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Old June 14th, 2016, 04:47 PM   #381
Roman_P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantropa View Post
As a side note, more than 20000000 soviets had been killed just a couple of decades before as a result of a german invasion, I somewhat can see a point in what they did there.
A side note indeed because it has nothing to do with the matter. That might be accepted as a reason if this building had been built by Nazis or at least strongly associated with them (say, was a place for NSDAP meetings). But it was not the case even though Soviet propaganda tried hard to link Eastern Prussian heritage with Nazism. Or at least with so-called 'Prussian militarism' whatever that meant.

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De gustibus non disputandum, obviously; still I find House of Soviets quite a unique building, not so sure the same can be told of the castle.
First of all, any old castle in a center of a city, many times rebuilt, is unique in a way because it reflects the history of the city with its ups and downs. Structures of this kind were not usually build by template, and even if initially they were with time they obtained their unique faces.
But even if you consider uniqueness in a more general way it was still unique. Maybe it was not unique by the Western European standards but in Soviet Union there were not many genuine medieval castles (and in today's Russia even less - only the one in Vyborg). That one could have been the only one of its kind for all the state.

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Maybe reconstruction was not impossible, but not even child's play.
Nobody says it was a child's play but many worse ruined buildings were successfully reconstructed, and in the Soviet Union too. Of course it required money. I can agree it was not the priority No 1 for the state. But it could have been at least preserved for a time being as it happened (luckily) with the city cathedral. It was kept in a half-ruined state for all the Soviet time but still stood. In the 1990s it was restored and now serves as the main landmark of Kaliningrad. There were no reasons not to act this way with the castle. Its demolition was a purely ideological thing. And, yes, moronic one whichever excuses were invented.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 01:57 AM   #382
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There have been lots of demolitions in Soviet Union, many of which I suppose moronic; imho this just does not qualify as one of them.

In 1914 the Russian Empire renamed its capital city because its name sounded too "germanic"; hope you see the point: things like that do occur very often in history, every now and then you try to get rid of things evoking something you don't like (anymore); I'm afraid this has nothing to do with "soviet" propaganda, it's plain and simple nationalism; I'm not a huge fan of nationalism, but it's hard to think of it as a specifically soviet/russian thing.

Now: you want Kalinin-grad to be a soviet and/or russian city. You have those rotten ruins of the exterior of an old german castle, that have been exposed to the elements for more than two decades, after a (very strategic, indeed) allied bombardment burnt it down. And Germans were those guys who killed lots of relatives/friends of yours. What do you do?, bring it back to its former splendour, maybe trying to steal some german tourists from Rimini?

By the way, given the fact it took them twenty years to tear it down, and another twenty years for bulding something else in its place, I'm afraid it'd be hard to maintain they were either in a hurry to obliterate a symbol of another ideology, as they did with Christ the Saviour, or to replace it with a new one, as they did by substituting the double-headed eagles with five-pinted rubin stars on the Kremlin towers — by the way actually that's not true for either Christ the Saviour, demolished in 1931, or the glided eagles, removed (as portrayed in a famous Markov-Grinberg's picture) in 1935. It seems to me they just had no clue what to do with it.

Not that I'm happy they razed it — on the contrary: it would have been great if Europe had preserved some historical reminders of the profound respect that western liberators (as opposed to ISIS, Nazis, Soviets, etc.) always showed for someone else's cultural heritage (leaving out the populations they liberated) — but I definitely see a rationale in what they did.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 02:08 AM   #383
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These specific discussions are somehow complicated.

I'm against any form of "legislating history" as some countries do, even sometimes those in Western Europe (e.g., creating official version for events and in some cases punishing those who question it - might be idiotic to question essential facts but shouldn't be illegal).

