Stalin Redesigns Moscow.
Grandiose plan of Moscow, embodying the redesign of the city that was accepted by Stalin in 1935. This is possibly the second largest project of redrafting a city after Haussmann's Paris in the mid-19th century – if not the largest one.
With the rapid development of the Soviet Union, Stalin wanted to create a fortress-like city, independent, efficient, manageable, and strong. The city needed to get rid of its aged-museum look; it needed more housing, efficient roads and city transport, and underground communication. Stalin’s means of revising the city were innovative: moving the houses and even city quarters on wheels to make the streets broader, creating St. Petersburg- or Venice-like system of water canals for water transport and to supply tap water, constructing dozen of bridges, eliminating lanes and whole streets, paving sets of concentric highways for state transport needs, planting massive parks to protect the air from Moscow’s factory pollution. All this - to build a self-sufficient living garden, an ultimate Soviet dream city that is pictured on this map.
However, the plan was only partially realized in the city's architecture at the beginning of World War II. The Soviet Union had to focus all the resources on the needs of the Red Army. Nevertheless, in those 7 years, a lot was done. Today Stalin’s improvements are a vital part of the city plan, so the modern design of Moscow by and large follows this exact plan. Just one example of the scale of work: during the reconstruction, an impressive made Moskwa-Wolga channel of 128 km in length was dug with the government using a stunning number of 196 thousand gulag prisoners as a cheap workforce.
This is one of two plans from the iconic book Generalny plan... (Translated: Master plan for the reconstruction of the city of Moscow), published by Moscowsky Rabochiy in Moscow, 1936. The plans were in a pocket accompanying the book. The second map is a smaller district administrative plan (only 74 x 66 cm, scan available here) that is not as interesting as this one, depicting the whole planned work of the city’s new Master Plan.
This plan very rare. WorldCat locates 3 copies of the Generalny plan book and no copies of this map. Moreover, the run of the book was 15,000 copies and there were 20,000 copies of this map printed - very few by Soviet standards. Quite possibly this is one of the 5,000 copies printed for government agencies.