it can be recognized in statements claiming that the technological advances of modern industrial states have been achieved via the application of methods or technologies borrowed from TRIZ or amateur engineering magazines.81 One typical statement argues that  in the Soviet era, Japanese people subscribed to such Soviet journals as Modelist-Konstruktor, Tekhnika – Molodiozhi, Iunyi Tekhnik, and patented all our ideas and inventions. This is how they built their prosperity.82  Since Japan is routinely perceived in Russia as a model state in terms of economic development achieved through technological progress, it is not surprising that the people who associate themselves with the Soviet discourse of amateur engineering interpret its present as the desirable, but failed, Soviet future: what Japan represents now is how the USSR could have looked if their discourse had been taken seriously by the state authorities. Similarly, enthusiasts of TRIZ associated the technological and social progress of the West and the stagnation of late Soviet society with the application and non-application, respectively, of TRIZ methods.83 These beliefs are a logical outcome of their misrecognition that various dialects of techno-utopianism were more effective in producing Soviet subjects than marketable commodities.                                                   81 See, e.g., articles and forum threads related to a popular myth that Japanese technological advances were based on solutions from Modelist-Konstruktor and other Soviet technical journals: (Teron.Ru), (Newsland), (Drom.Ru), (Noname.Ru). I myself on several occasions heard similar statements in dialogues and public lectures which involved former Soviet technical specialists.  82 A comment by a user Rumato to the article: Ievgeniia Shtefan, ―Iaponiia gotova mirno dogovoritsia s RF to Kurilam,‖ Newsland, 24.09.2009, available at:, accessed December 20, 2015.  83 Genrikh Altshuller et al, Teoriia i praktika resheniia izobretatelskikh zadach (Kishinev: Vsesoiuznyi institut TRIZ, 1989), 56. 57  TRIZ and amateur engineering demonstrate the importance of material objects for the cultural definition of proper Sovietness, both in terms of individual and collective selves. At the center of this definition stood mastery over space achieved through technological objects; through this mastery these objects were key to the national possession of the future, which endowed them with their own historicity. Victor Shklovsky wrote as early as 1922 that ―subways, cranes and cars are human prostheses;‖84 mastery over these and other technological objects brought with them a promise of the spatial and temporal extension of Soviet selves. In post-Soviet political discourses, this historicity turned grand technological objects associated with Soviet techno-utopian visions into nostalgic objects.  Conclusion On July 2, 2013, a Russian rocket Proton-M carrying three satellites for the Russian navigation system GLONASS burst into flames in the first seconds after the launch. The leading opposition newspaper Novaya gazeta responded to this event in its next issue by placing a caricature by Pyotr Sarukhanov showing a group of primitive people dancing with spears in a circle around a rocket (Figure 4).                                                    84 Shklovsky, ―Zoo, ili Pisma ne o liubvi,‖ 130–131. 58   Figure 4. Pyotr Sarukhanov, a caricature on the current state of affairs of the Russian space program.85  Sarukhanov‘s image plays on the contrast between two incompatible historicities: one archaic, embodied in the black figures that, in an undeniably racist metaphor, personify the Russian engineering cadre, and another progressive, encapsulated in the slim silhouette of a space rocket. For the Russian public with its cultural expertise in Soviet texts and imagery, this image represents a reference to the visual aesthetic of the post-Stalinist era with its emphasis on body-machine assemblages (cf. Aleksandr Deineka‘s Conquerors of Outer Space in Figure 3). But whereas Soviet bodies and selves lived up to the challenges of their technological objects, the irony of Sarukhanov‘s image capitalizes on the perceived inability of post-Soviet bodies and selves to enter into affective assemblages with the grand technological objects of the Soviet era. In public                                                  85 Novaya gazeta, no. 72 (July 5, 2013): 24. 59  debates these objects regularly become a measure of contemporary Russian people, society and the state, usually to emphasize their inadequacy and pettiness in comparison to ambitious visions of the conquest of space and time embedded in Soviet-era technologies. Following the 2009 accident at the Sayano–Shushenskaya power station (built in the 1970s and still the largest power plant in Russia), when 75 people died and the national power supply was disrupted, a journalist of Novaya gazeta wrote:   [This disaster] has brought to the surface the most vital lesson for us, so vital that there is nothing more important. For a nation that still launches rockets into space, the most vital task is to revive the following reflex: at the sight of an unfastened bolt to put a screw on it and then regularly check and secure it with a wrench. 86   The author of this excerpt openly claims that Russia as a nation has a future only if it masters anew the skills demanded by its technological objects. This statement is informed by productivist language, now in its post-Soviet variation, as it defines the revival of the national body through a restored mastery over the advanced infrastructure and vehicles that allow for the control of Russian national space and, consequently, time. In fact, productivist language can be recognized in much of the political criticism of the current leadership of Russia. Yulia Latynina, one of the staunchest liberal critics of Vladimir Putin‘s government, described her trip to the leading Russian producer of rocket engines, NPO Energomash, in terms of an incredible progress that abruptly stopped in 1991. She then attacked the ruling government, claiming that it never stood up to the promises of these technologies, leaving their potential unrealized, and thus betrayed the future of the Russian nation:   I was watching these absolutely fantastic engines. I was present during an engine test. I was looking at the engineers who were testing them, and I saw that all of these engineers were                                                  86 Aleksei Tarasov, ―Inzhener ne dolzhen presmykatsia pered finansistom,‖ Novaya gazeta, no. 111 (October 7, 2009), available online at, accessed December 20, 2015. 60  older than 60. In the meantime, young [specialists] keep on leaving [Russia]. And then you understand that this is, in fact, our last chance [to remain competitive internationally].87   Latynina and, indeed, many critics of the Russian government from both right and left deploy Soviet-era visions of technological grandeur to define the Russian national body (emphasized by the obligatory use of the first person plural ―we‖) as losing or already lacking vital connections to the material world of advanced technologies. Whereas for Mikhail Heller, a humanist, the main fault of the Soviet regime was in its desire to turn people into ―cogs‖ of the Soviet system-as-machine, contemporary critics of Russian authorities routinely employ productivist language to accuse them of unwillingness or inability to adapt Russian society to the challenges and potential of machines that it inherited from the Soviet past.                                                     87 Yulia Latynina, ―Kod dostupa,‖ Ekho Moskvy, broadcast on June 19, 2010, a transcript available online at, accessed December 20, 2015. 61    Figure 5. A World War II-themed diorama with plastic models. 1:48 scale. Photograph @ 2015 Sergei Rogov. 62  Chapter 2. Time in 1:72 Scale: The Plastic Historicity of Soviet Models  A scale model of Lenin‘s car will be a perfect addition to your school‘s technology corner or Soviet history room.  An article from a Soviet technical magazine1  It is a grand attempt to overcome the wholly irrational character of the object‘s mere presence at hand through its integration into a new, expressly devised historical system: the collection. Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project2  When the Soviet government ordered the construction of the national exhibition center in Moscow in 1935, it was initially conceived as a showcase of Soviet agriculture and was named, accordingly, the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Two decades later, with the dawn of the space era and the rapid industrialization and urbanization of Soviet society, this focus on agriculture no longer seemed relevant and, in 1959, the exhibition center was renamed the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. As part of this re-orientation of the Soviet national exhibition, a pavilion that had previously been devoted to bog peat was renamed Young Technical Designers (Iunyie tekhniki) and started featuring the craftsmanship produced by schoolchildren‘s extracurricular hobby groups (kruzhki) and centers of young technical designers (stantsii and kluby iunykh tekhnikov), such as hand-built vehicles and agricultural equipment, scale models of ships and planes, and designs of existing and future space crafts.                                                    1 Modelist-Konstructor, no. 6 (1969): 5. 2 Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1999), 204–205. 63   Figure 6. The Young Technical Designers pavilion at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy in Moscow, early 1980s. A Soviet-era postcard.3   The allocation of a special pavilion at the Soviet national exhibition to ―young technical designers‖ highlighted the importance that Soviet education officials gave to the extracurricular activities of school-age children. The Department of Extracurricular Education was established within the People‘s Commissariat of Education of Soviet Russia as early as November 1917; in 1952, the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed a resolution that introduced common organizational and teaching standards for extracurricular clubs and centers; and over the course of the following decades palaces and houses of Young Pioneers, centers of young technical designers, school hobby groups and other forms of extracurricular activities sprang up all over the Soviet Union.4 In 1988, there were 464,384 extracurricular clubs and centers in the Soviet Union, or                                                  3 Source:, accessed December 22, 2015. 4 M. B. Koval, Stanovleniie i razvitiie sistemy vospitatelnoi deiatelnosti vneshkolnykh ob’iedinenii: Doctor of Sciences in Education Dissertation. Moscow, 1991; M. A. Zaitseva, ―K voprosu o roli uchrezhdenii vneshkolnoi rabory v vospitanii sotsialnoi aktivnosti starsheklassnikov v 50–80-e gg. XX veka,‖ Yaroslavskii pedagogicheskii vestnik, 1 (2009): 90–94.  64  roughly four times the number as in 1950. The official statistics claimed that seven and a half million schoolchildren attended them, with technology-related clubs and groups being the most popular (2,132,659 children).5 According to the 1989 Soviet census, the number of schoolchildren (ages 7 to 17) in the USSR exceeded forty-five million,6 which means that approximately one in every six Soviet school-age children attended extracurricular activities at any given time. Given the high turnover rates in them, the proportion of Soviet students who at some point in their education enrolled in hobby groups was likely to be considerably higher, particularly in urban centers at the expense of rural districts.7  The development of extracurricular technical activities pursued a pragmatic function: the incorporation of their labor into the productive forces of the Soviet economy. The idea to spread technological literacy among schoolchildren was, in fact, borrowed from late imperial pedagogy; in particular, from the works of Evgenii Medynskii, a prominent theorist of extracurricular education who continued to work under the new authorities.8 In the course of the 1920s and especially the 1930s, it became increasingly associated with one‘s civil obligation to serve the national cause, whether in peace or wartime.9 The Young Technical Designers pavilion reflected a further, post-Stalinist development in the political fantasy of schoolchildren‘s contribution to the                                                  5 A. A. Romanov, A. I. Shuvalov, ―Genezis klubno-kruzhkovoi raboty v pedagogicheskoi praktike Rossii,‖ Psikhologo-pedagogicheskii poisk, 1 (2007): 117. 6 Itogi Vsesoiuznoi perepisi naseleniia 1989 goda. Tom 2. Vozrast i sostoianiie v brake. Chast 1 (Minneapolis : East View Publications, 1992), 11.  7 M. A. Koshev, Istoriia i problemy kulturno-tekhnicheskogo razvitiia rabochikh kadrov narodov Severnogo Kavkaza v 60-e - nachale 80-kh godov (Maĭkop: [s.n.], 1994), 91. Writing about mostly rural Northern Caucasus in the 1960s, the author speaks of the ―beggary state‖ of schoolchildren‘s technology groups in the region. 8 Ye. N. Medynskii, Vneshkolnoie obrazovaniie, ego znacheniie, organizatsiia i tekhnika, 4th edition (Moscow: Nauka, 1918). See esp. Chapter I (p. 9–17) on the general importance of extracurricular education and Chapter XIII (p. 241–251) on museums and technical exhibitions. The first edition was printed in 1913.  9 See Scott W. Palmer‘s discussion of the role of OSOAVIAKHIM and its predecessors in the propaganda of aviation in the early USSR: Scott W. Palmer, Dictatorship of the Air: Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 103–124. Lev Kassil and Maks Polianovskii‘s well-known book The Street of the Younger Son (1949, awarded the State Stalin Prize of the 3rd Degree in 1950) explicitly linked its protagonist‘s hobby activities in aircraft modelling and his wartime heroism: Lev Kassil and Maks Polianovskii, Ulitsa mladshego syna (Moscow: Detskaia literatura, 1949).  65  national economy, which was also prominently featured in educational theory10 and – hardly surprisingly – Soviet teen science fiction.11 On the official level, Leonid Brezhnev in his speech at the XVIth Congress of the Komsomol emphasized that the latter should ―develop the scientific and technological creativity of working youth‖ as a prerequisite for the evolution of socialism into communism.12  The dreams of Soviet enthusiasts of extracurricular technological activities never came true: as later publications bitterly noted, nearly all of their technical innovations were wasted through inefficient bureaucratic management.13 Yet due to their inclusion in the Soviet politics of technology and hence the political process, schoolchildren‘s hobby groups and centers were also engaged in symbolic production, which had a more profound effect on Soviet society. The official stance behind extracurricular activities promoting science and engineering to children was not only pragmatic, but also pedagogical and disciplinary. By engaging technologies both in theory and practice, Soviet children were expected to use their leisure time as an investment not only in their own future, but also in the socialist progress of their state.14 For example, a panegyric article published in a Soviet technical magazine and dedicated to an enthusiast of extracurricular technical education said that his ―deserved reputation‖ came from his persistent effort to turn ―mischievous boys into socially useful people.‖15 A theorist of school education argued in an article in the flagship journal Soviet Pedagogy that engaging technology-related extracurricular activities helped schoolchildren become                                                  10 The specialized journal Polytechnic Education (Politekhnicheskoie obucheniie) was established in 1957 and renamed School and Industry (Shkola i proizvodstvo) in 1960. 11 In Vitalii Melentiev‘s futurist 33 Marta, published in 1957, Soviet high school students from 2005 operate advanced agricultural equipment, and in Kir Bulychev‘s series of novels, Prikliucheniia Alisy, the protagonist, a teenage girl from the Communist Earth of the late 21st century, works on cutting-edge scientific experiments. Vitalii Melentiev, 33 marta. 2005 god (Moscow: Gos. izd-vo det. lit-ry, 1957); Kir Bulychov, Sto let tomu vperiod (Moscow: Det. lit-ra, 1978). 12 Leonid Brezhnev, ―Rech na XVI s‘ezde VLKSM,‖ in Leonid Brezhnev, Leninskim kursom: Rechi i stat’ii. Vol. 3 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1972), 32. 13 ―V nogu so vremenem,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 3 (1988): 2–3; ―Fakel gorit… no kakim plamenem?‖ Tekhnika – Molodiozhi, 3 (1990): 2–3; Koshev, Istoriia i problemy kulturno-tekhnicheskogo razvitiia, 91. 14 N. Bulatov, ―Sozdaniie detskikh tekhnicheskikh stantsii,‖ in V. Iakovlev, ed., Smena komsomola: Dokumenty, vospominaniia, materiialy po istorii VPO (1917 – 1962 gg.) (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1964), 134–135.  15 V. Bezrodnyi, ―Imia emu – pedagog,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 3 (1970): 7. 66  responsible persons with ―serious interests‖ in working and engineering occupations; it eventually led to ―the formation of moral consciousness‖ and ―proper‖ adulthood.16 Linking national and personal development, extracurricular hobby groups were part of Soviet techno-politics, a concept that Gabrielle Hecht developed in order to conceptualize ―hybrid forms of power embedded in technological artefacts, systems, and practices.‖17 In Soviet education theory, extracurricular activities were meant to bolster the technological and industrial progress in the USSR and to ensure that children were raised as disciplined and patriotic Soviet citizens. The link between Soviet techno-politics and extracurricular activities made young Soviet hobbyists subjects to the ideological process. What is more important for this chapter is that it also transformed the material objects of these activities into ideological objects endowed with political and historical meanings.  The most common activity in technology centers and clubs – which, as previously mentioned, encompassed millions of Soviet schoolchildren – was the construction of models of historical and contemporary ships, planes and vehicles. This focus on modelling existing vehicles in the extra-curricular activities of the late socialist era marked an important difference with similar activities of the Stalinist era. Young Pioneers from the 1920s to the 1950s mainly built actual flying, sailing or driving machines, albeit in miniature. Resemblance with actual vehicles was entirely optional.18 Late socialist hobbyists built those, too, but their focus was increasingly on miniature replicas that were designed exclusively for display. This transition was facilitated by the post-war development of plastics technologies, as their use allowed Soviet manufacturers to organize industrial production of scale model kits. But the transition was not only a technological one, as materiality of models was closely tied to discourse and ideology. The shift of focus to static replica models immersed late Soviet enthusiasts of modelling                                                  16 Vladimir Gurin, ―Tvorcheskii trud kak sredstvo formirovaniia nravstvennogo soznaniia i povedeniia starsheklassnikov,‖ Sovetskaia Pedagogika, 7 (1980): 52–57, quotations on p. 54. 17 Gabrielle Hecht, ―Introduction,‖ in Gabrielle Hecht, ed., Entangled Geographies: Empires and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011), 3. For a more detailed discussion of techno-politics as a strategic usage of technologies to reach certain political goals, see Gabrielle Hecht, The Radiance of France, 15–17.  18 N. Babaev and S. Kudriavtsev, Letaiushchiie igrushki i modeli (Moscow: Oborongiz, 1946). 67  into a particular historicity that stressed divisions and hierarchies on the basis of nation, rather than class. It suggested that the Bolshevik revolution was not so much a rupture as a continuity and established a genealogical succession from the medieval East Slavic states to Muscovite Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet state. Finally, the making of historical models was premised on explanations of history that favored great men at the expense of the toiling masses, thus prioritizing an elitist perspective over an egalitarian one. The argument that historical knowledge in the Soviet Union employed national, if not nationalist, discourses alongside internationalist and class-based ones is anything but new: David Brandenberger and Kevin M. F. Platt traced the turn to nationalist interpretations of Soviet history to the late 1930s when the Soviet leadership searched for new models of popular mobilization in a complicated international context and with a European war looming on the horizon,19 and Richard Stites, among many others, showed how this tendency intensified multifold during World War II.20 What I want to add to this discussion is an exploration of some of the quotidian and materialist mechanisms through which this national perspective of Soviet history departed from the framework of official cultural production, obtained a broader audience and became encapsulated in material objects and their collections. The incorporation of this national perspective of history in the activities of children‘s technology groups and centers made it particularly convincing, since it was marketed to its audience not directly, but rather as a by-product of the seemingly pragmatic activity of obtaining new skills in handicraft and engineering. Although historical materialism remained the explicit basis of school and university education until the collapse of the USSR, state-funded hobby activities were the sphere in                                                  19 David Brandenberger and Kevin M. F. Platt, ―Introduction: Tsarist-Era Heroes in Stalinist Mass Culture and Propaganda,‖ in Kevin M. F. Platt and David Brandenberger, eds., Epic Revisionism: Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), 3–16; David Brandenberger and Kevin M. F. Platt, ―Terribly Pragmatic: Rewriting the History of Ivan IV‘s Reign, 1937–1956,‖ in Ibid., 157–178. 