Anyway, I am somehow disappointed Germany didn't embark on a more vigorous program to eradicate the architectural imprint of the communists on former East Germany territory after 1989. They took down some things here and there, but I'd support an effort to get rid of things with symbolic value such as plaques or small monuments around big infrastructure commemorating the socialist party or whatever b.s. of the time. I'm also in favor of a program to dismantle anything left behind by Russians, the Red Army or their agencies, with the sole exception of war cemeteries where (mass) graves are found. Else, they should demolish things like the Soviet monument for the peace in Berlin, for instance. Get rid of it completely. Let history be freely discussed but deny communists the chance of being commemorated on foreign soil with official monuments. They should also demolish the TV tower in Berlin and replace it with a newer and possible taller structure.

In that sense, Poland did a great job erasing the small architectural things that were remnants of communism, like hammer-and-sickle insignia on residential buildings or logo/slogans on bas-relief.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 02:32 AM   #384
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Old June 15th, 2016, 02:36 AM   #385
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I am somehow disappointed Germany didn't embark on a more vigorous program to eradicate the architectural imprint of the communists on former East Germany territory after 1989. They took down some things here and there, but I'd support an effort to get rid of things with symbolic value such as plaques or small monuments around big infrastructure commemorating the socialist party or whatever b.s. of the time. I'm also in favor of a program to dismantle anything left behind by Russians, the Red Army or their agencies, with the sole exception of war cemeteries where (mass) graves are found. Else, they should demolish things like the Soviet monument for the peace in Berlin, for instance. Get rid of it completely. Let history be freely discussed but deny communists the chance of being commemorated on foreign soil with official monuments. They should also demolish the TV tower in Berlin and replace it with a newer and possible taller structure.

In that sense, Poland did a great job erasing the small architectural things that were remnants of communism, like hammer-and-sickle insignia on residential buildings or logo/slogans on bas-relief.

Wow, that's some impressive open mindedness.

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Old June 15th, 2016, 11:06 AM   #386
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They should also demolish the TV tower in Berlin and replace it with a newer and possible taller structure.
That sounds pretty insane, it's an iconic modern building with no relation to the communist ideology.

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In that sense, Poland did a great job erasing the small architectural things that were remnants of communism, like hammer-and-sickle insignia on residential buildings or logo/slogans on bas-relief.
There wasn't that much to erase to begin with, hammer-and-sickle in Poland was used pretty much only in relation to the Soviet Union so I don't really know any example where it would be displayed on any buildings in a permanent way as part of the facade. Similar with inscriptions and logos, they were often in the form of neons or other more temporary structures.
Nobody bothered to demage the buildings to remove such things, every reference to Stalin have been removed after he was famously condemned by Khrushchev though:
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Old June 15th, 2016, 03:21 PM   #387
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There have been lots of demolitions in Soviet Union, many of which I suppose moronic; imho this just does not qualify as one of them.
So which Soviet demolitions would you qualify as moronic then? Almost all of them had reasons no better no worse than those you described in case of the castle. Blowing up numerous churches? Well, religion is a people's opium, an unproper thing in the Communistic future. And anti-religious ideology was also not invented by the Soviets as well as nationalism. Destroying old civil buildings, city landmarks as the Sukharev's Tower? Well, they are rotten remnants of the old regime keeping to remind people of old times' harshness, so let them go and make way for the new and better. Good old progressist ideology, nothing new again. And so on.

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I'm afraid this has nothing to do with "soviet" propaganda, it's plain and simple nationalism; I'm not a huge fan of nationalism, but it's hard to think of it as a specifically soviet/russian thing.
It's worse. It's a mixture of traditional nationalism (where nation means not Russians but "the new generation of people - Soviet people") with typical revolutionary nihilism towards heritage (even though it had been pretty much faded in the 1960s).

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Now: you want Kalinin-grad to be a soviet and/or russian city. You have those rotten ruins of the exterior of an old german castle, that have been exposed to the elements for more than two decades, after a (very strategic, indeed) allied bombardment burnt it down. And Germans were those guys who killed lots of relatives/friends of yours. What do you do?, bring it back to its former splendour, maybe trying to steal some german tourists from Rimini?
The same logic could have been applied to the Koenigsberg cathedral. Actually, its case was even worse, because there was a religious factor in addition to all this. But it was spared.

