Symbolism in Architecture and Sovietization

In the second half of chapter 6, I found the symbolism used by the Soviets in Tashkent interesting. Firstly was the large use of water in the administrative center of Tashkent. Stronski states that “such extensive use of water was meant to impress Tashkenters and foreign visitors from equally parched colonial areas and convince them of the ability of socialism to promote modernization” (Stronski, 161). Secondly was the strength and longevity of the buildings, in particular to resist earthquakes. On page 163 we read that “It was unacceptable for it to crumble from seismic movement, like so many other structures; it needed to last for centuries,” followed by on page 164 “A collapse of the Supreme Soviet building or the Lenin Monument would send the wrong message to Tashkenters and, in fact, the entire world. Soviet technology needed to control and reorder, not merely with-stand, the power of nature” (Stronski, 163-64). Thirdly we have the usage of asphalt throughout Tashkent. Stronski tells us “a marker of the urban lifestyle, asphalt was a public indicator of the Soviet system’s success in converting an agricultural society into an industrial and urban state” (Stronski, 171). In your opinions, were the Soviets effective with their use of symbolism in Tashkent? Did it help create a sense of a new Soviet city?

We learn in the beginning of chapter 8 of the mourning of Stalin in Tashkent. On page 202 it reads “Mourning was a multiethnic endeavor centered at the heart of the Soviet city but spreading outward to include all sections of the Uzbek capital” (Stronski, 202). Further more, we learn that compared to the rest of the Uzbek SSR, Tashkent has far more Central Asians able to use the Russian language, evident in the letters expressing morning after the death of Stalin. Stronski states that “Tashkent was clearly becoming more “Soviet,” while the rest of the Uzbek SSR trailed behind” (Stronski, 208). However, we see later that even after the death of Stalin many Uzbeks in Tashkent had not desire to live in apartments which the Soviets desired them to, many feeling unwelcomed. Furthermore, we see “The post-Stalin era saw an increase in resentment among Uzbek residents of the city who felt that they were being pushed out of their native town by Russian immigrants and Soviet architects who wanted to destroy their homes and cover their yards with pavement” (Stronski, 225). Was the Stalin regime effective in their goals of bring together and Sovietizing the people of Tashkent, and if so to what level? Was Stalin more effective than Khrushchev in incorporating the Asian people of Tashkent as Soviet citizens?

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