If not for the Russian October Revolution...

This is a rare glimpse of how Moscow might have evolved, if communists had not come to power in 1917 (and the laws of physics had been more forgiving)...
These amazing visions appeared in Russia at the turn of the century, in 1900 - probably one of the very first truly "Futuristic / Urban" series of images ever published (issued by the Joint Stock Publishing Company "Einem")
Source: Museum of Modern History, Russia









Source: Museum of Modern History, Russia (public exhibits)

Category: Architecture,Vintage


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Blogger doctorow said...

Great post, but I don't think that Leninism is the reason that Moscow never got jet-powered ice-sleds.

BTW, how about tagging the Flickr set as Public Domain or CC instead of "All Rights Reserved"? These images are in the public domain, after all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insightful and profoundly witty though Anonymous' critique may be, it misses doctorow's point. There may well be very good reasons for criticizing communism, but jet-powered ice-sleds isn't one of them.

These are great pictures, and thanks for posting them. But I've got to agree with doctorow, the commmunism crack is silly, particularly since it was only thanks to the revolution that backward, monarchist, agricultural Russia left the dark ages and actually became industrialized.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what they were planning instead...I particularly like the deranged "palace of soviets" designs.

Anyway, they did get jet powered ice sleds. Or close enough.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Unrealized Moscow & sleds: Awesome links! Thank you

Blogger bob said...

I'm with the first anonymous poster- clearly Lenin was responsible for the failure to realize futurist visions not only in Russia, but in every other country in the world. I think he must have used commie magic, or something.
Seriously though, obviously this vision of the future never came to pass because it's _completely absurd_. Those sleds are hard to make out, but aren't those propellers in front? They appear to float in mid-air, unconnected to the vehicle. It'd be great to have the streets filled with those- one could imagine the carnage if they crashed into anything.

Blogger Felipe Budinich said...

If you take into account Cory's aberrant post about Allende's "internet", you'll realize that even tho he hates "Big Brother", he thinks that it would be really cool if a communist had succeeded to create the tools used to supervise the unwashed masses. As a Chilean I feel insulted.

And tho obviously this vision of the future never came to pass because it's completely absurd, the reason they never got to try and attempt to develop that technology (and learn from those mistakes), has a lot to do with their social collapse.

Anonymous Victor Serge said...

Felipe, as a Chilean you're saying you're insulted Allende attempted an early version of the internet? Yeah, damn those elected representatives of the working class for bringing technology to the people. Pinochet's supervision was far better. Oh wait... he used to push people out of helicopters, right?

Anon, Leninism and Stalinism are not the same thing. Read some history before you make ignorant comments. And even Stalinism achieved universal literacy, employment, national unity and health care, something capitalism has failed to do. Wars, famine, fascism - that's what your precious system has to justify.

As for who had the best utopian ideas... hello, the Russian Futurists? The Constructivists? Suprematists? Communism had way more imagination.


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