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It seems to me they just had no clue what to do with it.
That seems true. And eventually they've chosen the worst possible decision.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 03:58 PM   #388
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Sad, Glasgow needed no blitzkrieg to virtually wipe out its old buildings.
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Old June 15th, 2016, 07:52 PM   #389
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First of all, what do we mean by "moronic"? I'd go with this classic definition: you do something moronic when you cause losses to other persons while yourself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
As I said, honestly I cannot see anything truly moronic here — besides eventually the carpet bombings; which destroyed uncountable landmarks; not only in enemy "Germany" (here meaning more or less Central Europe, possibly in a broad sense) but also in cobelligerant Italy and even in allied France (not to speak of the hundred of thousands of (enemy, cobelligerant and allied) civilians killed).
Also I don't think "communism" here has played such a big part: the castle had been a german landmark in a historically german/prussian town which the authorities — of a country left almost alone to fight the germans in the most destructive war in history (I supposed the irony in calling that remark a "side note" would have been more obvious, now I suppose I was wrong) — wanted to russify, and had been in ruins since 1944-45. So I definitely see a logic in what they did (a logic one may agree or disagree with, of course).
Btw according to wikipedia "students and intellectuals" protested against the decision, which maybe is even more than what you get nowdays in the civilized West when the Tricorn, the Mechanic Theatre, or a Paul Rudolf's building are torn down, maybe to make room for some other post-modern shopping center.


PS1: so why didn't they demolish the cathedral too?, frankly I have no clue; maybe because it was smaller and on an island?; but not my problem, indeed: it's not me the one who's trying to account everything in terms of how brutal, nationalistic and barbaric the soviets were.

PS2: what would I call a moronic demolition?, I'll resort to an example from my own country: via dei fori imperiali in Rome; you're claiming to be true heir to classical Rome, even trying to sell yourself as a sort of new roman emperor, and you do what? level a portion of the heart of this 2000 years old magnificence to build a road linking Altare della Patria to the Colosseum; silver lining: such a great view early in the morning.

Last edited by Atlantropa; June 16th, 2016 at 01:48 AM. Reason: adding a second PS
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Old June 16th, 2016, 03:45 PM   #390
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First of all, what do we mean by "moronic"? I'd go with this classic definition: you do something moronic when you cause losses to other persons while yourself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
So isn't that the case? What was gained by that demoition? The spot is still mostly vacant, partly occupied by the House of Soviets which was never finished. The only thing gained was a reputation of barbarians destroying world heritage. For me it suits perfectly your definition.

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So I definitely see a logic in what they did (a logic one may agree or disagree with, of course).
I don't deny that. What I say is that any demolition has some logic behind. Even that one by Mussolini (deplorable and stupid indeed) had some ideologic and logistic reasons from the fascist point of view. The point is whether we can accept that logic or not. For me Mussolini's logic was no less forgivable than logic of those in charge for the Koenigsberg castle demolition. (Though one may remark that Koenigsberg has lost one of two its main landmarks while Rome just lost some secondary ones of hundreds).

Quote:
Btw according to wikipedia "students and intellectuals" protested against the decision, which maybe is even more than what you get nowdays in the civilized West when the Tricorn, the Mechanic Theatre, or a Paul Rudolf's building are torn down, maybe to make room for some other post-modern shopping center.
So who idealizes the civilized West in that regard? This thread (and thematically connected ones) delivers many sorrowful examples from the West as well.
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Old June 16th, 2016, 07:13 PM   #391
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So, and please correct me if I'm wrong, the issue we eventually disagree about is whether the soviet authorities gained anything by demolishing those ruins, if yes how much, and, on the contrary, how big the loss.

In my opinion: (a) ideologically they made another step in order to russify and/or de-germanize the town; that's a gain (from their pov), eventually a huge one; (b) practically they could rebuild from scratch the center of the town, and this could have been a gain too (imho however less important than the abstract one). More or less, they did the same that unified Germany has done with the Palast der Republik; btw in Kaliningrad they seemingly are evaluating whether to rebuild the castle as it was, and this could even close the circle — I guess they would do this by demolishing the House of Soviets, and imho that would be a huge con.