20 Richard Stites, ―Soviet Russian Wartime Culture: Freedom and Control, Spontaneity and Consciousness,‖ in The People’s War: Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union, ed. Robert W. Thurston and Bernd Bonwetsch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 171–86. 68  which Soviet schoolchildren encountered material assemblages and mastered historical narratives that prioritized nations over classes and great personalities over masses.   Affectivity of models and their collections – their ability to showcase Soviet industrial and technological capabilities and to stand as a synecdoche for historical progress – was important in the production and circulation of the Soviet Union‘s national historical imagination at the grass-roots level. Re-emerging again and again in various locations in the USSR, this historical knowledge was all the more persuasive, since it was produced in a decentralized way: Soviet schoolchildren acquired it from enthusiasts of modelling and engineering, older peers, and technical literature, as well as produced it themselves, literally with their own hands. Modern cultures commonly interpret machines and technologies as symbols of historical progress and national prowess;21 and their scale models – planes and ships small enough to fit on bookshelves and on tables – allowed for miniaturization and domestication of this symbolism, in Soviet culture and elsewhere. This process was even more complex, since, as I argue in the last section of this chapter, historicities were performed by scale model collections themselves, which organized history into a spectacle for the educated and quintessentially male gaze of Soviet model enthusiasts.  This chapter is based on such sources as amateur technical magazines and literature, which published blueprints and provided advice on hobby model building; boxes and instruction of scale model kits; interviews and correspondence with Soviet-era modelling enthusiasts; and archival materials. Among Soviet technical magazines, there was a popular sub-genre of do-it-yourself magazines such as Modelist-Konstruktor [Modeler-Designer] and Iunyi Tekhnik [Young Technical Designer] targeting an amateur, almost exclusively male audience, including children and teenagers. It was this audience – boys and teenagers attending technology groups, and adult men, mainly with a college or university degree in sciences or engineering – that provided the absolute majority of recruits to modelling. Close reading of these magazines gives us an insight into those forms of historical imagination which escaped academic writing or school textbooks, but                                                  21 Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989). 69  which became encapsulated in the activities of a many million-strong army of Soviet modelling enthusiasts, both young and adult, and in the objects they produced.  Censoring Objects of Modelling There are two principal ways of making a scale model: from an industrially produced kit or from scratch, using blueprints, historical description and photographs.22 The first way is labour saving, but the variety of models is limited by what the market offers. The second way requires much more labour, time and skill, and the making of such a model by children is usually possible only under the supervision of an experienced hobbyist. However, the variety of vehicles that can be imitated is virtually unlimited. As a result, plastic models made from kits formed the bulk of private collections in the Soviet Union, both among children and adults hobbyists, while custom built models were made and then exhibited in school hobby groups, centers of young technical designers and Palaces of Young Pioneers.  ―Not only people are part of history; machines and vehicles are, too,‖ wrote the Soviet technical journal Modelist-Konstruktor in 1969 in one of its numerous articles which called on Soviet teenagers to immerse themselves in the hobby of model making.23 This logic, in which the making of models was understood as part of historical knowledge, made the assortment of scale model kits in stores or blueprints in journals subject to tacit censorship. The USSR-designed model kits featured exclusively Russian and Soviet ships, aircrafts and vehicles, such as the battleship Potyomkin and the cruiser Avrora, various makes of such aircraft as the MiG or Tupolev, and Soviet battle tanks. It was possible to buy kits from East German, Czechoslovakian or Polish manufacturers, but their range of products was dominated by models of Soviet vehicles, and the absolute majority of the blueprints for scale models in Modelist-Konstruktor were those of Russian or Soviet vehicles. Finally, the activities in state-sponsored clubs and hobby                                                  22 Industrially produced scale model kits appeared with the introduction of plastic injection technologies in model-making in the mid-1930s and, after World War II, enjoyed steady growth; prior to this all models were custom built: Brett Green, Modelling Scale Aircraft (Oxford and New York: Osprey, 2012), 4–6. 23 A. Tarasenko, ―Relikviia trudovogo podviga,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 5 (1969): 4. 70  groups for children were focused almost exclusively on custom-built models of Soviet ships and aircrafts.24  This apparent exclusion of non-Soviet technological objects from the activities of Soviet modellers was somewhat shattered when, beginning in 1977, Soviet factories started producing kits designed in England. This story provides a particularly good illustration of the importance with which Soviet ideologists endowed scale models as objects of historical knowledge. In the mid-1970s, the British model kit manufacturer Frog (famous, among other things, for making 1:72 one of the standard scales for aircraft modeling) was going out of business, and the USSR Ministry of Light Industry entered into negotiations with its parent company, Dunbee-Combex-Marx, to purchase the injection molds used for industrial production of plastic model kits. From the very beginning, Soviet negotiators refused to buy models of those aircrafts or vessels which belonged to the Central powers (World War I) or the Axis powers (World War II).25 This decision reduced their choice to 120 models, which beginning in the late 1970s were produced in various locations in the USSR, from Moscow to Tashkent. Most were models of British and U.S. aircraft and ships of the interwar and World War II periods.26   The Soviet side insisted on a barter deal to repay the cost of purchased equipment with manufactured model kits. Dunbee-Combex-Marx established Novo, a UK-based company that packaged and distributed kits supplied from the USSR. The international marketing of Soviet-built model kits was similar to products made by Western manufacturers: pseudorealistic representations of battle scenes involving the model‘s prototype on the cover, its full name and basic technical specifications, a brief development and operational history, and detailed assembly instructions. The marketing of the same model kits domestically for Soviet consumers followed a very different, much more simplistic and utilitarian pattern, as the illustration below demonstrates.                                                  24 NARK, f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 63a, l. 27–28; d. 162, l. 74. 25 Richard Lines and Leif Hellstr m, Frog Model Aircraft 1932-1976: The Complete History of the Flying Aircraft & the Plastic Kits (London: New Cavendish, 1989), 126–127, 195–197, 206–209; Sergey Svinkov, ―Neizvestnaia Novo,‖ M-Hobbi, 4 (1995): 44–46. 26 Russian enthusiasts of the USSR-produced ex-Frog scale models created an online encyclopedia Novokits.Ru which provides detailed information on all models purchased by the Soviet Union from Frog and their production and marketing in the USSR:, accessed on 9 September 2014. 71       Figure 7. Left: Box cover designs of USSR-produced models of Gypsy Moth biplane; right: Box cover designs of USSR-produced models of the Fairey Barracuda. Top: Designs of kits produced for West European markets under the Novo Brand, ca. late 1970s; bottom: Design of kits produced for the domestic Soviet market, ca. late 1970s and 1980s. The kits themselves were identical. Courtesy of Novokits.Ru.  With rare exceptions, ex-Frog model kits of Western planes and ships were sold in the USSR in an anonymous form, without information about the specifications or history of their prototypes. The Gypsy Moth biplane of the 1920s (left in Figure 7) was sold in the Soviet market as a ―trainer biplane,‖ while the World War II-era Barracuda bomber (right in Figure 7) was marketed simply as an ―aircraft model kit.‖ Under the same generic name of an ―aircraft model kit‖ the Soviet retail trade offered dozens of other models of British and American planes; the famous World War II-era British Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane fighters were sold as a ―frontline fighter plane‖ and a ―fighter plane,‖ respectively. HMS Hero was sold as a ―destroyer,‖ HMS Torquay as an ―anti-submarine ship,‖ and HMS Royal Sovereign as a ―battleship.‖ In addition, the UK-designed kits available in Soviet stores provided neither historical notes 72  about their prototypes nor decals (pictures imitating national identification marks) nor painting schemes. In other words, many models of foreign ships and aircrafts were stripped of their identity and historical background and marketed as objects of purely functional value, which was emphasized by the obligatory phrase on the boxes ―Designed for the technical creativity of children aged 10 and up‖ and generic box cover images without national colors. An assembled model represented a piece of unpainted plastic with no identification signs and no name: an object of technical design, not of history. What could sometimes pierce the silence about a model‘s historical prototype was its operational history in the Soviet armed forces. Model kits of U.S. Curtis P-40 and Bell P-39 fighter planes, which were supplied to the USSR during World War II under the Lend-Lease Agreement, included both names and a brief description of their service with the Soviet air force. The assembly instructions for the P-39 started with a short historical reference to the Soviet ace Aleksandr Pokryshkin, who flew this aircraft, his rank and awards, and his official score of 59 enemy planes. It also provided decals and advice on a painting scheme for it.27  Even when made anonymous, the ability of models to encapsulate historical and ideological meanings led to several cases in which production was suspended or stopped altogether. The Daily Telegraph mentioned in one of its April 1985 issues that the Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaia Pravda had launched a campaign against the production and sale of Soviet models of British Harrier jets and Vulcan bombers used by NATO forces, even though they were produced without identification marks and in unnamed boxes. The campaign resulted in their suspended production.28 One of my informants shared similar stories that circulated among Soviet enthusiasts of scale modelling. For example, production of the model of the F-4 Phantom in Minsk was suspended after an article in a local newspaper decried the use of this plane by the U.S. Army in Vietnam and asked                                                  27 This was a tendency rather than a strict rule: both Spitfires and Hurricanes, for example, were supplied to the USSR under the lend-lease agreement, but their models were produced anonymously; in contrast, the Avro Lancaster, which was never imported to the USSR, was sold under its own name.  28 An excerpt from the Daily Telegraph, 13 April 1985, reproduced in Lines and Hellstr m, Frog Model Aircraft 1932-1976, 135. 73  how its model could be produced in the USSR. In another case, the head of a toy factory in Sukhumi, a World War II veteran, allegedly attempted to destroy the mold for a model of the DH Sea Venom, which he mistook for the World War II German Focke-Wulf 189.29 Although these stories are hard to verify, their widespread circulation among Soviet hobbyists is symptomatic: they revealed the materialist logic that associated models with historicities that could be appropriate or inappropriate in the Soviet cultural context. Scale models made manifest the historical imagination inherent in Soviet techno-politics. This imagination demanded that the national perspective of technological progress – which, for some, meant downplaying its other, ―foreign,‖ histories – be highlighted to inculcate a sense of national pride in Soviet youth. An examination of the fetishism given to detail in Soviet scale modeling as a hobby provides another vantage point on the historical meanings that models offered for appropriation and internalization by their enthusiasts.  The Fetishism of Detail Due to the same cultural logic, which resulted in the above-described tendency to strip models of Western machines and vehicles of their historicity, the advice in literature or at hobby groups on how to assemble models of Russian or Soviet ships, planes or ground vehicles was just the reverse: to immerse oneself in the history of the model‘s prototype, to gather as much historical information about it as possible, and to build it in complete accordance with the original design and coloring scheme. Fetishization of detail dominated the activities of young Soviet hobbyists. The standard guide for model ship hobby groups, Sergey Luchininov‘s Iunyi korablestroitel [Young Shipbuilder], demanded that its participants should learn how to ―make in the precise scale important equipment such as bitts, mooring chocks, anchors, capstans, port holes, steering wheels, lights, [as well as] to sew sails if the model represents a sailing ship.‖30 Among model aircraft hobbyists it was not unusual that students thoroughly and in detail reproduced the                                                  29 Letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 9 September 2014.  30 Sergey Luchininov, Iunyi korablestroitel (Moscow: Molodaia Gvardiia, 1955), 4.  74  interior of the pilot‘s cabin, which in many cases remained invisible once the construction of the model was completed.31 The painting scheme and decals were also supposed to represent a particular moment in the prototype‘s history – not a generic plane but, ideally, a plane with the tail number of a prominent pilot, in the colors and camouflage of his regiment. Advocates of modelling as a mass hobby argued that such a model makes history palpable and bridges the gap between famous historical figures and school-age kids. This logic was explicated by a prominent Soviet enthusiast of modelling in his report of the 1975 All-Russian competition of school-age modellers:   Most of the models which participated in the competition copied Soviet planes. It is excellent that school-age modellers are encouraged to build [such models]. When building a replica model, a schoolboy nearly touches its designers and the aces who shot down enemy planes…32  It was details that transformed models from objects of technological design into objects of history, and in the process immersed Soviet hobbyists into the national historical discourse. After all, any model is first and foremost a sign, with its prototype serving as the signified. In semiotic theory it would belong to icons, a category of signs introduced by Charles Peirce in which the relationship between a signifier and signified is based on visual likeness. When stripped of details, like most models built between the 1920s to the 1950s as small flying or sailing machines or like the anonymous copies of Western planes and ships sold in the USSR, their signified was abstract planes and abstract ships, the products of technological progress par excellence. In contrast, details located a model in a concrete point in history, thus endowing it with a particular historicity. In Luchnininov‘s book for ―young shipbuilders,‖ the appeal to make models in precise detail in order to achieve the utmost likeness to their originals was placed next to a requirement that ―young shipbuilders‖ should also master firm knowledge in history                                                  31 Letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014.  32 Sergei Malik, ―Bolshoi smotr aviamodelizma,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 1 (1975): 47. 75  when building models of Russian or Soviet ships.33 All Soviet guides and books on model ship building started with extensive sections on the history of Russian and Soviet seafaring.34 This link between detail and history was repeated in other modelling hobbies. The following advice from the authoritative 1989 aircraft modelling guide A Plane on the Table features the same logic which linked historical knowledge with the fetishism of detail,35 so encouraged among young modellers:  When you are choosing a plane for modelling, it is desirable to have, in addition to detailed blueprints, as much information as possible: the name of the chief designer and of the production facility, technical specifications, characteristic features, the period in production, what changes were implemented during its years of service, and so forth. The most complete information can be found in specialized [modelling and aviation] journals, such as Modelist-Konstruktor or Krylia Rodiny [Wings of the Motherland]… They often publish feature articles about certain types of planes with detailed blueprints. If the plane is military, they also describe its operational history, famous pilots who flew it and their achievements. Yet as a rule, in order to make this picture complete other sources should also be consulted, including magazines, photographs from newspapers, books, and memoirs. All materials related to the chosen plane should be stored in one folder.36  Fetishism of detail – thoroughly nourished in hobby groups – called for no less than the creation of an archive of historical knowledge at home.37 In the quotation above, this                                                  33 Sergey Luchininov, Iunyi korablestroitel (Moscow: Molodaia Gvardiia, 1955), 4. The author refers to the Russian circumnavigation of 1819–1821, the participants of which were among the first explorers to sight the ice shelf of Antarctica; this sighting was framed in terms of the ―discovery‖ of the Antarctic continent by later Russian and Soviet historians.  34 Luchinov, Iunyi korablestroitel, 7–47; I. A. Maksimikhin, Kak postroit model korablia: posobiie dlia uchashchikhsia (Leningrad: Gosuchpedgiz, 1956), 5–16; A. I. Dremliuga and L. P. Dubinina, Iunomu sudomodelistu (Kiev: Radianska shkola, 1983), 3–9, 21–37. 35 My discussion of the fetishism of detail in modelling hobby is inspired by the well-known debates about the fetishization of facts and documents in the discipline of history, such as: Edward H. Carr, What Is History? (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001); Keith Jenkins, Re-Thinking History (London: Routledge, 1991); Alun Munslow, Deconstructing History (London: Routledge, 2006). 36 Oleg Lagutin, Samoliot Na Stole (Moscow: Izd-vo DOSAAF SSSR, 1988), 5. 