Reconstruction of Moscow


The revolutionary dream of a new socialist city dominated Soviet stamp designs of the Stalin period.  Among the grandiose projects, the reconstruction of Moscow overshadowed all others. Moscow was to become the showcase of the world’s first socialist state; a city of enormous squares and streets as broad as airport runways, housing communes, and clubs for workers. Many of the grandiose projects were never realized.

The Palace of Soviets, a mammoth project that never came to fruition, was designed to be the largest building in the world—a temple-like 1,360-foot skyscraper with a 360-foot statue of Lenin on top. A new Moscow was to arise around the palace.  The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world, was razed to the ground to make room for the Palace of Soviets. However, the project proved untenable, and it was abandoned when Russia entered World War II.

In 1946, Stalin put forward an idea to adorn the Moscow skyline with skyscrapers. Nikita Khrushchev recalled Stalin’s words, ” Foreigners will come to Moscow, walk around, and there are no skyscrapers. If they compare Moscow to capitalist cities, it’s a moral blow to us.”  In the 1950s, seven skyscrapers became the signature trait of the Moscow skyline.