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Poverty Soviet luxury

Нищета советской роскоши

Last time when I watch Soviet films, pay attention to the details that had left me indifferent. It is clear. On the one hand, when watching the film many times, the story becomes boring, so the eye is looking for something new. On the other, there is already something professional. Because the Soviet theme in this magazine, I spend a lot of space, unconsciously, in Soviet films looking for additional factual material. Yesterday I set up a extra package of cable television, which was the channel with the old Soviet films. And just was a film “Mimino”. I did not watch, limited to only the scenes in the hotel “Russia”. And that’s what I have noticed.

First, a few words about what was a hotel “Russia” in Soviet Moscow.

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On photo: construction of the hotel “Russia” in Zaryadye (1965).

The construction of the hotel “Russia” in Zaryadye commenced in 1964. Creating a project this accommodation, chief architect Dmitry Chechulin personally learned the most chic hotels of London and Paris, which went on business trips to the relevant city, and, as I say, consulted with representatives of the American hotel chain Hilton. The hotel “Russia” – in fact it was the whole hotel complex was created in the framework of classical Soviet megalomania, designed to hit the “foreign guests”. “Russia” positioned itself as the largest hotel in Europe. It was 6,000 rooms, restaurants, snack bars are the total number of more than 3 thousand seats and the famous concert hall “Russia” had a capacity of 3 thousand spectators.

Perhaps he Chechulin, which for the state account has visited the best hotels of England and France, realized that the number of rooms and size of restaurant is not what attracts tourists in this or that hotel. And from the point of view of a man who came to town for a short time, the size of the building of the hotel have no meaning. Rather, the tourist will prefer a relatively small, but cosy hotel, than huge “factory” for the production of hotel services. However, whatever thought Chechulin, the Communists have always thought otherwise. The Communists, like all educationists (and often simply dropout) were fascinated by the magic of numbers. So gigantic was one of the components of Communist ideology.

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On photo: construction site of hotel “Russia”. View of the Spasskaya tower of the Kremlin.

If the propaganda of the Soviet Union could be about something created within the country to declare that it is “the biggest” or even “biggest in Europe” for the Politburo that was enough. In fact, this passion for operations, “more and less” (study in elementary school), the Communists and their Soviet followers kept still. And they sincerely believe that if in some comparison table in the column “USSR” will be a greater number than in the graph of the capitalist countries, it automatically means that the Soviet Union was “better” (of course, when it comes to such indicators as the number of people shot sitting in prison or dead from starvation, the Communists and the scoops of the fans operation “greater than” immediately turn into lovers of the operation “less than”).

The project of the hotel “Russia” was also criticized within the USSR. A number of architects were against this project, just as before, opposed the construction in Zaryadye 32-storey 252-metre skyscraper (called the”Eighth Stalin skyscraper”). The fact that architecture is an important indicator not only the looks of the building itself, but also how it fits into the surrounding landscape. During the construction of the avenues and streets, for example, all buildings are designed so that they fit into existing buildings. But it also happens that any one building or facility is the center of the architectural landscape and its vicinity try not to build buildings with it equal volume to the new facility not leveled the center of the composition. Unofficially, it’s called “war volume”.

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Photo: a partial clearing of the construction site for the “Russia” of old buildings (early 60’s).

So, in the Moscow Zaryadye of course no particularly significant buildings and structures were not. Or rather, anything particularly meaningful from the point of view of the Communists. It is today, the Communists suddenly became so enthusiastic defenders of any old building in Moscow, which is being demolished. But at the time, the Communists easily destroyed whole quarters of Moscow. And nothing, not sorrow about their architectural value. Strictly speaking, before the construction of “Russia” a lot of buildings to be demolished was not necessary because the major cleaning of this space occurred at the beginning of the 50’s, when construction began on “the Eighth tower”. Actually, on a massive podium and began to build “Russia”. But next to the Charge was (and is to this day) is the architectural complex, which eventually became a symbol of the USSR – the Kremlin. New skyscraper visually “crushed” to the Kremlin, so in the end reason prevailed and it was not built. But during the construction of the grandiose of the hotel “Russia” these arguments have re-emerged. However, in the 60’s this is the Communists did not care. In addition, they found that as the number of storeys of the complex will be relatively low, the Kremlin is not hurt.