37 On the archive of knowledge and its ideological implications, see Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge; and the Discourse on Language (New York: Pantheon Books, 1982), 79–131; Antoinette M Burton, Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History (Durham, N.C.: Duke University 76  advice is neatly visualized through the didactic suggestion to use separate folders for the storage of materials related to each model. Short historical notes on the prototype‘s service in the Russian or Soviet armed forces, which were supplied with assembly instructions in kits, served as entry points to this archive, but they only provoked a desire for knowledge about everything related to the history of the model‘s real prototype. To satisfy this desire, modellers were advised to turn to ―specialized journals… magazines, photographs from newspapers, books, memoirs, etc.,‖ and to copy relevant materials to ―one folder,‖ thus reproducing in their apartments a particular section of the grand historical archive. The structural elements of this archive were neither classes nor productive relations, as would have been implied by historical materialism, but technological objects, their designers and prominent users and operators. There were different means by which modellers were expected to further explore this archive. Supervisors of modelling groups in the Palaces of Young Pioneers and centers of young technical designers organized trips to airports, sea ports or military bases, where their students encountered real technological objects and their operators. Meetings with World War II veterans and historical lectures by supervisors were also obligatory activities in state-run modelling clubs. Several such events were typically held in the course of an academic year.38 Modellers were also advised to read specialized and popular technical magazines and literature. The author of the book quoted above referred his readers, in particular, to Modelist-Konstruktor which provided accurate blueprints for models, but always supplemented them with patriotic or at least didactic episodes from their operational histories. For example, in 1982 Modelist-Konstruktor started publishing a series of blueprints of models of historical fighter planes, which continued into 1983 and 1984, and covered the period from World War I to the Vietnam War. The articles gave a comparative overview of major national designs produced in a certain period                                                                                                                                                  Press, 2005); Ann Laura Stoler, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009). It is curious that modellers sometimes explicitly recognize that their collections can be interpreted as an archive of knowledge, as in the following quote which refers to a collection of armored vehicles: ―My brother‘s archive of armor is well known in the Internet‖: ―Kto kak nachinal: istoriia hobbi,‖ Diarama.Ru:, accessed on 21 October 2014. 38 NARK, f. R-2323, op. 1,d. 63a, l. 68–69; d. 126, l. 75, 87. 77  showing how technological innovations introduced by one manufacturer provoked a wave of changes among all air powers. However, the detailed blueprints were provided only for those aircrafts which were designed or at least used by the Russian or Soviet air forces, and the articles always provided episodes from their operational histories featuring prominent aces and the plane‘s contribution to the national war effort. The first article in this series discussed early fighters of World War I. Since the Russian Empire had failed to develop a national fighter aircraft by its outbreak, the author focused on the French Morane-Saulnier G, which had been supplied to the Russian army before the war. The article opened with a story of the aerial ramming—the first in history—of an enemy plane by the Russian aviator Petr Nesterov flying a Morane-Saulnier G, which made it possible to include this plane in the pantheon of Soviet aviation history.   Figure 8. Illustration from Modelist-Konstruktor for the feature article about the Morane-Saulnier G showing Pyotr Nesterov‘s attack on an Austro-Hungarian plane in 1914.39   The modellers who aspired to build this plane were given only one painting scheme and one set of identification signs – those of the plane which belonged to Nesterov on his last flight (Figure 8). To supplement the young hobbyists‘ archive of historical                                                  39 Modelist-Konstruktor, 1 (1982): color insert between pp. 16 and 17. 78  knowledge, the article quoted praise from Russian imperial newspapers: ―So the fight in the air has commenced. And the person who blazed this trail was the Russian hero, the owner of the wreath of glory for the [first in history] loop, Pyotr Nikolaevich Nesterov.‖ The article took for granted that its hero, Pyotr Nesterov, was an imperial officer and a noble, a representative of the class to which the Bolshevik revolution was most hostile, and that his attitude to the ―First World Imperialist War‖ was that of dignity and patriotism determined by his class origins. In the article, he is quoted as allegedly giving a vow: ―I give you the word of honour of a Russian officer that this Austrian will cease flying,‖ something that could hardly be farther from the Bolsheviks‘ ―revolutionary defeatism‖ and ―struggle for the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war‖ as represented in Soviet history textbooks.40 As the first article in a series which traced the evolution of fighter aviation to the third-generation jet fighters, it also created a historical continuity between the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union by tracing the genealogy of contemporary Soviet aviation to its imperial Russian predecessor, thus implicitly undermining the idea of the Bolshevik Revolution as a radical rupture with the pre-revolutionary era.  This tendency was even more visible in ship modelling: numerous publications on models of ships of Kievan or Muscovite Russia and the Russian Empire emphasized the inventiveness of Russian shipbuilders, their use of cutting-edge technologies and innovations, the valour of Russian sailors in all of Russia‘s wars at sea and the pre-eminence of Russian seafarers in the exploration of the world‘s oceans. The same emphasis can be observed in the activities of state-run hobby groups: there was a compulsory requirement for their supervisors to lecture their students on the history of the Russian navy from ―ancient times.‖41 This emphasis on historical continuity                                                  40 A. M. Pankratova, ed., Istoriia SSSR: Uchebnik dlia 10 klassa srednei shkoly (Moscow: Uchpedgiz, 1952), 138–174; S. A. Seraev, ed., Istoriia SSSR: Epokha sotsializma (Moscow: Prosveshcheniie, 1973), 11–13, 32–35; A. P. Averianov et al, Novaia istoriia, 1871–1917: Uchebnik dlia 9 klassa srednei shkoly (Moscow: Prosveshcheniie, 1987), 228–229, quotation on p. 228. For a discussion of Soviet textbooks as part of the Marxist-Leninist master narrative, see James V. Wertsch, ―Narratives as Cultural Tools in Sociocultural Analysis: Official History in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia,‖ Ethos 28, no. 4 (2000): 524–525.  41 NARK, f. R-2323, op. 1,d. 162, l. 74. 79  extending beyond the October Revolution lured Soviet hobbyists into imagining Soviet history in de facto primordialist terms in which Soviet equalled Russian, and national history was explained as a linear and progressive development from the Middle Ages on. In at least two cases the authors of books on model ship building mentioned to their multiethnic Soviet audience that the Slavs of Kievan Rus were ―our ancestors.‖42 The box of the model kit of the Russian frigate Oryol (the model was produced throughout the 1980s) had the following text:  The history of shipbuilding dates back to ancient times. The naval craft of the Slavs had many original features which distinguished them from the shipbuilders of the Mediterranean. Slavs built ladyas which were equally fit for river and sea journeys. They were steady on waves and had good maneuverability. Ladyas served for many centuries as the largest commercial and naval ships. In the seventeenth century Russia started building warships. In 1668, in the village of Dedinovo at the influx of the Moscow River into the Oka, a double-decked, three-masted sailing vessel was built. It was 25 meters long (similar to a ladya) and 6.5 meters wide. The ship was named the Oryol [Eng. eagle]. It was armed with six-pound and three-pound guns. It was the first Russian warship.   The reference to Slavic ladyas, which occupied half of this short historical note, was quite out of place in pragmatic terms, on the box of a model of a very different vessel; instead, its message was a symbolic creation of a continuous linkage from the ―ancient times‖ through the seventeenth century to the 1980s, when the model became available for Soviet hobbyists. The silences of this text are also symptomatic, because this note, while emphasizing the technical details of the Oryol, failed to mention that Dutch shipbuilders played an important role in its design and construction.43 As insignificant and short as this historical note on the box of a model kit was, it encapsulated and reproduced a historical narrative which operated in terms of nations and accompanying                                                  42 Luchinov, Iunyi korablestroitel, 7; Dremliuga and Dubinina, Iunomu sudomodelistu, 21. 43 V. N. Krasnov, ―Sudostroienie i morekhodstvo v dopetrovskoi Rusi,‖ in Yu.M. Baturin et al, eds., Institut istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki im. S. I. Vavilova. Godichnaia nauchnaia konferentsiia. 2010 (Moscow: Ianus-K, 2010): 482. 80  concepts such as national pride, which was reflected in the praise of ladyas‘ seafaring qualities. The ubiquity of such texts in the activities of modelling enthusiasts created a many million-strong army of Soviet citizens who learned, in a casual and non-centralized manner, to envision and interpret Soviet history as a continuation of the Russian nation-building project.  In the Soviet context, the roots of this phenomenon to ―praise all things Russian‖ dated back to the mid-1930s, when Soviet leaders adopted a Russocentric stance in their interpretations of scientific progress – a change which itself had its genealogy in the late imperial era.44 It was, however, in the post-Stalinist period that this tendency became independently (re)produced at the grass-roots level owing to the general de-centralization of Soviet society. Articles in technical journals, specialized literature on modelling, and supervisors of modelling hobby groups alike encouraged young and adult modellers to acquire or borrow from libraries books about the histories of prominent ships, aircraft and ground vehicles published in runs of hundreds of thousands of copies by such presses as Voenizdat, which specialized in military histories, and Sudostroenie, which specialized in naval histories. State modelling clubs also purchased such literature to lend books to their students.45 The urge to construct their models in to the tiniest and most authentic detail lured modellers into the consumption of historical narratives that glorified the Russian and Soviet war effort and celebrated technological progress. The discourse on modelling created, as part of its archive of historical knowledge, a library on the history of technology, which placed technological objects and their famous designers and operators at the heart of the historical process. In military histories and histories of ships or aircraft, which were strongly associated with modelling, the fetishism of detail reached its apogee.Authors provided maximum information on their development history, technical specifications, and modifications; compared them with similar designs of their time; and meticulously described their                                                  44 Ethan Pollock, Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006), 7; Palmer, Dictatorship of the Air, 32–36. 45 NARK, f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 162, l. 86. 81  operational histories, including minute-by-minute battle accounts.46 Fetishization of a model‘s detail entailed fetishization of historical detail; both lured enthusiasts of modelling into imagining the historical process as a progressive development driven by the genius of engineers and the valour of military commanders, sailors, or pilots – in other words, the users and operators of technological objects.47 Models captured their prototypes not in the relations of production, but at some moment of ―consumption‖ (hence the advice to paint model fighter aircrafts in the colours and identification marks of famous aces). Their representations in the Soviet popular archive of historical knowledge reflected them not in their circulation through social space, but rather frozen at some, presumably most glorious, episode of biography (Figure 8). Scale models thus confirmed and reinforced the historical alienation of labour in the production of technological objects by emphasizing the process of their consumption.48 The explanatory logic they brought to the Soviet historical imagination was conspicuously nationalist and non-Marxist, which is particularly evident if one looks further at the historicities that scale models produced when accumulated in collections.   Historicities of Scale Model Collections Among the characters in Walter Benjamin‘s The Arcades Project, both the flâneur and the collector are engaged in a never-ending search for rare, curious, and decaying objects. They, however, have different, if not divergent, interests. The flâneur is seeking things which were denied a place in history; his curiosity is provoked by historicities forgotten and discarded. In contrast, the collector is interested in objects that belong to one particular historical system, which is the collection itself. This is how the collector participates in cultural production, for the collections are the sites in which historicities are materialized and thus preserved and transmitted through generations. Together with                                                  46 See, e.g., R. M. Melnikov, Kreiser Variag (Leningrad: Sudostroenie, 1983). 47 Cf. with Gabrielle Hecht‘s discussion of the historical discourse produced by French technocrats: Hecht, The Radiance of France, 21–22. 48 Alf Hornborg, ―Technology as Fetish: Marx, Latour, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism,‖ Theory, Culture & Society 31, no. 4 (July 1, 2014): 119–40. 82  narratives, collections are the cultural forms through which history (both past and future) is imagined and controlled.49  Collections of scale models were, perhaps, less common in the Soviet Union than collections of stamps, postcards or coins, but they still enjoyed enormous popularity. Palaces of Young Pioneers and clubs of young technical designers boasted large collections which were built by several cohorts of schoolchildren. While the majority of home collections represented a dozen or two amateurishly assembled plastic models, usually unpainted, without decals and with visible traces of glue,50 there were also plenty of enthusiasts who created extensive and elaborate collections of models showing an extreme level of resemblance to their originals. Unlike beginner modellers who were satisfied with whatever assortment of model kits they found in stores, these hobbyists engaged in searches for rare kits, and their demand created lively grey markets around Soviet toy stores in major Soviet cities, where one could buy model kits unavailable in the Soviet retail trade, including kits of foreign manufacturers imported by tourists, diplomats or sailors.51 When no kits were available, such modellers turned to wood, plastic, textile, cardboard and other basic materials, and plunged into original or reconstructed blueprints, historical photographs and textual descriptions.52 Since building models from scratch required an intimate knowledge of the prototype‘s tiniest details, as well as advanced building skills and special tools, they often formed amateur modelling clubs to share knowledge and instruments. Such clubs usually operated during evening                                                  49 Benjamin, The Arcades Project, 204–205. See also: Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993), 151–166; James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988), 215–251; Susan Pearce, ed., Interpreting Objects and Collections (London ; New York: Routledge, 1994); Kevin M. Moist and David C. Banash, Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2013).  50 See an Internet discussion of late Soviet-era personal experiences in collecting scale models: ―Kto kak nachinal: istoriia hobbi,‖ Diarama.Ru:, accessed 21 October 2014. 51 Interview with Igor Zhmurin, Petrozavodsk, 7 June 2014, author‘s personal archive; letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 25 October 2014; letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014; ―Plasticart-4. Grazhdanskiie samolioty SSSR,‖ NNM.RU:, accessed 22 October 2014. 52 NARK, f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 63a, l. 28; ―Zapishite moi adres,‖ Modelist-Konstruktor, 6 (1969): 13. 83  hours on the premises of state-funded children‘s clubs.53 They also posted classified ads in newspapers and journals offering to exchange blueprints and other data on models‘ prototypes with modellers from other Soviet regions.54 Such a level of engagement in the modelling hobby changed the relationship between the enthusiast and his objects of modelling. An engaged enthusiast never sought just ―any‖ model, since the creation of a model that resembles its original in the tiniest possible detail was an incredibly time- and labor-intensive process, which sometimes included a search of archival materials and interviews with former designers and operators, and could take months or sometimes even years to complete.55 Any collection, private or public alike, follows a certain classificatory scheme.56 A rare modeller, however, started compiling a collection with a preconceived classification in his head. As a rule, models themselves suggested this scheme to him A 1989 interview of Modelist-Konstruktor with the supervisor of a technical center for schoolchildren in Kotelnich, a small town in central Russia, praised the center‘s collection of models and explicated its logic:  At first, boys produced single models, such as a dreadnought or a moon rover, a walking excavator or a dredge. So much labor invested in each of them!… But how to preserve the materialized products of children‘s labor?… This is when the supervisor had the idea to use these models to create a children‘s museum. Yet would it be correct if this collection would have a model of an eighteenth-century metallurgical plant, but would not reflect the development of Soviet metallurgy nowadays? Or a model of the first electric engine in the world without a story about the history of electricity?57 This is why [the supervisor] decided                                                  53 Letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 25 October 2014; letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014. 54 For examples of such classified, see Modelist-Konstruktor, 6 (1969): 13; Modelist-Konstruktor, 2 (1970): 19, 27; Modelist-Konstruktor, 2 (1973): 32. 55 S. Pavlov, ―Uvlecheniie na vsiu zhizn,‖ Kryliia rodiny, 12 (1970): 26.  56 Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects (London: Verso, 1996), 87–89; Stewart, On Longing, 161–163. 57 The author here refers to an electric motor built in 1834 by Moritz von Jacobi, a German physicist and engineer, in Königsberg. Von Jacobi was later employed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, which gave Soviet historians of science and technology regard this invention as belonging to history of Russia.  84  that they should address a certain branch of Soviet industry or a type of Soviet military technology only as an assemblage in historical progression.58   The move from an object to a collection is represented here as driven by historicities inherently present in the objects of collecting. In the article, the modelling enthusiast describes his drive to create a museum of scale models as quite literally caused by their longing not to be exhibited alone.59 A model, when taken alone, was indeed a ―materialized product of children‘s labor,‖ but as an object of display in a ―children‘s museum‖ it abhorred a vacuum around itself and demanded a collection. Due to the semiotic nature of a scale model, their collections stood for a fragment of the real world (―a certain branch of Soviet industry or a type of Soviet military technology‖), but their very incorporation into a collection created a different system of signification in which it was possible for models of World War I planes to stand next to jets of the Cold War era, or for the Sputnik to be placed alongside not-yet-existent, but already modelled space probes and crafts of the future (Figure 9).                                                       58 Modelist-Konstruktor, 1 (1989): 2. 59 Jean Baudrillard argues that this is typical for any collectable object: ―This is why owning absolutely any object is always so satisfying and so disappointing at the same time: a whole series lies behind any single object, and makes it into a source of anxiety.‖ Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 86. 