Moscow's House of Government, 1928-1938


ACLS Fellowship Program




Across the Moscow River from the Kremlin stands a huge gray building known as the House of Government, the House on the Embankment, or the House of the Dead. Built during the First Five-Year Plan as a model of the “Communist organization of daily life” and a shelter for top government officials, poets laureate, and Red Army commanders, it became the most coveted and most dreaded “living space” in Stalin's Russia. This project is a history of the first ten years of its existence—as an examination of the physical structure itself; as a collective biography (historical ethnography) of the people inside; as a metaphor for the life and death of the first generation of Soviet rulers; and ultimately as a history of the demise of the Russian Revolution.