Anyway, in the year of the 50th anniversary of the October revolution, the first phase of the hotel “Russia” was delivered. Of course she immediately “crushed” by the Kremlin, as was feared by many sane people. Here on this pictures is most clearly noticeable.

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Photo: hotel “Russia”, 1974.

But the Communists were happy. Now was the time to impress foreign delegations, carrying foreign tourists in the most luxurious Soviet hotel, which “Russia” remained until the time when in that region for the Olympics-80, built a new luxurious hotel “Cosmos” (“Cosmos” helped to design the French, and built by the Yugoslavs; apparently it was considered a sad experience of Russia). “Russia” was immediately overshadowed once the most pretentious Moscow hotel “Ukraine” and “Leningrad” (by the way, both really very, very cute, especially the inside).

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Frame from the film “Unbelievable adventures of Italians in Russia” (1973).

Established Soviet practice, the Soviet people as second-class citizens, had almost no access to the hotel “Russia”. Not that there was any explicit prohibition. But, as he sang a duet Rudakov–Nechaev in the 70-ies: “But is there in the Russian, the Russian guests?”. In the first place in “Russia” settled foreigners. They were most of the guests of the complex. The second important different responsible party and Soviet workers, who arrived in Moscow on a business trip or at some Congress of the CPSU. Or, as in the movie “Mimino” – the Congress of endocrinologists. Since the Congress was international, its members settled in “Russia”. The man in the street just to get in “Russia” could not, for vacant seats never was. Yes, none of the ordinary Soviet people in their right mind would not go because “Russia” was assigned the status of an unofficial “hotels for the elite”, who were treated foreigners, senior officials and any well-known actors and winners of international competitions. The good old famous Soviet “equality”.

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Shot from a film “Mimino” (the scene in which the hero arrives at the hotel “Russia”).

But for the filmmakers there was a beautiful object, when it was necessary to show footage of contemporary Soviet Moscow. And, remember, in the hotel “Russia” takes place several episodes of a film “Mimino”.

The Comedy “Mimino” George Danelia was removed in 1977. To the hotel “Russia” it was a sad year. The evening of 25 February 1977 on the 13th floor of the hotel building began a strong fire. It was a very impressive crash. The hotel “Russia” proved to be ill adapted to extinguish a fire, but very good for the spread of fire. Despite the fact that to extinguish the fire were involved in nearly a thousand firefighters, the spreading area of the fire was about three thousand square meters. It killed 42 people (12 women and 30 men). Another 52 people, including 13 firefighters, were injured, burns and poisoning.

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On the photo: the building of hotel “Russia” after the fire (1977).

In General, the heroes of the film “Mimino” was very lucky. After all, if they live in the hotel “Russia” in the winter, then theoretically it could be shortly before the fire. However, the issue is not relevant. Just a curious detail.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

How do the characters in the film – a simple helicopter pilot from Soviet Georgia Valiko Mimino mizandari, the (performed by Vakhtang Kikabidze) and more than a simple truck driver from Soviet Armenia Rubik Khachikyan (played by Frunzik Mkrtchyan) fell into this luxury Moscow hotel? It’s very simple. Or rather – purely by chance. For Mimino strive some leading Opera singer from the Bolshoi Theatre (Vladimir Basov), and Rubik Khachikyan “the fool”. Apparently not knowing about the special status of the hotel “Russia”, he innocently asked for a room and he immediately provided a room. There was confusion. At this point in “Russia” there was held a Congress of endocrinologists and one of the participants was an endocrinologist from Armenia by the name Khachikyan (Leonid Kuravlev).

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“I Hachikian”. Shot from a film “Mimino”.

What would have happened in a U.S., London or Paris hotel – one of those who have studied Dmitry Chechulin – there would be such a cover? Most likely the hotel the driver Hachiko would provide another room. And if there were no other rooms – well, the Congress of endocrinologists still – he would be helped to move to another hotel of the same level. In any case, he would not have given a kick in the ass. But in the Soviet hotel “Russia”, which stood in the capital of the world’s first proletarian state, the proletarian Rubik Khachikian – truck driver, this is a proletarian? literally kicked up the backside, figuratively speaking, kick ass. For it is not about him was built the hotel “Russia”. Again, the illustration of the good Soviet sentiments about “all of us are equal.” What could be more humiliating than the feeling – you’re a regular driver, and have no right to live in a hotel, even if you have the money to pay for the room. On a couple Khachikyan from the hotel knock out the cold and “Mimino”, which is recognized that he is not an endocrinologist.