85    Figure 9. Soviet private and public collections of scale models. Left: scale models of Soviet aircrafts of Leonid Ugryumov (1970).60 Right: scale models of imagined future Soviet space crafts of the Rostov-na-Donu Palace of Young Pioneers (1981).61   The inclusion of an object in a collection comprises two actions: first, the object is decontextualized from its original environment and, second, it is recontextualized in a collection. Most collections, therefore, exist as systems in which meanings are produced internally, through the interplay of differences between objects of collecting. It is more complicated with scale models, since they, unlike most other objects of collecting, have no prior circulation as commodities or technological objects, but are intentionally created as representations of real, usually historical, objects. In this respect, scale models exist on the border territory between Saussure‘s and Peirce‘s semiotics. They are incomplete without other models, that is, without a collection, which can therefore be described as a Saussurean paradigm.62 Not surprisingly, the most typical story among modelling enthusiasts about how they got into this hobby starts with an accidental purchase or present of a model, which triggered the interest in modelling and led to the purchase of new model kits and the creation of their first collection.63 To put it in Jean Baudrillard‘s                                                  60 Krylya Rodiny, 12 (1970): 26. 61 Modelist-Konstruktor, 2 (1981): back cover. 62 Susan M. Pearce, ―Objects as meaning; or narrating the past,‖ in Pearce, Interpreting Objects and Collections, 19–29. 63 Interview with Igor Zhmurin, Petrozavodsk, 7 June 2014; ―Kto kak nachinal: istoriia hobbi,‖ Diorama.Ru:, accessed 21 October 2014. 86  words, ―the need to possess the love object can be satisfied only by a succession of objects, by repetition.‖64  Yet the lack of their own history prior to inclusion in a collection prevents models from creating a hermetic world, in which objects of collecting acquire their meanings exclusively through interaction with each other. Without biographies of their own, models abduct the biographies of their prototypes and stand as icons – in Peirce‘s typology of signs – of them; in addition, unlike with most other types of collections, the classification scheme of a scale model collection is never based on the properties of models themselves: they are arranged according to the properties and specifications that their prototypes possessed, such as country of origin, operational history, type of hull or propulsion, and so forth. The decontextualization process, therefore, can never be completed, since the work of a model collector is that of a shuttle, perpetually moving between the object he is manufacturing or possesses and historical information about the actual vehicle. That is why a scale model is never an ideal or completed object: as a hobbyist acquires new knowledge and the skills of his discipline, old models are often remade in better detail, replaced with new ones which are deemed more authentic, or just removed from the collection.  In this sense, scale models are never passive objects with a ―subjective status,‖ of which Baudrillard speaks in his analysis of ―the system of collecting.‖65 They urge modelling enthusiasts to embark on a never-ending search for historical details pertaining to military and technological history, which is understood in national terms, since the country of origin and operation is a major classification rubric in the hobby of modeling. Models simultaneously encapsulated and generated the imagination of Soviet history as a continuous development from the early East Slavic states to the USSR and further into the communist future (models of non-existent space crafts), and their collections added a performative aspect to it. With sailing vessels standing next to steamships and piston aircrafts next to jets on the same shelf, scale model collections performed historical progress by showing technological change for the eyes of modelling enthusiasts and their                                                  64 Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 86. 65 Ibid. 87  audience: both predominantly male, educated and willing to comprehend history as a process of nation-building. Tony Bennett in ―The Exhibitionary Complex‖ pointed out how architectural scale models – ―the miniature ideal cities‖ – subordinated urban space to the ―white, bourgeois, and … male eye of the metropolitan powers.‖66 In a similar manner, collections of scale model vehicles established a visual dominance over history interpreted as a historical continuum driven by technological progress and the struggles of major world powers, among which Russia/Soviet Union was thought of as occupying a leading position. This is how, for example, a visitor to the museum of the S.M. Kirov Submarine School in Leningrad described his experience of the museum‘s collection of scale models:  [The museum was located] in a long red brick building which had served as naval barracks before the [Bolshevik] revolution. Every submariner dreams of visiting its rooms. For they contain not only the history of the submarine school, but of the entire [Soviet] submarine fleet. Model submarines – from the very first one built in the Baltic Shipyard in 1866 to modern nuclear submarines, unique historical documents…67   The author then mentions in the same paragraph the Russian submarine Tiulen, which sank four and captured two enemy ships in 1916, and the Soviet submarine Volk of the early 1920s, before discussing the heroism of Soviet sailors in World War II.The collection performed this historical continuity by bringing together imperial Russian and Soviet submarines before the eyes of the author-as-spectator; model submarines as displayed objects suggested a difference in details, but the similarity in substance, which was ―the history… of the entire [Soviet] submarine fleet.‖ In this particular case, scale models were assisted in the making of this continuity by another material object – the pre-revolutionary building of the barracks of the Imperial Russian Navy, in which the museum was located. The collections are performative in J. L. Austin‘s understanding of                                                  66 Tony Bennett, ―The Exhibitionary Complex,‖ New Formations, no. 4 (Spring 1988): 96. 67 Viktor Oliinik, Radi zhizni na zemle (Moscow: DOSAAF, 1988), 433. 88  this term,68 because they materialize the very categories of historical time that they portrayed and call their audience into social being. When the author of the abstract above wrote that ―[e]very submariner dreams of visiting [the] rooms‖ of the museum with its scale model collection, he did not write about the mental state of all Soviet sailors – he described the effect that this collection exerted on himself. Appreciating the power of the collection after it had called him into being, he was that exemplary Soviet submarine sailor, always male, most likely of Slavic origins, well trained and educated to operate complex machinery, aware of his historical roots going back through the flames of the Civil War and World War II to the Imperial Russian Navy.   Conclusion James Clifford linked the collection and modern selfhood, speaking of collections as ―the assemblage of a material ‗world,‘ the marking-off of a subjective domain that is not ‗other‘.‖69 Yet since he was preoccupied with the genealogy of collecting, he interpreted it as mainly a reflection of the modern self, an artifact of subjectivation forces. If we look at scale models and their collections synchronically, the effect is apparently bilateral: they not only objectify ontologies and classifications for any given culture but also produce responsible citizens by performing history as national and progressive. In this respect, the scale modeling hobby was not a mere artifact of Soviet techno-politics: scale models were its active producers and participants materializing the Soviet technocratic historical imagination and luring people into understanding history as a linear process reduced to scientific and technological progress. The obsession with detail moved scale models from the domain of private possession into the domain of the spectacular and hence the public. In the Soviet Union, the exemplary manifestation of this process was regional and national competitions of scale models among schoolchildren attending extracurricular hobby groups. The winners were determined by the authenticity of their models, and the authenticity was interpreted as                                                  68 J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962). 69 Clifford, The Predicament of Culture, 218. 89  whether a scale model was constructed in accurate detail or not. Moreover, the winning models from all over the USSR were often exhibited in the pavilion Young Technical Designers at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy in Moscow or in other central spots of the Soviet exhibitionary complex, such as the Moscow Palace of Young Pioneers or even the Kremlin,70 an ultimate move from someone‘s private possession into the public visual domain. Any model was, from its earliest stage of existence as a kit or a set of blueprints, a potential object for display. This potentiality found its realization in collections of scale models, thus preventing them from becoming merely objects of possession. Scale models consumed the private time of their enthusiasts to produce social perceptions of historical time and a spectacle of history. The fetishization of detail – a necessary condition for models to become objects of display – interpellated a modeller, in James Clifford‘s gloss, as a ―good,‖ rather than ―obsessive,‖ collector, the one whose relationship to the object was regulated by social rules and socially acceptable emotions.71  In the last years of perestroika and in the first years after the collapse of the USSR, modelling as a hobby blossomed, now that its enthusiasts finally received unrestricted access to the products of Western manufacturers and new private manufacturers emerged all over the ex-USSR. Modellers acquired a voice which was no longer mediated by Komsomol censors. At first it was in the form of the magazine M-Hobbi, founded, published and read by enthusiasts of the scale modelling hobby, and later in Internet forums and social networks. Around them, critical perspectives of Soviet history dominated the post-Soviet cultural field. Yet surrounded by collections of Russian and Soviet planes, ships and ground vehicles, modellers produced nostalgic narratives, where the object of nostalgia was the Soviet-era visions of historical continuity and progress – or, in Reinhart Koselleck‘s term, ―a past future,‖ which was betrayed by the collapse of the USSR. A 1996 editorial in the M-Hobbi argued that                                                   70 Modelist-Konstruktor, 7 (1981): back cover. 71 Clifford, The Predicament of Culture, 218–219. 90  products of Ukrainian [scale model] companies arouse an equal (if not greater) interest in the Russian market than products of their more renowned Western counterparts. This is hardly surprising: after all, Ukrainian companies choose Soviet vehicles as the prototypes of their models. The vehicles that were designed, produced and operated in combat by our ancestors who at that time were not yet ordered to divide themselves into Russians and Ukrainians.72  The referential function of models turns out to be capable of overcoming not only a temporal rupture, but also the territorial dismembering of the USSR. Models heal a lost geographic unity by embodying an imagined historical community and continuity (a reference to Soviet prototypes built and operated ―by our ancestors‖). For post-Soviet modelling enthusiasts, collections became a medium which materialized this historical imagination and rendered the territorial collapse and temporal rupture of 1991 as non-natural and contrary to the logic of historical development that found its manifestations in scale model collections.  The 1990s were a decade of unprecedented historical pluralism in Russia, with critical assessments of Soviet history by Russian liberal historians and organizations, such as Memorial, translations of works by Western apologists of totalitarian interpretations of Soviet history, and widely publicized revisionism of Viktor Suvorov. With national pride under fire from many sides, scale modelling turned out to be one of the forms of historical imagination in which this emotion found its refuge. To use Slavoj  ižek‘s insightful observation, in a culture characterized by the absence of one dominant master narrative, where a set of narratives co-existed as counter-narratives to each other, ―the things… themselves believe in [people‘s] place.‖73 Enthusiasts of scale modelling organized regular competitions and hosted permanent exhibitions in their clubs, which often shared space with local military and patriotic clubs, teams of diggers searching for the remains of missing Soviet soldiers and wartime equipment (poiskoviki), and clubs of historical re-enactment. For example, the museum of the Petrozavodsk Palace No. 2 of Children‘s Arts and Crafts has an exposition which has been created since the early                                                  72 ―Editorial,‖ M-Hobbi, 3 (1996): 1. 73 Slavoj  ižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London; New York: Verso, 2008), 34. 91  1990s and which combines World War II-era weapons and military equipment found by local diggers, wax figures in historical uniforms of the Imperial Russian and Soviet Army, and collections of models of historical vehicles ranging from the early twentieth to the turn of the twenty-first century (Figure 10).     Figure 10. The Museum of the Petrozavodsk Palace no. 2 of Children‘s Arts and Crafts. Left: diorama showing a scene from World War I; center: collection of scale models of historical armored vehicles and a fragment of a World War II-themed diorama; right: collection of scale model aircraft. Photographs by the author, June 2014.   The ontologies and classifications encapsulated in this and numerous other collections reproduce the historical logic that emerged in the Soviet cultural context. In a similar way, although modeling magazines and guides are no longer published by state-run presses, they follow the same principles of exclusion as their Soviet predecessors did, with non-Russian/Soviet models largely marginalized unless they had a strong connection to Russian military history, as in the case of Nazi Germany‘s armored vehicles or NATO aircraft. 74 It is hardly surprising, therefore, that since the mid-2000s, after having been largely neglected for over a decade, the modelling hobby as an                                                  74 A. M. Sevastianov, Volshebstvo modelei: Posobiie dlia sudomodelistov (Nizhny Novgorod: Nizhpoligraf, 1997); Nikolai Polikarpov, Modelnyie khitrosti: Posobiie dlia modelistov (Moscow: Tseikhgauz, 2006). 92  organized state-sponsored activity has experienced steady growth.75 The recent revival of patriotism as a dominant social discourse requires objectification, and scale model of Soviet ships, aircrafts and vehicles are a perfect medium for performing patriotism and historical continuity, both in public and private space. In fact, one can argue that they had never stopped performing this continuity and in this way foreshadowed – among numerable other factors – national reassertion as a pressing social demand in early-twenty-first century Russian society.                                                     75 Aleksandr Leontovich and Boris Rudenko, ―Vozrozhdeniie NTTM prikhodit v shkolu,‖ Nauka i zhizn, 6 (2004): 40–41; Boris Rudenko, ―Krug chistoi vody,‖ Nauka i zhizn, 10 (2006): 49–51. 93    Figure 11. Texture of log walls of an early-twentieth-century house from the White Sea coast of the Republic of Karelia. Photograph @ 2015 Ilya Timin.  94  Chapter 3. “A Wonderful Song of Wood”: Heritage Architecture and the Search for Historical Authenticity in North Russia  The architecture of peasants‘ houses, as well as their tools, everyday objects, design, and other forms of folk art, have preserved much of what emerged in far more remote times, what is rooted in the deep foundations of feudalism, what goes back to the cradle of the ancient ethnic cultures of the [Soviet] people.  Aleksandr Opolovnikov, Museums of Wooden Architecture1  Superficially, two of the UNESCO heritage monuments in Russia – the Narkomfin Communal House in Moscow and Kizhi Pogost in the Republic of Karelia – are the absolute opposite of each other. The Narkominfin House (Figure 12, left) epitomizes the early Soviet approach to architectural planning. For Soviet Marxist architects and urban planners of the 1920s and 1930s, the city was a space intended to organize a new social life. Their writing and practice sought to transform urban space in ways that would allow for new social relations to emerge. Moisei Ginzburg (1892–1946), a theorist of Soviet Constructivist architecture, reflected this transformative social approach to architecture in the design of the Narkomfin house (1930). With its minimized private space and in-built service facilities, including daycare and a canteen, the Narkomfin House had to act as a ―social condenser‖ (a term coined by Ginzburg in 1928), that is, as a material form that aggregated people into collectives and forged new forms of communal life.2 In contrast, Kizhi Pogost (Figure 12, right) is an architectural complex consisting of two eighteenth-century wooden churches and an octagonal bell tower built in 1862. It is also the core exhibit of an open-air museum of wooden architecture that was established after World                                                  1 A. V. Opolovnikov, Muzei dereviannogo zodchestva (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1968), 9.  2 Victor Buchli, An Archaeology of Socialism (Oxford: Berg, 2000), 64–76. 95  War II to collect, preserve and display objects of North Russian village architecture. Whereas the Narkomfin House embodied the understanding of history as a vibrant, present and active process, the museum of Kizhi represented an attempt to capture and freeze it in a historical landscape. The Narkomfin House sought to materialize the socialist future in concrete and glass. Kizhi Pogost objectified the national past in wood. Yet there is a deep connection between these two objects. The architectural preservation effort in the postwar USSR encapsulated in the open-air museum of Kizhi drew extensively on the theory of early Soviet Constructivist architecture. Its main ideologist, the restoration expert of Kizhi Pogost and the first designer of the museum of Kizhi, Aleksandr Opolovnikov (1911–1994), was a student of Ginzburg.     Figure 12. Soviet architectural contrasts. Left: The Narkomfin Building, 1930s. Photo by Robert Byron. Right: Kizhi Pogost, 1969. Source: Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation;  96  As the Soviet leadership turned to nationalist interpretations of Soviet history, a trend that emerged in the 1930s and intensified multifold during World War II,3 this change required objectification in architecture. As a result, the postwar period saw a growing effort on behalf of architectural preservation. The foundation for a changed state politics of architectural preservation was laid with decrees in 1947 and 1948 that expanded the list of heritage objects in the USSR and imposed a legal responsibility for their proper maintenance on regional authorities. The de-Stalinization reforms also greatly intensified the scale of museumification of old buildings and other structures. In 1960, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) Council of Ministers passed a resolution establishing a national register of buildings and structures, recognizing designated buildings and structures as officially protected monuments and further expanding the practice and coverage of architectural preservation.4 Titled ―On the further improvement of the protection of monuments of culture in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic‖ (No. 1327 of 30 August 1960), it included a list of several thousand buildings and structures, mostly churches.5 The list grew almost every year, and in the course of the last three decades of the Soviet Union, the landscape of late socialism became punctuated with tens of thousands of buildings, including churches, that became officially recognized as objects of historical and cultural heritage.6 This process was                                                  3 David Brandenberger, National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931-1956 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002); Kevin M. F. Platt and David Brandenberger, eds., Epic Revisionism: Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006); Richard Stites, ―Soviet Russian Wartime Culture: Freedom and Control, Spontaneity and Consciousness,‖ in The People’s War: Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union, ed. Robert W. Thurston and Bernd Bonwetsch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 171–86. 4 On the regulation of architectural preservation in Soviet legislation, see: L. I. Livshits, ―Istoriia zakonodatelstva v oblasti okhrany i restavratsii pamiatnikov kulturry,‖ L. I. Livshits and A. V. Trezvov, eds., Restavratsiia pamiatnikov istorii i iskusstva v Rossii v XIX–XX vekakh. Istoriia, problemy: Uchebnoe posobie (Moscow: Alma Mater, 2008), 51–72. See also Catriona Kelly, ―From ‗counter-revolutionary monuments‘ to ‗national heritage‘,‖ Cahiers du monde russe 54, no. 1 (2014): 131–164. 