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RECONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE TRUTHFUL, NOT KITSCH

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LETTERS

Architecture stands in front of everybody, is full of spiritual significance, personal and historical associations. In the course of reconstruction during the last decade, Moscow's historic centre has been partially replaced by imitations of old architecture and post-modernist structures. Reconstruction of Moscow and other historic cities of Russia includes not only selective replacement of old buildings but also refashioning of remaining ones, remodelling of facades, of window frames etc. Near the famous Bolshoi Theatre the so-called New Scene, a kitschy pseudo-traditional imitation building, has been built.

Whose arguments are voiced in support of this?

Demolishing and building anew is allegedly less expensive than restoring - historically accurate restoration would be technically difficult and expensive. If this is the case then the whole centre should not be preserved - just several architectural landscapes.

Russia is standing today on the eve of her new historic greatness. Therefore, creation of the magnificent image of the capital city is justified even in defiance of historic authenticity and nostalgia of Muscovites. The capital must be impressive and monumental and not just a humble architectural open-air museum.

How far ex-Soviet architects and city-planners cope with the task of constructing this 'Third Rome' (as they call it) is difficult to say, but some constructions are certainly interesting.

For example, the new Victory monument in Victory Park, where Nike, a pagan deity, is combined with an angel-like figure that hangs horizontally towards the Kremlin.

Sergei V Jargin, Moscow, Russia

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