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Assistant Professor Kate Malaia Publishes a Book

Taking the Soviet Union Apart Room by Room: Domestic Architecture before and after 1991

by Kateryna Malaia

Northern Illinois University Press/ Cornell University Press

Taking the Soviet Union Apart Room by Room investigates what happened to residential architecture, domestic spaces, and the lives of urbanites during the collapse of the USSR. Malaia looks at apartment plans, building blueprints and codes, interviews with apartment dwellers, and popular media, to understand how notoriously monotonous Soviet apartments became post-Soviet unrecognizable, eclectic versions of themselves.

This is a book about dramatic change, but also about what the stubborn continuities in the built environment meant. Making the case for similarities throughout the former Soviet Union, this study is based on interviews and fieldwork done primarily in Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine. Many of the buildings described are similar to those damaged or destroyed by Russian bombings or artillery fire following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. A book about major historic events written through the lens of everyday life, Taking The Soviet Union Apart is also about the meaning of home in a dramatically changing world.

Release date: August 15, 2023





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