5 ―Postanovlenie SM RSFSR ot 30 avgusta 1960 g. No. 1327 ‗O dalneishem uluchshenii dela okhrany pamiatnikov kultury v RSFSR‘,‖ accessed through the online database of legal information Konsultant Plus:;base=ESU;n=3268, accessed December 1, 2015.  6 The official register of ―objects of the historical and cultural heritage‖ of the Russian Federation currently includes over 140,000 items. Its online version provides detailed description for 120,000 of them:, accessed December 1, 2015.  97  followed by a related one in which old buildings and structures from abandoned villages were disassembled, moved, and restored in specially designated areas to create open air museums of heritage (usually wooden) architecture. The map below shows major open air museums established in the USSR after World War II (Figure 13); according to a Polish museologist, by 1990, their total number had grown to 58.7    Figure 13. A schematic map of major open air museums established after World War II in the Soviet Union. Designed by the author. Sources: Opolovnikov, Muzei dereviannogo zodchestva;   This chapter examines the museumification of old architecture in the post-World War II USSR as a process that reflected and stimulated the nationalist understanding of Soviet history in its Romantic interpretation. Focusing on North Russia, where vernacular architecture survived better than elsewhere in the USSR due to late modernization, I show how wood, a traditional building material in local communities, became a symbol of the ―deep cultural roots‖ of Soviet society. Recent scholarship in the studies of socialist materiality has enriched our knowledge of how socialist regimes                                                  7 Jerzy Czajkowski, ―Muzeiam pod otkrytym nebom – 100 let,‖ N. A. Nikishin and O. G. Sevan, eds., Muzeevedenie: Muzei-zapovedniki (Moscow: NII Kultury, 1991), 10–26. 98  sought to objectify their understanding of modernity and visions of historical progress in such materials as plastic, concrete, iron, and glass.8 This chapter seeks to add wood to this register of materials that was instrumental in the objectification of socialism; as a material, wood, due to its very texture, could serve as a living witness of its authentic history. Whereas the Soviet Marxist architecture of the 1920s and 1930s understood history as a vibrant process and sought to contribute to its making with new material forms, the postwar architectural preservation movement sought to transform history into visual pleasure through spatial constructions. The paradoxical nature of this situation lay in the fact that Soviet preservationists borrowed the rhetoric and methodology of Soviet constructivist architecture. For both, the search for authentic architectural forms was the essence of their activities. But whereas Soviet Marxist architects such as Ginzburg argued that architectural forms had to serve a new function; namely, the organization of the material conditions of social life (hence his call to Soviet architects to ―realize [their] design from the inside out‖9), for Soviet enthusiasts of architectural preservation the forms with which they worked were devoid of any functions other than performing history. This translated into an effort to find the primordial, ideal aesthetic system allegedly inherent in wooden vernacular architecture and cleanse surviving objects of any later accretions. In a statement used in the epigraph to this article, Aleksandr Opolovnikov argued that traditional wooden architecture ―preserved much of what… goes back to the cradle of the ancient ethnic cultures of the [Soviet] people.‖10  The architectural preservation movement, which existed both in the Soviet center and the periphery, was intrinsically connected to the struggle for social power in post-World War II Soviet society. Stephen Bittner and Catriona Kelly have shown in their                                                  8 Rolf Hellebust, Flesh to Metal: Soviet Literature and the Alchemy of Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003); Eli Rubin, Synthetic Socialism: Plastics and Dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012); Krisztina Fehérváry, Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013); Julia Bekman Chadaga, Optical Play: Glass, Vision, and Spectacle in Russian Culture (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2014). 9 Moisei Ginzburg, ―Novye metody arkhitekturnogo myshlenia,‖ Sovremennaia arkhitektura, no. 1 (1926): 3. 10 Opolovnikov, Muzei dereviannogo zodchestva, 9.  99  research on architectural preservation in Moscow and Leningrad, respectively, how heritage architecture gave Soviet urban intelligentsia the social power to define the historical imagination by appealing to national memory as an essential, materialized phenomenon. While many Soviet urban planners and officials were still eager to produce new socialist forms of social organization through architecture, growing preservation activism among Soviet intellectuals after World War II, and especially beginning in the mid-1950s, complicated any large-scale reconstruction or demolition of heritage architecture. Using the postwar legislation on architectural preservation, as well as diverse institutional opportunities such as letters to newspapers or public hearings, heritage architecture enthusiasts became a force to be reckoned with in late Soviet architectural planning.11 The campaigns in Moscow and Leningrad were spearheaded by ―old intelligentsia,‖ – that is, people whose families had lived in these cities for several generations. At stake for them was their immediate lived space. It was different in the Soviet provinces where an architectural preservation movement also sprouted up in the late 1940s and further developed in the post-Stalinist era. The people whose work lay in the foundation of open air museums of wooden architecture, such as Aleksandr Opolovnikov and Vyacheslav Orfinsky in North Russia or Sergei Balandin in Siberia, came from regional urban centers, such as Petrozavodsk and Irkutsk, or from other Soviet regions. Their desire to protect heritage architecture, driven by romantic nationalist forms of historical imagination, led them to extrapolate the perceived historical authenticity from buildings to their residents. The focus on the authentic architectural form translated into the artificial archaization and exoticization of North Russian communities.  The geographic focus of this chapter is the Republic of Karelia, a region in the north-west of Russia. Between 1940 and 1956 it was officially known as the Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic and was a full member of the Soviet Union on a par with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Estonia and other Soviet republics. Unlike in the other                                                  11 Bittner, The Many Lives of Khrushchev’s Thaw; Catriona Kelly, ―Socialist Churches: Heritage Preservation and ‗Cultic Buildings‘ in Leningrad, 1924–1940,‖ Slavic Review 71, no. 4 (December 1, 2012): 792–823; Kelly, ―From ‗Counter-Revolutionary Monuments‘‖. 100  members of the Union, however, its title nation was an ethnic minority in the republic: in 1937, the share of Karelians in its population was 29.3%, a percentage that has only fallen since then.12 As a result, its leaders were concerned with the search for national symbols that could represent Karelia on the national stage and justify its quasi-statehood. The historical landscape of North Russia was one particular resource to which they resorted, empowering in the process Soviet enthusiasts of architectural preservation.   Lyrical Landscapes of Socialism One of the essays in György Lukács‘s Soul and Form (1911), ―Longing and Form,‖ begins with a discussion of the persistent link between German, French and Italian landscapes, on the one hand, and different forms of longing that dominated in their respective national literatures, on the other. In trying to describe this connection, Lukács engaged with the very complex issue of the relationship between landscape and literary production. German landscapes, he claimed, ―have something nostalgic, something melancholy and sad about them; yet they are homely and inviting.‖ In the context of the history of German literature, such landscapes informed the writing of ―poetic songs of longing.‖ It was very different, he argued, with the landscape of Southern Europe:   [T]he landscape of the South is hard and resistant… A painter once said: ―It has already been composed before you ever get into it.‖ And you cannot enter into a ―composition‖, you cannot come to terms with it, nor will it ever give an answer to tentative questions. Our relationship to a composition – to something that has already taken form – is clear and unambiguous, even if it is enigmatic and difficult to explain: it is that feeling of being both near and far which comes with great understanding, that profound sense of union which yet is eternally a being-separate, a standing outside. It is a state of longing. In such landscapes the great Romance poets of longing were born, they grew up in it and they became like it themselves: hard and violent, reticent and form-creating.13                                                   12 Irina Pokrovskaia, Naseleniie Karelii (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1978), 50.  13 György Lukács, Soul and Form, trans. Anna Bostock (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974), 91–92. 101  The relationship between a landscape and literary production is for Lukács mediated by affects that vary from one national geography and cultural tradition to another. That landscape is not merely an object of social construction, but is itself an important factor of social change – not least by providing forms of symbolic response to the modernization processes of the last two centuries – has been a popular subject in recent scholarship.14 What Lukács also notes – an observation that he applies to Southern Europe, but which can be extrapolated to many other cases, including North Russia – is that a landscape might offer its observers a certain persistent composition: a combination of elements accepted as inherent for this particular landscape. It is a well-known argument that landscape is constructed by the observer‘s gaze.15 Lukács suggests that a landscape, in turn, can provoke a certain gaze by providing a combination of formal elements—an inherently present composition. If conceptualized in terms of a visual effect, North Russia confronted observers with a landscape that had resisted late imperial and Soviet attempts at modernization. For the tsarist authorities of the late imperial period, North Russia remained a low-priority area until World War I when the Murmansk Railway providing a connection between central Russia and the Arctic coast was hastily built.16 In 1920, when Karelia attained a degree of self-government, its leadership, which was composed mainly of Finnish émigré communists, tried to justify its autonomy by offering it as a model of balanced regional modernization. When their effort failed to achieve rapid industrialization, Karelia became a testing ground for the use of Gulag labour with the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal.17 Yet all these modernization efforts remained rather superficial in terms of their visible impact on North Russian landscape. North Russia‘s scarce population was                                                  14 See, for example, Christopher Ely, This Meager Nature: Landscape and National Identity in Imperial Russia (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009); Tricia Cusack, Riverscapes and National Identities (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2010). 15 John Urry, The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage, 1990); Thomas Greider and Lorraine Garkovich, ―Landscapes: The Social Construction of Nature and the Environment,‖ Rural Sociology 59, no. 1 (1994): 1–24. 16 Lars Elenius et al, eds., The Barents Region: A Transnational History of Subarctic Northern Europe (Oslo: PAX, 2015), 183–186.  17 Nick Baron, Soviet Karelia: Politics, Planning and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1920–1939 (Routledge, 2012). 102  scattered over vast swaths of territory in a large number of small villages: for example, in Karelia, according to the 1933 census, the rural population of some 250,000 people was distributed among 2,700 villages over an area of 147,000 square km.18 The geographic and economic marginality of local communities meant that wooden vernacular architecture was predominant in the region with the exception of a few local urban centers, most prominently its capital, Petrozavodsk, a city with a population of 70,000 in 1939 that grew to 200,000 by the mid-1970s. As for the natural landscape, most of North Russia is covered by the taiga and has a large number of lakes, rivers and bogs that formed during the retreat of glaciers in the end of the last Ice Age, with Karelia alone having over 60,000 lakes and 20,000 rivers.  To many observers, the North Russian landscape suggested a persistent composition that linked together tender northern vegetation, omnipresent water surfaces, and wooden buildings of the pre-revolutionary age, such as churches, chapels, and log cabins. This composition became the dominant theme of local artists; in the postwar era, landscape painting became the staple product of artists of the Petrozavodsk art school, such as Boris Pomortsev, Sulo Juntunen, Tamara Yufa, and many others. A 1973 survey of art in the autonomous republics of the Russian Federation singled out ―lyrical landscapes‖ as the dominant genre of Karelian artists. When describing Boris Pomortsev‘s landscapes (Figure 14), its author, Viktor Vanslov, a prominent Soviet theorist of aesthetics, wrote that ―Karelia reveals itself before the spectators‘ eyes as a wonderful land of silence and poetry.‖19                                                    18 Pokrovskaia, Naselenie Karelii, 59. The area is indicated according to the entry ―Karelian ASSR‖ in the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1937).  19 Viktor Vanslov, ed., Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo avtonomnykh respublik RSFSR: Albom (Moscow: Khudozhnik RSFSR, 1973), 155–157, quote on p. 156.  103     Figure 14. Boris Pomorstev‘s landscapes. Left: Subbotnii den’ [Saturday], 1961. Right: Probuzhdenie [Awakening], 1977. Source: Museum of Fine Art of the Republic of Karelia, ZhK-87 KP-1365 (left) and ZhK-317 KP-8363, reproduced by permission.  Pomortsev‘s Saturday (left in Figure 14, 1961) depicts an old wooden sauna on the shore of a placid lake surrounded by a coniferous forest; his later Awakening (right in Figure 14, 1977) is a painting of the Churches of the Transfiguration and of the Intercession on the island of Kizhi in Lake Onega, one of the most recognizable symbols of Karelia that I will discuss in the next section. Both images reflected the lyrical gaze provoked by North Russian landscape, and Vanslov‘s inclusion of Pomortsev and his fellow Karelian landscape painters in the encyclopedia of Soviet Russian art heralded the cultural acceptance of this landscape that blended together natural and allegedly archaic architectural elements as a socialist landscape. The framework of northern nature, water, and wooden architecture became recognized as the dominant form of visual portrayal of Karelia, in particular, and North Russia, in general. The landscape paintings of Soviet artists made the north Russian resistance to modernization into a virtue rather than a fault: Karelia was portrayed as a place in which local communities had preserved authentic folk traditions that had been lost in more urbanized regions (―Karelia… as a land of … poetry‖). The lyricism of the landscape became synonymous with the historical authenticity of its people. In contrast to the narratives of the prewar accelerated 104  industrialization, archaic elements in architecture, as well as in social relations, were no longer something to struggle against. The double movement from the inherent composition of the North Russian landscape to persistent forms of its cultural representations and back to the cultural production of local communities, now understood as an extension and a natural part of this landscape, was reflected in a documentary film that the Radio and Television Broadcasting Commission of Karelia commissioned in 1968 as a ―calling card‖ for the republic. The film was entitled The Land of Karelia [Земля Карельская], and was directed by Yuri Rogozhin on the basis of a screenplay by Vladimir Danilov, both from Petrozavodsk. The official annotation of the film described it as a ―film about the past and future of Karelia‖ that shows it ―through the eyes of a man who was born and raised here.‖20 The entire film‘s narrative revolved around a small village in Karelia (it remained unclear, perhaps intentionally, if it was Russian or Karelian) on the shores of an unnamed lake; its plotline follows the boat trip of two local residents who departed at dawn as a ten-year-old boy and girl, were shown halfway through the film at midday as a young couple, and returned home at dusk as an old man and woman. Short scenes with major landmarks of the republic – including wooden churches, Stone Age rock carvings, the Kondopoga Pulp and Paper plant, and one of the local hydropower stations – served as brief interruptions in this plotline that also included detailed scenes of traditional crafts with a particular focus on boat building. On the surface, The Land of Karelia features a number of allusions to Alexander Dovzhenko‘s masterpiece Earth (1930), beginning with the title (both use the same Russian word ―zemlya‖), but also with a celebration of a new harmonious unity between people and nature and a particular attention to the material foundations of national character.21 Yet Dovzhenko‘s film brought together the old and the new to show how the latter supersedes the former in an inevitable class conflict; Rogozhin‘s film, in contrast, lauded the historical succession of traditions and praised cultural continuity. Earth is                                                  20 National Archive of the Republic of Karelia (hereafter NARK), f. R-785, op. 1, d. 94a/529v, l. 1.  21 George Liber, Alexander Dovzhenko: A Life in Soviet Film (London: British Film Institute, 2002), 106–113. 105  based on the materialist understanding of history as social struggle; The Land of Karelia documented the petrification of history and its monumentalization in an archaic landscape. An internal review of the Radio and Television Broadcasting Commission, which was part of the formal approval process and thus reflected the intentions of the patron (government of Karelia), rather the actual content of the film, emphasized the film‘s focus on the organic connection between the archaic history of Karelia and its more industrial present: ―The beauty of this place stems from its certain patriarchal character and nicely matches with features of Soviet Karelia‘s today…‖22 In fact, as the editorial script of The Land of Karelia shows, ―features of Soviet Karelia‘s today‖ occupied less than 10 percent of the entire film with the rest devoted to the filming of Karelian nature, lakes, traditional crafts, old wooden buildings and structures, as well as local residents who were portrayed in an intimate unity with this idyllic landscape:   Early morning. The camera is located on a hilltop from which we can see a lake sparkling in the sun‘s rays. A small village is visible on a far shore. Waves are washing on rocks. A boy is sitting on a rock. A small sauna on the lakeshore with a little quay leading into water. [cf. Boris Pomortsev‘s Saturday in Figure 14] The boy pushes a boat with a fair-haired girl off the quay. The boat is moving through the lake. The boy is sitting on the stern with a steering ore in his hands. The girl is rowing.23   Industrial scenes were only a disguise for a film that claimed that the specificity and identity of the region and its people were more about a close connection to an unspecified (and hence mythological) past than to the allegedly foreseeable communist future or even the socialist now. The film‘s total length, 350 meters, was standard for a 16 mm film reel used by Soviet television, with only 23 meters devoted to industrial and urban scenes and landscapes, despite the fact that, by this time, the urban population of                                                  22 NARK, f. R-785, op. 1, d. 94a/529v, l. 25.  23 Ibid., l. 34–35.  106  the republic (490,516 people) greatly prevailed over the rural (222,935 people).24 The director was only partially honest when he claimed that The Land of Karelia represented the region ―through the eyes of a man who was born and raised here.