From mention and here’s a small caveat. About Mimino and Rubik Hacian?

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Mimino and Khachikian in your room with a view of the Kremlin..

It’s very simple. They lived in one room. So, for a moment, in the most prestigious and luxurious hotel of the Soviet Union in a Lodge room two strange men. Yes, for the Scoop it was not anything special. Strangers lived in Soviet hotels and two, three, and four. Strictly speaking, to obtain in the USSR a room in his full exclusive use in the USSR could only be some very high-ranking Soviet party official or someone like the great scientist or the honored artist.

Modern man, spoiled the hotel business and even imagine can not, so he went to another city, and it would be put in a room where already living of some other stranger. Of course, two friends may wish to move into a single room. As they say, for your money of anything. But so you came to the hotel, asked for a room, you settled. You’re such a go – Bang, and there is a bath from a stranger, a naked man comes out. Nothing like the stuff?

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

And for the “great Soviet Union” that such a check was the norm. And accommodation is the norm. For hotels and, consequently, number of rooms, there’s a little, and miscellaneous travel – like chickens nerezanyh. Here they settled in batches. To live together with a stranger – by Soviet standards it was still very comfortable. And anyway, what’s the moral of the Soviet people actually thought that if he booked a room at the hotel, where he will live alone?

Mimino and Khachikian put together, because although they were endocrinologists and participants international Symposium (albeit fictitious) , but were Soviet citizens. And the Soviet even in the hotel “Russia” was lower than the foreigners. And, most likely, the foreign participants were lodged in a separate room.

Now look at the Soviet luxury of the hotel “Russia” – is the most prestigious and pompous Soviet hotel 70-ies. Here Mimino walks down the hall to his room.

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Well, frankly, looking at the interior of this narrow corridor the idea of a luxury hotel as that is not there. What to compare? Let’s say that the scene from the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”, in which many episodes are in the luxury hotels of Las Vegas. And time is just about the same – 70-e, or rather of 1971, i.e. five years earlier than the film “Mimino”.

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A scene from the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas” (1998). Hero in the hallway of one of the hotels.

Here somehow believe that we are talking about a luxury hotel.

And come in the room? In the sense that let’s see the decoration of the rooms in the most luxurious Soviet hotel 1977. For starters, the number of American hotels from the same film (“Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”).

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A scene from the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas” (1998).

Bar, living room, bedroom, etc. In this room can live together. And what about our famous, the best, not afraid of this word – the elite – the Soviet hotel “Russia”?

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

Little tight small room and two beds, standing right next to each other.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”).

And on the other side almost right next to the bed near the window coffee table and two armchairs. This, remember, not a room in any provincial American Motel. No, it’s a room to the best, most-most-most Soviet hotel “Russia”. The room is not the worst, but narotiv, of the best. Because the window is not in the yard, and the Kremlin, and the world, and by Soviet standards, testified that the number is not the last.

Well, let’s look at the extravagance of the room.

The in this luxury, of course – is the view of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is an absolute luxury. What else? Stylish round table. Yes, that is five plus. In the usual Soviet hotels were the usual, with a rectangular top. And on the table an unprecedented Soviet luxury – phone red. Wow! I’m not with irony. I really – WOW! In the USSR in 1977, the red phone would have been unthinkable luxury. And with such stylish white wire. Green spinning chairs – here’s another one of the elements that the Soviet travel eye definitely would have suggested that location – the hotel is not for ordinary Soviet people.

Here a banal bottle of yogurt and a simple model glass a few smeared impression. Such glasses were everywhere in the USSR from Moscow to the suburbs. The background of the famous faceted, a delight of alcoholics, these exquisite design glasses looked more modern. However, when they were found literally everywhere – all the grace once lost. There was only a commonplace performance. Well, what else is next? Watch the opposite part of the room.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

No, if we were talking about the Motel for truckers – all sehr gut. Clean, neat, modest and tasteful. But, fuck, it’s a room in the best Soviet hotel, the hotel, which was intended mainly for the fact that it was parked foreign tourists. In fact, to hit the aliens and was built this “is the biggest in The Europe hotel.”

