Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012


Taking a cue from two books—Stephen Bittner’s account of the “many lives” of the Soviet Thaw and Greg Castillo’s study of the Cold War as a series of battles in design and the domestic sphere—as well as a recent explosion of interest among historians in the Khrushchev era, “spatial history,” material culture, and East–West exchanges, this article addresses the paradoxes of the Thaw as exemplified in urban form. It argues for the interconnected nature of domestic, international, and Eastern bloc- level dynamics by viewing processes of the Thaw simultaneously from the angles of neighborhood, city, and empire. These angles capture the evolving relationship with the Soviet past, the expansion of the Cold War into everyday city life, and the burgeoning exchange in knowledge, technology, and planning instruments among socialist countries.


This work was originaly published in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History.



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