‖ The film, indeed, incorporated the male gaze with its tendency to dominate the landscape, to employ aerial perspectives through frequent scenes shot from hilltops – the kind of vision generally associated with the quintessentially male occupation of a pilot.25 Yet this gaze hardly belonged to a native of these shores. The search for historical authenticity in this film, and elsewhere in post-World War II Soviet cultural production, was part of what William Connolly calls a modern ―drive to mastery‖ over nature and populations, a peculiar form of domination that seeks to transform a natural landscape into ―a set of vistas for aesthetic appreciation‖26 – even as forms of aesthetic appreciation and appropriation could be suggested by the landscape itself. After all, for local residents ―a small sauna‖ is a utilitarian rather than aesthetic object. The aestheticization as well as museumification of wooden vernacular architecture were products of the metropolitan claims for finding historical authenticity in the local landscape in order to establish symbolic control over the northern Soviet regions as a large lyrical landscape, a mythological past of the Soviet people – disregarding its heterogeneous ethnic composition, a controversial history of forced labor, harsh climate, vast distances, and rocky terrain that resisted acculturation.27  The lyricism of the North Russian landscape, with its persistent combination of taiga nature, lakes, and old wooden buildings, informed the restoration efforts and writing of the architectural preservation movement enthusiasts who consistently emphasized ―the                                                  24 The population figures are from the 1970 USSR Census, available at Demoscope.Ru,, accessed December 8, 2015. The editorial script is stored in the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia: NARK, f. R-785, op. 1, d. 94a/529v, l. 32–41.  25 The areal perspective was also characteristic of much of Karelian landscape painting, for example, Boris Pomotsev‘s 1975 Nad Onego (Above Lake Onega). 26 William E. Connolly, ―The Order of Modernity,‖ in Democracy, Pluralism and Political Theory, by William E. Connolly, ed. Samuel A. Chambers and Terrell Carver (London, New York: Routledge, 2008), 281. 27 For authenticity as a form of political and colonial domination, see Michelle Mawhinney, ―Marx, Nature, and the Ethics of Nonidentity,‖ Rethinking Marxism 12, no. 1 (2000): 47–64; Paige Raibmon, Authentic Indians: Episodes of Encounter from the Late-Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005). 107  organic connection‖ between local nature and traditional architecture.28 Soviet architectural preservation, in fact, developed over the postwar period into a process of maintenance and construction of lyrical landscapes for the aesthetic pleasure of urban audiences. The next section will examine its ideology and practice using the creation of an open-air museum of wooden architecture on the island of Kizhi as a case study.   Aleksandr Opolovnikov’s Making of Kizhi The island of Kizhi on Lake Onega is home to one of Russia‘s largest and most famous open air museums of wooden architecture. The museum‘s center is Kizhi Pogost, which acquired the status of a protected ―cultural and historical monument‖ in 1920, although the local parish was allowed to use its churches for religious service until 1936. While the churches avoided any damage during World War II, immediately after its end, in 1945, the government of the Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic decided to fund large-scale reconstruction work to secure the survival of the site.29 Motivating the postwar restoration effort was the desire of regional authorities to transform Kizhi into a museum open to the public. As a notable and well-known architectural monument, Kizhi was deemed the most suitable object to embody and perform Karelian locality as well as to use it educationally to foster the formation of a regional identity among the local population.30 Not surprisingly, as early as 1946, the Karelian-Finnish government committed to a long-term plan according to which the island of Kizhi would in the future                                                  28 Vyacheslav Orfinskii, V mire skazochnoi realnosti: Dereviannaia arkhitektura Karelii (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1972), esp. the chapter ―Unity;‖ A.T. Belyaev, B. A. Gushchin and V. A. Gushchina, Gosudarstvennyi istoriko-arkhitekturnyi i etnograficheskii muzei-zapovednik Kizhi: Putevoditel (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1973), 8, 16.  29 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 1/10, l. 2; d 5/47, l. 99; d. 7/60, l. 43, 47. 30 Ibid. Another prominent example was the Finnish epos Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot. It was largely based on folklore of northern Karelian areas, and in the postwar period the government of the Karelian-Finnish SSR used its genealogy to claim Kalevala as a common Karelian-Finnish epos: Takehiro Okabe, ―Negotiating Elias Lönnrot: Shared Soviet-Finnish National Symbol Articulated and Blurred, 1945–1952,‖ Nordic Historical Review, special issue ―Language and Border between Scandinavia and Russia‖ edited by Alexey Golubev, Antti Räihä and Aleksandr Tolstikov, no. 2 (2015): 129–149. On the educational use of heritage objects in Soviet postwar tourism, see Anne E Gorsuch, All This Is Your World: Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad after Stalin (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 26–48; Diane P. Koenker, Club Red : Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013), 128–166. 108  accommodate ―a collection of monuments to local autochthonous architecture.‖ According to this conception, notable objects of wooden architecture would have to be relocated to Kizhi from all over Karelia.31  Apart from didactic considerations, the regional quest for historical authenticity included an important political component: as mentioned earlier, after World War II, the authorities of Soviet Karelia were seeking ways to legitimize their republic‘s status as a full member of the Soviet Union despite the fact that Russians were an ethnic majority there. As one of the measures, they lobbied the Soviet government to allow the resettlement of Ingrian Finns who had been forcibly deported from the Leningrad region to Siberia and Kazakhstan during the 1930s. Thanks to this effort, some 21,000 Ingrians moved to Karelia during 1948–49 before the campaign was shut down during the Leningrad Affair, the largest post-World War II political cleansing.32  Architectural objects were just as important as people for the making of regional specificity because they could act, if conceptualized in proper terms, as material evidence of Karelia‘s primordial history. In 1947, the Karelian-Finnish government hired two Moscow architects to take a tour of Karelian villages ―in order to survey, register, measure, and photograph monuments of architecture and objects of folk design [народное творчество], so that urgent measures could be taken for their preservation.‖33 One them was Aleksandr Opolovnikov. Born into a noble family in the Ryazan Governorate, Opolovnikov received a degree cum laude from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1939. He defended his graduation work under the supervision of Moisei Ginzburg whose Marxist theory of architecture was discussed above.  Opolovnikov‘s career went in a very different direction from that of Ginzburg. He became one of the leading practitioners and theorists of the Soviet architectural preservation movement, engaging in numerous preservation and restoration projects in                                                  31 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 1/10, l. 2; d. 1/16, l. 30; Aleksandr Opolovnikov, Restavratsiia pamiatnikov narodnogo zodchestva (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1974), 19. 32 Leo Suni, ―Ingermanlandskie finny: Istoricheskii ocherk,‖ in Eino Kiuru, ed., Finny v Rossii: istoriia, kultura, sud’ba (Petrozavodsk: Izd-vo PetrGU, 1998), 4–25; David Brandenberger, ―Stalin, the Leningrad Affair, and the Limits of Postwar Soviet Russocentrism,‖ The Russian Review 63.2 (2004): 241–255. 33 Museum of Kizhi, KP-2670. Buildings plans and sketches from this expedition are also stored in the archive of the museum: KP-314; KP-5992/1–3; KP-5993/1–3; KP-274/1–30.  109  north Russia. After his expedition to Karelian villages in 1947, Opolovnikov was hired by the government of the Karelian-Finnish SSR to carry out its program of preservation, restoration and collection of heritage wooden buildings. His first assignment was the restoration of the Assumption Church in Kondopoga during the summer of 1948. The next year, Opolovnikov was appointed the chief restoration expert in Kizhi and became responsible for its development into an open air museum of wooden architecture. In 1951, he supervised the relocation to Kizhi of a nineteenth-century house and a barn, the first two objects in the museum‘s collection. In 1955, in the atmosphere of post-Stalinist liberalization, he developed a large-scale expansion project of the museum and personally supervised the relocation of twenty-four objects from various locations in Karelia.34   The historical landscape of North Russia, perceived aesthetically (as lyrical) rather than socially (as archaic), obviously informed Opolovnikov‘s politics of restoration. The materials from his field trips to villages in Karelia include not only schemes and plans of surviving heritage buildings, but also general plans of the surrounding landscape. For example, his 1954 plan of the former Muromsky Monastery on Lake Onega, from which the fourteenth-century Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus was moved to Kizhi island, shows (apart from the church itself) surrounding log buildings, trees, a lake shore and even boats moored to a shore (Figure 15). His planning of the open air museum in Kizhi emphasized an aesthetic unity of architecture and landscape,35 and in his writing he reiterated that   an architectural monument is not just the building itself standing in isolation of its surroundings. The concept of an ―architectural monument‖ also includes its landscape: both natural and man-made. The landscape is an integral part of the aesthetic impression of the monument and shapes our perception of it [emphasis added] in one way or another. This leads to a conclusion that when we plan restoration works on [an architectural] monument, we should somehow preserve and in individual cases even restore its surroundings. And one                                                  34 Museum of Kizhi, KP-5713/1, 2; KP-5714.  35 Ibid.  110  more important conclusion… Any restoration project should include… a protective zone and a landscaping zone [зона благоустройства территории] restricted for new construction.36   Figure 15. A general plan of the former Muromsky Monastery. Aleksandr Opolovnikov and N. A. Savin, 1954. Source: Museum of Kizhi, KP-271/1. Reproduced by permission.    To satisfy the political demand of the KFSSR authorities for primordialist narratives and objects, Opolovnikov developed his theory of architectural preservation as the museumification of an historical landscape. His basic definition of an open air museum was ―a collection of architectural monuments that are exhibited in the background of a typical [for this region] natural landscape.‖37 His conception of the Kizhi museum consequently developed into the creation of such a landscape so that its didactic and political potential would be easily available to local audiences (regular ferry trips between Kizhi and Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, had already been established by                                                  36 Opolovnikov, Restavratsiia pamiatnikov, 202.  37 Opolovnikov, Muzei dereviannogo zodchestrva, 6. 111  1948).38 The use value of vernacular architecture was nullified as it became first and foremost a sign of history designated for visual consumption. The lyricism of the northern landscape underwent a political translation that turned local communities into exotic reservations of the traditional primordial culture of the Russian and Karelian people. ―The Russian North [in general] and Karelia [in particular] are a huge and unique sanctuary of the people‘s wooden architecture that has emerged historically in a natural way,‖ wrote Opolovnikov in his volume on the Kizhi museum.39 This approach, which conflated history and nature and treated architecture in aesthetic terms as part of the natural landscape, inevitably brought Opolovnikov‘s making of Kizhi into conflict with practices of North Russian vernacular architecture.  By the late 1940s, the churches of Kizhi represented an architectural palimpsest: in the 1820s their eighteenth-century log walls had been covered with planking and domes sheathed with iron; in the 1880s, they were also painted (Figure 16).40 These changes reflected both the regional architectural fashion as well as the desire of parishioners to distinguish visually their churches from the surrounding landscape. When Opolovnikov designed his restoration program of Kizhi Pogost he discarded these changes as ―eclectic‖ and ―ahistorical‖ and prepared an ambitious project that included their removal in order to ―restore‖ the original look of the church.41                                                    38 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 5/47, l. 57. 39 Aleksandr Opolovnikov, Kizhi, 2nd ed. (Moscow: Stroiizdat, 1976), 10. 40 Igor Melnikov, ed., Muzei-zapovednik Kizhi. 40 let (Petrozavodsk: Scandinavia, 2006), 48. 41 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 5/47, l. 99; d. 7/60, l. 43.  112   Figure 16. A 1947 sketch of the southern façade of the Church of the Transfiguration before Opolovnikov‘s restoration project. Source: Museum of Kizhi, KP-267/6. Reproduced by permission.   These measures unavoidably lead to dramatic changes in the appearance of Kizhi Pogost undoing late tsarist-era renovations that Opolovnikov argued reflected the class oppression of the genuine people‘s culture:  Local ―do-gooder‖ nobility and clergy dressed the Church of the Transfiguration in a then-fashionable attire of planking painted in garish bright yellow, while the wood shingles of the domes were replaced with cold and lifeless iron… And a wonderful song of wood – eternal, gentle and exciting – was shut down; the texture and beauty of log walls was completely erased; the charm of wooden shingle domes was gone. A unique creation of Onega Lake architects lost its genuine magic character and became similar to ordinary village churches of the later age.42                                                   42 Opolovnikov, Kizhi, 100. 113   Opolovnikov‘s argument played on a perceived contrast between the authentic nature of the monument as ―genuine architecture‖ of the common people43 and the attempts of nineteenth-century bourgeoisie and clergy to strip the Kizhi Pogost of its authentic character and subdue it to their class interests. Opolovnikov‘s hostility to architectural ornamentation as something disguising the authentic architectural forms was apparently borrowed from the constructivist theories of his teacher, Moisei Ginzburg, whose Style and Epoch (1923) famously called for the cleansing of excessive architectural ornamentation:   Architectural monuments laid bare and cleansed of their glittering and superficial attire appeared with all the fascination and unexpected sharpness of an artistic asceticism, with all the power of a rough and austere language of simple, uncluttered architectural forms.44  The cleansing of wooden architecture of both natural and man-made accretions became the main focus of Opolovnikov‘s activities (Figure 17), and through his published works became part of the theory and practice of architectural restoration in the USSR.45 His 1975 work on the restoration of wooden architecture emphasized (literally, with the use of a bold font) the restoration of buildings to their original form as the fundamental task of his discipline, an approach that interpreted all later changes as ―distortions:‖  The first and most important task in developing the theoretical foundations of restoration [as a scholarly discipline] is the analysis and complex understanding of the nature, essence and specificity of later distortions to monuments of people‘s architecture. The problem of distortions and accretions is thus the key and main problem in the methodology of                                                  43 Ibid., 101. 44 Moisei Ginzburg, Style and Epoch, transl. by Anatole Senkevitch, Jr. (Cambirdge: MIT Press, 1982), 114.  45 On Opolovnikov‘s contribution to his discipline, see his personal entry at the Russian Society for Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments (VOOPIK):, accessed December 4, 2015.  114  restoration and at the same time remains the most notable stumbling block on the pathway to the reconstruction of genuine masterpieces of wooden architecture.46   Figure 17. Restoration works of the Church of the Transfiguration, between 1956 and 1959. The upper side of the image shows restored parts of the church with wooden shingles and unpainted log walls; the lower side of the image shows the pre-restoration interior of the church with iron-covered domes and painted planking. Courtesy of the Museum of Kizhi.   Yet Ginzburg‘s and Opolovnikov‘s similar rhetoric in regards to form should not be misinterpreted as a similarity in their politics. Ginzburg sought to build new communalism and called on his fellow architects to be ―not a decorator of life, but its organizer.‖ Form was important for him as long as it reflected a certain function; his Style and Epoch draws extensively on industrial design as exemplary in this respect.47 In contrast, Opolovnikov, an expert responsible for the production of a historical landscape through the creation of an open air museum, worked with very different functions of                                                  46 Opolovnikov, Restavratsiia pamiatnikov, 62.  47 Ginzburg, Style and Epoch, the quote on p. 113, the section on industrial design on p. 76–93. 115  architecture. Churches and houses of the Kizhi Museum had to perform the historical authenticity of the Karelian-Finnish republic. The fact that these churches and houses, as objects of vernacular architecture, were designed and redesigned to perform their particular functions was disregarded, since the official ideology was extremely hostile to religion and strove to reform the patriarchal organization of life in rural communities. Opolovnikov, consequently, appealed to wooden architecture as a medium that had preserved the cultural forms originating in Russia‘s pre-capitalist period. In his interpretation, these forms embodied an alleged past communalism of the Russian people that had fallen prey to the capitalist development and class oppression of nineteenth-century tsarism. Whereas Ginzburg wanted socialist architecture to overcome social alienation, for Opolovnikov old wooden architecture served as a means to overcome historical alienation by bridging the gap between the past and present community of the Russian/Soviet people. This belief can be seen in the curious combination of his reverence for the eighteenth-century churches of Kizhi Pogost with a very mixed, if not straightforwardly negative, attitude to its third object, the 1874 bell tower:   The bell tower was built not in the traditions of the people‘s architecture, but according to a project designed ―in an artificial style‖ by an eparchial engineer… It means that its architecture is not only subdued to the petrifying [мертвящий] canon of the official conservative Orthodoxy, but also embodies general aesthetic norms of that time‘s dominant culture: eclecticism and a pseudo-national ethos [псевдонародность]. The decline of architecture is seen in every single detail [of the bell tower].48   After two pages of harsh criticism Opolovnikov condescended to grant the bell tower the right to exist: ―an integral part of the [Kizhi] architectural ensemble… that reminds us, even if very approximately, of the silhouette and general appearance of the original [eighteenth-century] bell tower.‖49 In other words, for him the only value of the current                                                  48 Opolovnikov, Kizhi, 87. 49 Ibid., 88. 116  bell tower was mimetic, owing to its resemblance to the original bell tower that had been demolished in 1872 due to its dilapidated condition.  As mentioned earlier, Opolovnikov was hired in the late 1940s by the Karelian-Finnish government as an intellectual from the Soviet metropole whose professional expertise could add weight to its claims for regional specificity. This positionality gave him the power to determine what the authentic architecture of North Russian communities was and was not. Yet this power was not uncontested. When Opolovnikov and other enthusiasts of North Russian historical heritage started their campaign for its preservation and restoration, this campaign—supported and funded by the government of the Karelian-Finnish republic—included a struggle against low-level bureaucrats who had prioritized rationality over historical heritage and who were often tempted to demolish old buildings to cut the financial burdens that the latter incurred.50 The situation became only more complicated after the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956, when Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin‘s ―personality cult,‖ and the post-Stalinist leadership revived, to a certain degree, early Soviet techno-utopian visions of rationally built socialist spaces that implied the demolition of old structures. As Steven Bittner noted in his study of Moscow‘s Arbat neighborhood, ―Khrushchev saw [in the heritage architecture of Moscow] remnants of old Russia that were incompatible with the stature of the new.