Erma Odrach's Reviews > Tashkent: Forging a Soviet City, 1930–1966

Tashkent by Paul Stronski
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's review
Feb 03, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: from-the-black-sheep-dances-http
I own a copy

This is a study of a Soviet city. Tashkent, the center of Russian life in Central Asia, became the capital of Uzbec SSR in 1930. Under Soviet rule, the entire city was to be a carefully planned urban space with all reminders of its non-Soviet past erased. Gone were the mosques, most of the small adobe-like houses, the marketplaces, the narrow streets, only to be replaced by blocks upon blocks of apartment buildings, factories, theaters and broad avenues (for military parades). The transformed Tashkent soon became Moscow's "shining star" in the East, and it was to show the entire East the "light of socialism ... and help spread its revolutionary ideology around the globe."

Some residents of Tashkent resisted the changes, others gradually learned to accept them. The book covers a lot of territory from 1930-1966 from Stalinism, to WWII, to the Krushchev and Brezhnev eras, then ends in 1966 when an earthquake (7.5 on the Richter scale) struck. Due to shoddy constuction and poor Soviet engineering, much of the city was levelled. Even Lenin's monument in Red Square was a pile of rubble. So much for the "shining star" - what was to last hundreds of years, barely lasted 30.

I enjoyed this well-researched book because there's not much out there outside the former Slavic republics. But it was a hard read, especially when I came to the earthquake part, given the horrific events in Japan. Thanks to Amy Henry for the book at The Black Sheep Dances!

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by J. (new) - added it

J. You might like to see Mission To Tashkent a 19th cent. 'great game' documentary of a brit operative living undercover in the pre-sovietized Tashkent.

Erma Odrach Thanks J. Tashkent and its earthquake in '66 is really hard reading right now with the nightmare happening in Japan.

message 3: by J. (new) - added it

J. Yes. Wonder if this will prompt any of the concerned parties ((parliaments, congresses, courts)) to question *sustainability* issues, whether nuclear or just everyday ....

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