The square was laid in the times of the
first "five year plans" replacing
the Tarakanovka (Cockroach) River and a few wooden houses.
The focal point of the square is what
used to be the Kirovsky District Workers Deputy Council complex. Now
it's simply referred to as the Kirovsky District administration.
Architect N.Trotsky, whose later and most familiar project was the
Soviet Counsel building at the Moskovsky Square, designed it.Soviet
Counsel building at the Moskovsky Square
A bit later, in 1958, architects
V.Khazanov and L.Pankratova remodeled one of the buildings of the
complex into the movie theater “Progress”.
Let me clarify some things about the
Soviet Councils. Stalin and post-Stalin times left a fully justified
impression that the Soviet regime was that of a dictatorship or
However, it was in the interest of the Soviet bureaucrats (and now the
present administration) to support the myth that the Soviet Councils
were designed and brought to life exactly the way they functioned later:
with the unanimous election of the only candidate, etc.
the original Councils fulfilled a very different vision, though for a
rather short time. They served as an alternative to the parliament,
which at the time had all the same drawbacks as the present one -
incapability to execute the laws it passed and to revoke its deputies,
its inadequate representation of the society with its wealthy and
powerful members, unsatisfactory moral qualities of the deputies - to
name a few.
The first Soviet Councils appeared in
1906. By February 1917 their power was quite real, though illegal. The
Workers and Soldiers Deputy Councils were elected at the plants and in
the army. The army consisted mostly of peasants who got their
separate Peasants Deputy Councils shortly thereafter.
beginning, the Bolsheviks were few in the Councils, greatly outnumbered
by the so-called Socialists-Revolutionaries (SRs) and the Mensheviks.
Though they all supported socialism, the two latter parties had
significantly different views from the Bolsheviks, specifically on the
question of preserving capitalism.
By the time of the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks had the
majority of votes in the Councils, and insisted that the Councils should
have gained full power immediately after the February Revolution.
The Mensheviks suggested waiting indefinitely until capitalism died
out on its own. The SRs also supported the Temporary Government,
but didn't have clearly defined ideology. Both parties were satisfied
with the results of the February Revolution.
Either way, the Councils made it possible
for all of the above parties as well as some others to interact and to
make decisions that the Temporary Government had to take into
consideration. The members were constantly interchanged due to elections
and revocation of deputies. Not only did they pass laws, but also
implemented them through Executive Committees elected by the
Council. Interestingly enough, there existed a real connection between a
voter and the top persons in the Councils. The election process
consisted of several steps - those elected at the plants voted at
the District Council elections; those in the District Council
decided who would represent them in the City Council, and so on.
By October 1917 the SRs' and the Mensheviks' popularity had decreased
dramatically, and the following elections resulted in the Bolsheviks
taking the majority of the seats. Bear in mind that the Bolsheviks
supported immediate peace with the Germans, and proposed radical
economic reforms that didn't take capitalists' or large land
owners' interests into consideration.
Following the October Revolution, the Soviet Councils became a legal
form of government. However, most of the Mensheviks' and the SRs'
parties left the Second Nationwide Gathering of the Councils in
protest to the Bolsheviks' actions.
On multiple occasions the Bolsheviks
invited the opposing parties to take part in the operations of the
Councils and the new government (the Socialists' National Committee or
SNC for short), but such participation was very limited - the
political system gradually became single-partisan.
Throughout the Civil War those parties demanded changes that in such
conditions would inevitably effect the restoration of capitalism and
armed resistance to bolshevism. Considering that, there was no real way
for the Councils to represent multiple parties.
However, up until the mid-1920s it was commonplace in the Communist
Party and in the Councils to hear arguments, varying opinions, even the
ones that disagreed with the majority. In the late 1920s Stalin
became a significant player in the Central Committee of the party,
and with help of his aides at the time he smoothly obsolesced
democratic elements in the Counsels and assumed sole power.
From the end of the 1920s and until their abolition in the 1990s the
Councils existed dependent of other forms of government and did not play
any significant role.
All right, back to the square.
other side of the Stachek Square is a noteworthy building of school
#384 named after the 10-year anniversary of the (revolutionary) October.
It was built in 1925-1927 from designs of architect A.Nikolsky in
shape of a hammer and a sickle. Despite the unusual construction,
the interior design is quite efficient.
In all, the school has a gym, a cafeteria and an auditorium. Outside
there is place for a garden, a recreational area and a park.
The rotating turret has an observatory,
which is, by the way, typical of schools built at the time.
In 1938 they erected a very well designed
monument to S.Kirov (sculptor S.Tomsky, architect H.Trotsky).
The engraving reads:
many centuries ago a great mathematician dreamt of a place to stand from
where he could move the world. Centuries have passed, and not only we
have found that place, we created it with our own hands.
Just a few years from now, standing on the victories of
socialism in our country, we will turn both hemispheres on the path to
Sergey Mironovich Kirov (Kostrikov) was
born in 1886 in Vyatskaya Guberniya (Vyatsky Governorship). In 1904 he
joined a communistic party (called the Russian Socialist Democratic
Workers Party at the time). From 1918 he worked in Astrakhan and in
After Lenin died and Stalin took charge,
Kirov revealed himself as a devoted Stalinist, turning away from
bolshevism along with many others.
He became one of the leading
officials of the new bureaucratic regime.
From 1926 he was the head of the Leningrad's administrative unit,
technically he became the head of the city.
In spite of that, he was popular among workers in Leningrad and to
this day he is well respected in many layers of our society.
On December 1, 1934 Kirov was shot in one
of the passageways in Smolny; presumably, according to Stalin's orders.
Stalin was wary of Kirov's popularity. At the XVII Gathering of
the Party that year members wanted to elect Kirov as their leader
instead of Stalin. Kirov was the one who warned Stalin about that
Stalin used that murder as means to intensify repression.
This building was built in 1949-1950. It
happens to be a great background to the monument, which is located to
the right of the image.
The building's architects are V.Kamensky
If I am not mistaken, Shvetsova Street
runs East from the square.
The creepy houses around here are apartment
buildings for workers, built in Kirov's times. Note that
originally these buildings were regarded quite differently, considering
the typical living conditions at the time.
Nearby is a building from the late 1930s.
This type of building is pretty common
further down the Stachek Prospect and on the Moskovsky Prospect.