‖51 The dominant discourse of socialist construction still routinely implied the purge of the old pre-revolutionary meanings and structures, and the perceived value of ―national antiquities‖ did not necessarily provide immunity for heritage buildings from persecution by local bureaucrats, as well as from sheer neglect.52 Last but not least, in July 1956 the status of Karelia was downgraded from a full member of the USSR to an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation.  At the same time, Khrushchev-era liberalization of cultural life in the Soviet Union provided heritage architecture enthusiasts with opportunities to defend their de-facto                                                  50 Opolovnikov, Restavratsiia pamiatnikov, 51–52; Svetlana Vorobyeva, ―Ne utratit‘ pamiat‘,‖ Kizhi, no. 6 (2011): 4.  51 Bittner, The Many Lives of Khrushchev’s Thaw, 140. 52 Catriona Kelly, St. Petersburg: Shadows of the Past (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 288–289. 117  romantic nationalist understandings of Soviet history and challenge—albeit implicitly—the modernist approach to urban development adopted by the Soviet government beginning in the mid-1950s. To justify their claims for the power to define the Soviet historical imagination, Soviet preservation experts appealed to the very material of their objects, wood, as a witness to the authentic history of Russia.  Accretions of History In justifying his main thesis that the essence of preservation and restoration activities lay in the removal of all later accretions, Aleksandr Opolovnikov repeatedly appealed to the aesthetic qualities of wood. His 1974 textbook of architectural preservation includes a lengthy discussion about the properties of wood that goes beyond its physical qualities and focuses instead on its ability to organize ―the rhythm‖ and ―tectonics‖ of architecture:  The unity of [architectural functionality and aesthetic properties of] wood is particularly outstanding in the tectonics of a log building – in a steady rythm, as in epic songs, of heavyweight log tails… in slim and soft vertical lines of axe-cut corners that trim the building‘s silhouette; in the plastic structure of walls enlivened with small windows; in the overall color composition of the building with its picturesque palette of half-tints and shades…53  Both ―rhythm‖ and ―tectonics,‖ as used in this fragment, are borrowed from the theory of Soviet Constructivist architecture: ―rhythm‖ is another tribute to Moisei Ginzburg,54 while the term ―tectonics‖ is borrowed from Alexei Gan, whose writings mentioned tectonics as one of three basic elements of the new social architecture. Understood as a dialectic relationship between people and their material world, tectonics implied the interrelatedness of social and material forms that Constructivist architects,                                                  53 Opolovnikov, Restavratsiia pamiatnikov, 27.  54 Ginzburg‘s first book was titled ―Rhythm in Architecture‖: Moisei Ginzburg, Ritm v arkhitekture (Moscow: Sredi kollektsionerov, 1923). 118  artists, and designers were supposed to embody in their works and thus to contribute to social progress.55 ―Tectonics is… an explosion of the [material‘s] internal essence,‖ wrote Gan in his 1922 manifesto, concluding: ―Constructivism without tectonics is like painting without color.‖56  The use of Constructivism‘s vocabulary had several important implications for the Soviet architectural preservation movement. First of all, it provided them with a conceptual apparatus to justify their preservation activities. Dealing with buildings that had lost their original functions, such as churches, houses for extended peasant families, sheds and mills, Opolovnikov had to build a model that explained their historical importance through an aesthetic system allegedly inherent in North Russian vernacular architecture. His analysis of numerous heritage buildings in Karelia and elsewhere in North Russia led him to the conclusion that, by the early nineteenth century, local masters had created and consciously employed a ―system of artistic methods‖ [―арсенал художественно-выразительных средств‖] that fully realized the expressive potential of wood as a construction material.57 Moreover, the borrowing of Constructivist vocabulary with its focus on the dialectic of material and social forms gave Opolovnikov an opportunity to link this system to a society free of social conflicts that allegedly had existed in North Russia thanks to its geographic and political marginality prior to the tsarist oppression of the nineteenth century:   The tsunami of the Mongol invasion that enveloped almost all of Russia missed the North. Here, the fire of Russian statehood and national culture was never extinguished. While the succession of the original traditions of Russian culture dating back to Kievan Rus was interrupted, if not destroyed [elsewhere], in the North this culture and its traditions survived in their purity.58                                                    55 Kristin Romberg, ―Aleksei Gan‘s Constructivism, 1917–1928,‖ a PhD Dissertation (Columbia University, 2010), 148–173. 56 Aleksei Gan, ―Konstruktivism,‖ in Serguei Oushakine, ed., Formalnyi metod: Antologiia russkogo modernizma, vol. 1 (Moscow: Kabinetnyi uchenyi, 2016), 852.  57 Opolovnikov, Muzei dereviannogo zodchestva, 16.  58 Opolovnikov, Kizhi, 14.  119  In this logic, the heritage architecture of Karelia was a witness to an authentic and genuine people‘s history of Russia in its entirety. The historical importance of the churches of Kizhi Pogost was that they represented an exemplary expression of this aesthetic system, a kind of glossary that could be used to understand the original language of Russian culture. The texture of wood offered, in turn, the basic structural elements of this language that, when combined, merged into ―a wonderful song of wood.‖ This approach to architectural preservation was understandably hostile to later accretions, clearly prioritizing the antiquity and authenticity (be they real or imagined) of old wooden buildings over the meanings, and contexts, of their use in local communities. The product of an aesthetic and political position of Soviet metropolitan intellectuals, it valued indigenous architectural forms as long as they blended into the landscape with the unpainted grey and brown colors of their log walls. To put it in another way, for Soviet restoration experts – and for Soviet authorities and their public via the authoritative discourse of these experts – old buildings were important as long as they performed authenticity and traditionalism, thus objectifying the much-sought-for historical depth of modern Soviet society. Any ―non-natural‖ and ―non-authentic‖ elements, such as plaster, paint, iron and wallpaper, as well as exquisite carved ornamentations that local residents had increasingly used since the nineteenth century, were then interpreted as annoying interruptions into this performance of Russian authentic historical culture: something like the darkened layers on Old Russian icons that concealed original paintings and had to be removed.  In fact, the restoration of Kizhi Pogost to its original state was accompanied in a very similar process by the restoration of icons that had been confiscated from Karelian churches in the interwar period.59 In 1945, the same year that the government of the Karelian-Finnish SSR passed a resolution to restore Kizhi Pogost and transform it into a museum, it hired two experts of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow to inspect and evaluate the republic‘s collection of icons.60 One of them, Vera Briusova (Svetlichnaia), was later invited to prepare a detailed plan and budget for their restoration; submitting                                                  59 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 3/32, l. 54.  60 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 1/16, l. 25. 120  her funding application in 1948 to the Karelian government, she justified the historical importance of this work:  These monuments [icons] are products of the richest creative imagination and the supreme mastery of artists of the local independent school. Their restoration will reveal an immense picture of autochthonous art… Adding any elements during restoration is completely prohibited, because every monument [icon] represents a genuine masterpiece that has its own artistic value.61  Briusova‘s emphasis on locality (expressed in this short excerpt in three synonymous adjectives—―local,‖ ―independent,‖ and ―autochthonous,‖ or ―местная‖, ―самостоятельная‖ and ―самобытная‖) was a direct reference to the political demands of local authorities. As such, it represented an artificial historicization of Soviet local and regional identities that translated into an ever more rigorous search for the historical authenticity of the Soviet-era administrative structures, such as the Karelian-Finnish republic.62 It positioned icon painting in the domain of regional folk culture as opposed to religious or national high culture. It also justified the return of some of the icons to the churches of Kizhi Pogost as they were placed there as objects of ―autochthonous art‖ rather than sacred objects. As with the painted planking of the churches in Kizhi that were stripped to reveal the texture of their log walls, later layers were removed from icons to recreate their authentic aesthetic form. Briusova described this process in technical terms as ―the removal of old darkened varnish from icons and their re-varnishing.‖63 This authenticity of icon painting had never been important in religious worship; just the reverse, icons were regularly renovated by adding new layers on top of                                                  61 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 3/32, l. 63. 62 Olga Ilyukha and Yuri Shikalov, ―Kartina mira na stranitsakh uchebnikov finskogo iazyka dlia nachalnykh klassov karelskikh shkol 1920-1940-kh godov,‖ Vestnik filiala Severo-Zapadnoi akademii Gosudarstvennoi sluzhby v Vyborge (Vyborg, 2010): 267–95; Victoria Donovan, ―‗Going Backwards, We Stride Forwards‘: Kraevedenie Museums and the Making of Local Memory in North West Russia, 1956–1981,‖ Forum for Anthropology and Culture, no 7 (2012): 211–30; Victoria Donovan, ―‗How Well Do You Know Your Krai?‘ The Kraevedenie Revival and Patriotic Politics in Late Khrushchev-Era Russia,‖ Slavic Review 74, no. 3 (2015): 464–83. 63 NARK, f. R-2916, op. 1, d. 3/32, l. 63. 121  previous ones or completely repainted. It was the Soviet search of historical authenticity that reinterpreted these layers as the dirt of time that concealed primordial Russian culture.64  The borrowing of Constructivist vocabulary in architectural preservation politics had one more implication that became increasingly visible in the post-Stalinist period. Constructivist theory reflected the active social program of its authors such as Ginzburg and Gan, and their desire to reform society; the terms ―rhythm,‖ ―tectonics‖ and ―texture‖ all implied the transformative character of the new social architecture. As a result, the application of these terms to the vernacular architecture of North Russia could not remain purely academic and descriptive. While Opolovnikov and other experts of heritage architecture argued that only the uncovered texture of wood was capable of expressing the authentic character of Russian culture preserved through the local historical landscape, these claims clashed with local meanings and practices related to housing. In the postwar communities of Russian Karelia, it was quite typical to use painted planking for the external walls of log houses, and plaster, wallpaper and modern furniture for their interiors.65 On the one hand, this was an obvious borrowing of new tendencies in urban housing. On the other, it was a particular indigenous form of working with landscape, as painted planking offsets a building from its surroundings, while interiors with modern wallpaper and factory-built furniture represent an optical intervention into the everyday visual experience of rural communities that are dominated by the persistent combination of water, northern vegetation, and the bleak colors of unpainted wooden surfaces. Yet for Soviet architects, local residents of Karelian communities had to be saved from their perceived loss of historical authenticity, a task all the more important as they now designated North Russia ―a sanctuary‖ of traditional folk culture. In a logic that clearly originated from the theory of constructivist architecture, yet had little in common with its emancipatory moment, architectural                                                  64 In Soviet literature, this search for historical authenticity – often at the price of a conflict with official authorities – became the main motif of Vladimir Soloukhin‘s 1968 novel Black Board, published in English translation as Searching for Icons in Russia: Vladimir Soloukhin, Searching for Icons in Russia (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972). 65 Vera Taroeva, Materialnaia kultura karel (Karelskaia ASSR) (Leningrad: Nauka, 1965), 195–198. 122  preservation experts called on Karelian villagers to cleanse their houses of these eclectic elements that, in their view, provoked the misrecognition of one‘s true authentic self. Opolovnikov‘s 1981 book Wooden Russia, for example, condemned the use of wallpaper in contemporary North Russian houses by appealing to the aesthetic system that he uncovered in pre-nineteenth-century wooden architecture:  Earlier, people never hung wallpaper in their houses: Russian peasants always had an acute and expert sense about the natural beauty of wood as an architectural material, the beauty of the most common, simple things. And what wallpaper can match the natural texture of unpainted wood, with the dark stripes of its core, the rhythm of knots, the smooth yet slightly coarse surface! A floor assembled from broad half beams, the powerful, non-disguised setting of log walls, plank benches along the walls…this all creates a stalwart, steady rhythm of accentuated horizontal lines.66  Aesthetic elements of traditional architecture – ―natural texture of unpainted wood,‖ ―dark stripes of its core,‖ and ―rhythm of knots‖ – are represented here as an interface between the materiality of architecture and genuine selves. From this perspective, the use of wallpaper leads to a loss of physical contact between people and wood, with its appealing, affective texture, a situation regarded as highly undesirable. Another preservation expert, Petrozavodsk architect Vyacheslav Orfinskii, wrote in 1972:   The early twentieth century saw the decline of [North Russian] folk architecture, when its genuine beauty escaped again and again from the ornamental nets of small architectural details that imitated fashionable forms of urban architectural styles of that time… Isn‘t it a genuine, although never recognized, tragedy of an entire generation of folk architects?.. Having lost the Ariadne‘s thread of century-long traditions, folk masters wandered off the road and got lost.67                                                    66 Alexander Opolovnikov, Rus‘ dereviannaia: Obrazy russkogo dereviannogo zodchestva (Moscow: Detlit, 1981), 31.  67 Orfinskii, V mire skazochnoi realnosti, 5–6.  123  A native of Petrozavodsk, Orfinskii grieves here not only the loss of authentic architectural traditions in Karelian communities, but also the alleged inability of their inhabitants to comprehend this loss and realize how their neglect of ―century-long traditions‖ damages the historical succession of Soviet society. It is, however, most harmful for themselves (―a genuine tragedy of an entire generation…‖).68 His authoritative discourse denied local communities the right to assign their own meanings to domestic and communal space and pushed him to create in the 1980s a separate academic discipline: etnoarkhitekturovedenie (studies of ethnic architecture). Its aims combined scholarship and activism, including the production of a full register of wooden heritage buildings in North Russia, the development of theoretical foundations for the use of folk architectural traditions in modern architecture, and public outreach to local communities.69 In 1997 it became institutionalized with the establishment of the Research Institute of Theoretical Problems of Folk Architecture, which received a double affiliation at the Petrozavodsk State University and Research Institute of Architectural and Urban Theory (Moscow), with Orfinskii as its head.70   Identities under Sail In addition to vernacular architecture, the documentary The Land of Karelia mentioned above focused on another material example of archaic historical time as allegedly preserved in the lyrical landscape of Karelia: wooden boats. In a region with approximately sixty thousand lakes, including the largest two in Europe (Lakes Ladoga and Onega), as well as a long White Sea coast, water has always been the center of economic life in the region. Until recently, locally caught fish have been a staple food for                                                  68 Needless to say, the interpretation of new tendencies in the vernacular architecture of North Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a ―decline‖ is contested by some scholars. See, e.g. Olga Sevan, ‗Malye Korely’: Arkhangeslkii muzei dereviannogo zodchestva (Moscow: Progress-Traditsiia, 2011), 152–153.  69 Irina Ye. Grishina, ―Etnoarkhitektura: Printsipy issledovaniia,‖ Uchenye zapiski Petrozavodskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, no. 5 (March 2009): 7–13. 70 ―Polozheniie o nauchno-issledovatelskom institute istoriko-teoreticheskikh problem narodnogo zodchestva,‖ Petrozavodsk and Moscow, 1997.  124  Karelians and North Russians.71 As a result, boats have been an integral part of the North Russian historical landscape. In The Land of Karelia, the sailing of a boat around an unnamed lake – its unnamed passengers gradually aging over the course of the film – is used to tie together various episodes from the life of republic. The boat was more than just a narrative device, however. One of the lengthiest episodes in the film shows, in detail, the process of boat building. The voice-over narration reads:  There is no town or village in Karelia which is not located on a lakeshore. And every single one of them has its own boat builder with his unique pattern and secrets… And every master passes his skill to someone who comes to succeed him. Isn‘t this the source of the workmanship embodied in the monuments of wooden architecture of recent centuries that have survived to our age? Looking at the perfectly-shaped domes of wooden churches, one can‘t help marvelling at the supreme skills of their anonymous architects.72   As the narrator read this text, the footage showed close-ups of the boat building process. Images of an axe, a saw, and a plane turned into pictures of logs and planks, then into a delicate silhouette of a boat, and, finally, into the domes of the Church of St. Paul and St. Peter in the village of Virma on the White Sea coast. In the film‘s logic, the succession of historical traditions acquired a concrete material dimension in woodwork. Wood was the medium that secured the succession of traditions and established a physical connection between the people‘s true, authentic past and the socialist present. Moreover, as history became embodied in the lyrical landscape, the cultural understanding of wood in late socialism made it a mediator between people and their material environment.  Modern urban cultures often appeal to wood as an affective material due to its texture and correspondent haptic experience. For example, it is quite common for contemporary home design to use wood with its ―nostalgic‖ structures and narratives to help urban dwellers overcome their alienation from nature. Krisztina Fehérváry, who                                                  71 Roza F. Nikolskaia, Karelskaia kukhnia (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1986), 4, 13–36. 72 NARK, f. R-785, op. 1, d. 94a/529v, l. 38–39. 125  writes about the politics of various construction materials in socialist Hungary, noted that beginning in the 1970s, many Hungarian families turned to the use of wood for apartment interiors (a feature inspired by vernacular architecture) in order to create ―heterotopic spaces‖ in pre-fabricated concrete apartment blocks that invoked the feelings of national belonging and closeness to nature. ―Wood was highly prized for its ability to humanize and warm the interior of concrete panel apartments,‖ she writes.73 The same period saw the increased popularity of organicist architecture in Western Europe, North America, and Japan with its emphasis on the use of wood. One of its primary advocates, the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, stressed the ability of wood to link the old and the new as well as invoke the feeling of one‘s own authenticity: ―In these times of appreciation over the crisis of our earthy environment and the deterioration of our spiritual culture, it is important that we seek a new beginning – through new understanding of our environment and in a new appreciation of forests and the culture of wood.