What is lost is rather clear: the remainings of that castle; but how big the loss?, and who had to bear it?; I'm all but an expert in this kind of buildings so I won't even try to evaluate how important it was compared to similar buildings, and what follows is merely a guess: (a) practically I dare say no loss: the castle had already been shattered in ruins (the real loss had already happened), it needed to be rebuilt, but a rebuilt castle is not the same as a well preserved one (I doubt nowdays it would have fallen prey to hordes of tourists); btw this can still be done; (b) the ideological loss is symmetrical to the ideological gain, and consisted in ereasing that footprint of the germanic civilization (and also of its barbaric destruction by carpet bombings), but still: true world heritages are far less than those designed by UN conventions; in this case I am still led to believe this has been more a case of a "someone else's loss" — to "the germans" — than one of an "everyone's loss" — "to humanity".

Last edited by Atlantropa; October 31st, 2016 at 03:57 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 06:19 PM   #392
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Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, east end, all the same 2/3 blocks

1893 map, note the London Arcade
image hosted on flickr


from the cross
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looking east along Gallowgate at the railway viaduct at Molendinar St (formerly East Nile St), the site in question on the right.
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looking east again, this corner is the same one on the left in the image above, denuded of it's grandiose ironwork
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looking west from Moir St, site in question on the left.


Same view as illustrated above
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Looking west along Gallowgate at Spoutmout and Moir St.
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Same view as above, just prior to demolition
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Looking east from London Rd now, with Glasgow cross and the railway viaduct behind you. Site in question on the left.


Still looking east, the tenement is the corner of Moir St and London Rd.


Looking west this time on London Rd, the tall dormered tenement is the one on Moir St from the previous image.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 06:20 PM   #393
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Glasgow

Gorbals area of Glasgow, 1970s, during demolition. nothing in this set of images survived.

image hosted on flickr






















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A great place and its people are not renewed lightly.
The caked layers of grime grow warm, like homely coats.
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The old coats are discarded. The old ice is loosed. The old seeds are awake.

Slip out of darkness, it is time.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 06:21 PM   #394
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Glasgow

Gorbals, cont...




















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A great place and its people are not renewed lightly.
The caked layers of grime grow warm, like homely coats.
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The old coats are discarded. The old ice is loosed. The old seeds are awake.

Slip out of darkness, it is time.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 06:22 PM   #395
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Glasgow

cont...more Gorbals





















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A great place and its people are not renewed lightly.
The caked layers of grime grow warm, like homely coats.
But yet they will be dislodged and men will still be warm.
The old coats are discarded. The old ice is loosed. The old seeds are awake.

Slip out of darkness, it is time.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 06:36 PM   #396
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The Christian Institute/Bible Training Institute/YMCA, Bothwell St, Glasgow.

Demolished 1980






replaced with this
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A great place and its people are not renewed lightly.
The caked layers of grime grow warm, like homely coats.
But yet they will be dislodged and men will still be warm.
The old coats are discarded. The old ice is loosed. The old seeds are awake.

Slip out of darkness, it is time.
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Old June 24th, 2016, 12:53 AM   #397
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Wow... You actually have to be mentally impaired to replace that with that...
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Old June 27th, 2016, 07:36 AM   #398
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Some pics of the details of Singer Building, probably just a few days before demolition. Just imagine how beautiful it would be to have it in NYC in 2016, maybe as one of those luxury apartment buildings.











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Old June 28th, 2016, 11:16 PM   #399
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It's very sad.
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Old June 29th, 2016, 04:15 AM   #400
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Singer factory, Clydebank (suburb of Glasgow), Scotland

The area was flattened in the Clydebank Blitz of 1941, the massive factory remarkably survived unscathed but was demolished in 1963
















Does anything that Singer built, other than some old sewing machines, survive?
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A great place and its people are not renewed lightly.
The caked layers of grime grow warm, like homely coats.
But yet they will be dislodged and men will still be warm.
The old coats are discarded. The old ice is loosed. The old seeds are awake.

Slip out of darkness, it is time.

Last edited by crusty_bint; June 29th, 2016 at 07:32 PM.
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