‖74 In the specific historical conditions of North Russia, the ability of wood to perform historical continuity and authenticity through its very haptic qualities reinforced an historical imagining in which archaicness was the genius loci of the region. The architectural preservation movement, with its ideological center in the museum of Kizhi, was one manifestation of this imagination. A revival of wooden boat and shipbuilding was another example of how people in the late socialist period used wood to position themselves vis-à-vis national historical time as its worthy successors. In Karelia, this revival has been associated with the club ―Polar Odysseus.‖ ―Polar Odysseus‖ was established in 1978 in Petrozavodsk by a group of amateur yachtsmen who initially wanted to pool together their financial and labor resources to repair and redesign a factory-produced fishing boat, turning it into a leisure vessel.75 This was a familiar practice in late socialism: the state-published amateur shipbuilding journal                                                  73 Fehérváry, Politics in Color and Concrete, 142. 74 Quoted in David Pearson, New Organic Architecture: The Breaking Wave (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001), 137. 75 Interview with Viktor Dmitriev taken by the author, June 7, 2014, Petrozavodsk. In the author‘s personal archive.  126  Katera i iachty (Motorboats and Yachts) had a monthly circulation of 135,000 copies by the early 1980s; it widely publicized imagery of Soviet people using home-built boats to travel.76 Yet in the case of ―Polar Odysseus,‖ this gnostic drive to master space through travel acquired a historical dimension when, during one of their travels in the White and Barents Seas in 1982, members of the club encountered the wrecks of old Pomor77 ships. Over the next two years, yachtsmen from Petrozavodsk used sailing expeditions in the White Sea to examine technologies of vernacular boatbuilding in local Pomor communities (Figure 18).78    Figure 18. Members of the club ―Polar Odysseus‖ examining a Pomor fishing boat in the village of Niukhcha in Karelia, 1984. Courtesy of ―Polar Odysseus.‖ Reproduced by permission.   1987 became the turning year for ―Polar Odysseus,‖ when it transformed from an amateur yacht club into a heritage shipbuilding club with the construction of the Pomor,                                                  76 Alexey Golubev and Olga Smolyak, ―Making Selves through Making Things: Soviet Do-It-Yourself Culture and Practices of Late Soviet Subjectivation,‖ Cahiers du monde russe, Vol. 54, no. 3–4 (July-December 2013): 526–533.  77 Pomors is a name for the Russian population of the White Sea coast that had lived there continuously since the twelfth century. Their traditional economic activities were fishing, sea mammal hunting, sea trade with Norway and boatbuilding.  78 Interview with Viktor Dmitriev.  127  a replica of the koch, a type of ships that Pomor communities used along the Arctic coast (Figure 19). In 1989, members of the club sailed on the Pomor to the Svalbard archipelago, a frequent destination of Pomor hunting expeditions between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries.79 The following winter, they built three more replicas of historical ships, this time medieval Russian lodyas: the Vera (Faith), the Nadezhda (Hope) and the Liubov (Love). In the summer of 1990, these replica ships sailed from Petrozavodsk through the Volga–Baltic Waterway to the Black Sea and then through the Mediterranean Sea to Jerusalem. In the summer of 1991, another lodya, the Sviatitel Nikolai (St. Nicholas), built the previous winter sailed around Scandinavia to the North Sea. Meanwhile, the Pomor was transported by steamships along the Arctic coast to the Chukchi Sea, from where its team sailed to Alaska in a symbolic gesture that retraaced an old trading route to Russian America.80 These days, ―Polar Odysseus‖ has a fleet of twenty-four replicas of various historical designs.     Figure 19. The Pomor. Left: the Pomor passing by the Kizhi Pogost during its maiden trip in 1987. Source: Vokrug Sveta, no. 6 (1989): 21. Right: The Pomor currently undergoing a refit. Note the absence of a keel, a useful feature for Arctic seafaring that allowed the vessel to be hauled on land or ice sheets. Photograph @ 2015 Ilya Timin. Reproduced by permission.                                                    79 Grigorii Temkin, ―Za kormoi 2000 mil,‖ Vokrug Sveta, no. 5 (1987): 1–6; Viktor Georgi, Put’ na Grumant (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 1991).  80 Stanislav Zaitsev, ―Kak otkryt‘ Ameriku,‖ in M. A. Beznin, ed., Tot’ma: Istoriko-kraevedcheskii almanakh. Vyp. 1 (Vologda: Rus‘, 1995), 334–372. The author of the article was a member of the 1991 expedition of the Pomor; in 1992 the expedition reached Vancouver where he tragically drowned while the ship was moored near the Vancouver Maritime Museum.  128  In 2014, when I interviewed Viktor Dmitriev, the current president and one of the original founders of the club, wood was one of the central topics of our conversation. For Dmitriev, wood was a medium that connected him with the maritime traditions of North Russia; it allowed for the reconstruction of both regional and national history. Yet historical reconstruction was more than a goal in itself: to travel along the historical routes of North Russian merchants, hunters and pilgrims was just as important. Born in 1946 and a physicist by education, Dmitriev‘s original hobby was technical invention, which included arms and space technologies. Fully employed as a plasma physics engineer, he initially treated yachting as just another way to spend summer vacations. But as his sailing took him to various historical places in North Russia, Dmitriev felt an increasing urge to archaize his ships to fit the historical landscape around him. In 1980, with other club members, he first remade a standardized fishing boat into a schooner and then spent several years studying the vernacular shipbuilding of Pomor communities.81 Dmitriev‘s work on wooden ships was a form of self-making as vigorous as autobiographic writing was for the Stalinist subjects studied by Igal Halfin and Jochen Hellbeck,82 if with an axe and other woodworking tools instead of a pen. His appropriation of the Pomor identity is symptomatic in this respect, as his family came to Karelia after the Bolshevik revolution. Yet, while lacking a direct genealogical linkage with the Pomors, Dmitriev created material objects that forged this linkage and made him an heir of their maritime culture. His transformation into ―one of the last Pomor shipbuilders of the twentieth century,‖ as the official website of ―Polar Odysseus‖ represents him,83 was a complex self-fashioning, in which interaction with wood and North Russian landscapes in their very materiality were important. A 1989 publication about the Pomor in the popular geographic journal Vokrug Svate (Around the World) quoted Dmitriev saying ―wood itself will suggest how to build [the ship],‖84 a reflection on the vernacular shipbuilding practices that, in an absence of blueprints, relied on an                                                  81 Interview with Viktor Dmitriev.  82 Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind; Halfin, Red Autobiographies. 83 ―Dmitriev Viktor Leonidovich,‖ available at, accessed December 12, 2015.  84 Viktor Georgi, ―Belomorskaia petlia,‖ Vokrug sveta, no. 6 (1989): 20.  129  interaction between a shipbuilder and his material. This interaction transformed logs and boards into a vessel; in a dialectical way, it also transformed a Soviet professional physicist who designed spaceships, even if as a hobby, into an enthusiast of heritage shipbuilding who in 1990, well before the disintegration of the USSR, undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on a replica of a medieval Russian vessel. It was the texture of wood that preserved and demonstrated the essence of authentic architecture for Opolovnikov and of shipbuilding for Dmitriev (―wood itself will suggest how to build‖). The work of a preservation expert or a shipbuilder was, consequently, in helping wood to reveal its inherent abilities to perform historical authenticity and continuity. To hide it behind other surfaces, as residents in local communities did with their houses, was to break this continuity. Architectural preservation and historical shipbuilding represented, both in writing and practice, two instances of Soviet elemental materialism. Their enthusiasts appealed to the very texture of wood to maintain and perform historical continuity. Wooden buildings and structures transformed North Russia into a lyrical landscape in a kind of a symbolic acceptance of the failure of modernization in the region. They allowed for its inclusion in the pantheon of socialist spaces as a landscape of the ancient, uninterrupted and authentic history of the Russian people. At the same time, the resistance of this landscape to modernization informed a political agenda of historical architecture and shipbuilding. Their enthusiasts sought to preserve and revive wooden structures and technologies in order to perpetuate the allegedly authentic historic character of the region. By the turn of the 1990s, wood became the main symbol of North Russia as a mythological place that had preserved, against all odds, the old folk culture of the Russian people.   Conclusion In June 2013, mass-media in the Republic of Karelia circulated an image of 84-year-old Orfinskii, by then a full member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, as he rushed to stop the demolition of a 1936 wooden building in 130  Petrozavodsk. During World War II, Petrozavodsk experienced massive destruction of its prewar architecture and civil infrastructure, and this building located on the central city street (Lenin Avenue) was a notable survivor of the prewar age. It was used for various government offices, including the People‘s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of the Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, and had housed a children‘s clinic since 1960 (Figure 20). In April 2001, the building was partially destroyed by fire. Reconstruction was stalled due to lack of funding, and there were two more fires in 2003 and 2006. Despite the pitiable state of the building, the municipal authorities insisted that, as an architectural monument (official status had been granted to the building in 2000), it had to be restored to its authentic form. In June 2013, the owner of the building, desperate to turn it from a liability into an asset, brought an excavator and started illegal demolition works (Figure 21). When news reached Orfinskii, he rushed to stop the destruction of the building, which was the moment a camera caught him (Figure 22).    Figure 20. Building of the People‘s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of the Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, ca. 1940s.85                                                    85 Karelia. Istoriia i sovremennost v dokumentakh i fotografiiakh (Petrozavodsk: Karelia, 2000), 76 131   Figure 21. Illegal demolition works in Petrozavodsk, 16 June 2013. Photograph @ 2013 Mikhail Meshkov, Reproduced by permission.   Figure 22. Vyacheslav Orfinskii runs to prevent the demolition of the 1936 building. 16 June 2013. Photograph @ 2013 Natalia Meshkova, Reproduced by permission.   132  The interference of Orfinskii and, perhaps more importantly, of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Karelia, Elena Bogdanova, stopped the demolition.86 As of late 2015, the former building of the Karelian-Finnish People‘s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs remains in its half-destroyed state in the very center of the city, its charcoaled walls covered with tarpaulins. In its present condition, it is hardly a monument of architectural heritage, but rather a monument to regional preservation activism that successfully deploys Soviet-era understandings of old wooden architecture as the core foundation of a regional identity in order to defeat the profit-making desires of local businessmen. More importantly, it demonstrates an absolute priority of architectural form over function in the heritage preservation politics in Russia. While still employing the rhetoric of Soviet Constructivist architecture, the post-Soviet preservation movement was unable to suggest any other justification for its activities than that of the historical authenticity of forms. Devoid of any social content, its politics are more concerned with hollow walls than with their use in social life. The same, in fact, happened with Constructivist architecture over time. When post-Stalinist Soviet architects turned to Constructivist architecture in search of inspiration, and borrowed some of its ideas for the Soviet mass housing program launched in the late 1950s – a topic of my next chapter – they capitalized on forms developed by Moisei Ginzburg, Aleksei Gan and other early Soviet Constructivists, but discarded their social agenda.87 The current debate about the restoration of the Narkomfin House is focused on its preservation as part of the Moscow architectural landscape, as a monument to the history of Soviet architecture, just like the wooden churches and buildings of North Russia. The figure of Orfinskii hurrying to stop the demolition of an old wooden building, while two only marginally interested residents of Petrozavodsk look on, is also symbolic in another sense. While Soviet and post-Soviet architectural preservation discourse sought to re-invent local communities, eventually it exerted a much greater influence on                                                  86 For a journalistic account, see Natalia Meshkova, ―Soversheno prestuplenie,‖ Internet-Journal Litsei, June 16, 2013, available at, accessed December 10, 2015. 87 Yulia Karpova, ―Designer Socialism: The Aesthetic Turn in Soviet Russia after Stalin‖ (PhD, Central European University, 2015), 15–16, 125–126. 133  its producers than on the target audience. The failure of recent measures to revive traditional ways of life and architectural forms in Karelian villages is a particularly illustrative example. Since 1995, a team of Russian and Finnish architects and ethnographers has been working on an ambitious project to preserve the Northern Karelian village of Panozero as an architectural monument and as a living community devoted to traditional ways of life. Funding from the Juminkeko Foundation (Finland) was used, in particular, to revive domestic weaving, boatbuilding and sauna building. Trained by Finnish and Petrozavodsk specialists and working on newly imported equipment, the residents of Panozero were paid for performing traditional crafts for tourist groups.88 In a 2006 interview for the local TV Channel GTRK Karelia, Orfinskii argued that ―what is happening in Panozero is not only the restoration of exemplars of traditional architecture, but also the maintenance of the centuries-long lifestyle of northern Karelians,‖89 revealing that the drive for the museumification of the North Russian landscape, when applied consistently, is capable of transforming into objects not only buildings, but also people. Yet these measures could not stop out-migration from the village and, between 2002 and 2013, the population of Panozero dropped from 89 people to 52, reflecting the rural flight also experienced elsewhere in North Russia. Orfinskii, after all, could not conceal his disappointment that local residents were much less enthusiastic about the preservation of their village than were urban enthusiasts from Petrozavodsk and Finland, and called on ―the [Russian] state and society‖ in order to ―help Panozero residents to preserve life in this ancient Karelian land.‖90 A Petrozavodsk journalist expressed this disappointment in a more straightforward way writing that ―[external] connoisseurs of traditional culture and ancient life style find in Panozero indigenous beauty and charm, which,                                                  88 Markku Nieminen, ―Mezhdu proshlym i budushchim,‖ in Aleksei Konkka and Vyacheslav Orfinskii, Panozero: Serdtse Belomorskoi Karelii (Petrozavodsk: Petrozavodsk State University Press, 2003), 6–18; Aleksandr Yaskeliainen, ―Predposylki vozrozhdeniia derevni: Plotnitskie kursy i kontseptsii restavratsii panozerskikh domov,‖ in Konkka and Orfinskii, Panozero, 291–308. 89 ―Vesti. Karelia,‖ GTRK Karelia, June 27, 2006.  90 Vyacheslav Orfinskii, ―Rodnik karelskoi kultury,‖ in Konkka and Orfinskii, Panozero, 313.  134  unfortunately, most local residents fail to see.‖91 The project to revive Panozero created new cross-border connections between heritage enthusiasts in Karelia and Finland, but did not manage to connect their visions with the practices of local populations. This indifference was also true in the Soviet era when local residents often set abandoned houses and entire villages on fire, destroying the North Russian historical landscape and subverting preservation discourses that sought to transform them into natural extensions to this landscape.92 Arson, as well as accidental fires in abandoned heritage buildings, has occasionally occurred in the post-Soviet era as well, most notably at the former building of the Karelian-Finnish People‘s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.93 Having failed to revive rural communities in accordance with their supposedly traditional life style and architecture, the conservation movement in contemporary Russia was more successful in mobilizing its own ranks – that is, the educated urban class. Every year, several dozen people from Petrozavodsk travel to the museum of Kizhi and stay for the entire tourist season from May to October, dressing up in traditional peasant dress from the Onega Lake region and performing traditional crafts, whereas residents of surrounding villages largely ignore this practice unless it implies monetary rewards.94 The wooden shipbuilding school at ―Polar Odysseus‖ attracts young urbanites from Petrozavodsk and St. Petersburg, most of them university students, but hardly any contemporary Pomors from the still surviving villages along the White Sea coast.95  There are at least two non-governmental organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, ―Obshchee delo‖ (―A Common Goal‖) and ―Verenitsa‖ (―Cavalcade‖), that                                                  91 Sergei Kulikov, ―Komu nuzhny karely?‖ Stolitsa na Onego, available at, accessed on December 10, 2015. 92 ―Pamiatniki istorii i kultury – vsenarodnoe dostoianie,‖ Leninskaia Pravda (Petrozavoodsk), April 17 (1980): 3; ―Perspektivy ‗neperspektivnoi‘ derevni,‖ Leninskaia Pravda (Petrozavodsk), July 6 (1980): 2; ―Vesti. Karelia,‖ GTRK Karelia, September 4, 2015.  93 ―V kraiu pogibshikh vepsskikh dereven‘,‖ Finugor.Ru, October 12, 2011, available at, accessed on December 10, 2015; ―Politsiia predpolagaet, chto istoricheskoe zdanie v Sortavala podozhgli,‖ Karelinform.Ru, January 17, 2014, available at, accessed on December 10, 2015.  94 ―‗Ozhivshaia ekspozitsiia‘ muzeia Kizhi: Delo mastera boitsia,‖ Kizhi, no. 10 (2013): 7.  95 Interview with Viktor Dmitriev.  135  pool the financial contributions, labor and equipment of educated metropolitan residents willing to travel to North Russia in the summertime to participate in the restoration of its wooden churches. Both NGOs actively publicize their activities through the use of social media, public conferences, and documentaries. In Aleksandr Pasechnik‘s 2014 documentary The Arc (Kovcheg, produced by ―Obshchee delo‖), one of its activists explains the rationale behind his efforts: ―If the [North Russian] village keeps on living, then the state [of Russia] will keep on living.‖96 The restoration of old wooden churches is thus interpreted as a revival of local communities and, through them, the healing of the national body. The Soviet quest for historical authenticity has produced persistent forms of identification that became influential among the educated urban population as nostalgia for ancient architectural forms, for affective interaction with wood, and for lost cultural traditions.                                                        96 Alexander Pasechnik, dir., Kovcheg (Obshchee delo, 2014).  136    Figure 23. Stairs of a 1974 apartment block in St. Petersburg. Photograph @ 2015 Anton Golubev. Reproduced by permission.  137  Chapter 4. When Spaces of Transit Fail Their Designers: The Social Antagonisms of Soviet Stairwells and Streets  For a Soviet person, an entranceway door is something fouled, scratched, painted with disgusting red in towns or withered light blue in villages, and oftentimes entirely rotten.  Andrei Konchalovsky, Sublime Deception1  I believe that political power also exercises itself through the me