But I can not without tears look at this white duvet cover with an adorable rombovuyu a hole in the center. And this plush red blanket that is plugged into it. As in the pioneer camp! This is the best hotel? No, for a typical Soviet person, who is in Moscow luminaries is that the farmer’s House, such a room would enter into a stupor with its luxury. That only gilding on the wall is. But this is the business card of the USSR for foreigners! What’s going to surprise foreigners? This wretched interior? These white sheets? This polished table between the beds? And, Yes, the wall at a height of about 70 cm is decorated with polished wooden panel. It’s very cool! Here she is, glaring luxury.

Let’s see another fragment of this room.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

To the left of the entrance some kind of banquette (on it are the tires). And some other box. Even no TV. This is the room in the best hotel of the Soviet in 1977! The hall is also very small. What did the foreigners, when they come to those numbers?

Let’s look at the bathroom, the benefit of the media gave us that opportunity.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”.

Help! What is this?! This is some unreal shit. This terrible tile with black tile grooves. This is the cement or the once white grout had turned black from dirt? I think probably the latter, because at small niches for soap that is in the head bath, in the grooves of the nasty. I would never have the money is not climbed into the tub. Again, comes to mind only some cheap provincial hotel from a horror movie. To in a luxury hotel bathroom brought to such a state?! It’s in my head. But this Scoop! Where on the other was not. On the contrary, in the Soviet Union this bathroom seemed unthinkable luxury. And how! After all the walls in the tile. Yes, enamelled handle sticking out of the wall. It is the Soviet coolest of the cool!

By the way, so purely for comparison. Bathroom in one of the cheap rooms in the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”

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A scene from the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”.

I would not say that this is also the top elegance. But, first, we are not talking about the best hotel of the country that want to kill outright the visiting foreigners. And, secondly, nevertheless it looks decently “the best Soviet”. Tile and grooves are white, not black.

By the way, because in this picture, the bathroom in the best Soviet living much more information than even footage of the room. This stubborn and newacademy dirt – what is she talking about? Oh no, not that the staff at the hotel “Russia” was careless and lazy. In other Soviet hotels are all around. But not in “Russia”. To get a job in Russia, housekeeping for an ordinary Soviet man (woman) – it was an unprecedented chance in life. For such work held hands and teeth. But what could I do to the maids, if in such places like bathroom, start a specific type of bacteria – that they cover the black color of the grooves between tiles and other this kind of joints and cracks. To effectively deal with this stuff needs a special detergent. A Scoop they were not! And if they were, they were scarce, and it was stolen. That was covered bathrooms in the best Soviet hotels black mud, which is a conventional powder or soap to wash off.

Okay, let’s move into the public space of the hotel “Russia”.

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Here’s the sideboard on the floor. No, in the best hotel of the country can in the cupboard in the hall to stand in the boxes with the bottles? The boxes for the Soviet Union, no doubt, the greatest colored plastic in the usual places the boxes would be from the old boards – but still, comrades, this is a showcase of the Soviet Union. What the fuck? What people think about us, the capitalists, accustomed to live in such hotels as Hilton?

And there on the tables?

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Everything seems to be fine. Vase with gold trim, the same style salt shaker, plates platter.. by the Way, why coffee cups are not special plates, but these plates? Bitch, here to fucking Scoop. And again butylate yogurt. In the best hotel of the country could not kefir as something else to sell? And generally, these bowls and salt shakers that are typical dishes of the Soviet public catering. When later Mimino drinking tea at the airport, then the tables are about the same bowls and salt shakers.

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What basumati? Even for restaurant “Arbat” when I managed to do the dishes with a signature. Well really for the best hotels of the country it was impossible to develop the dishes original fashion design? Can. But not in the USSR. And Yes, those miserable upakovochki sugar, as in the train. In the best hotel of the USSR. The hotel in which the main guests were foreigners.

Well, the end. Sumptuous feast in the restaurant of the hotel.

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The interior as a whole did so. Not the Hilton of course, but overall pull. But let’s look closely at what is there ordered Mimino, who wanted to throw dust into the eyes of his lady. And he’s at the table for almost all of their money spent

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Fantastic Soviet luxury! Any Soviet citizen would say – yeah, that’s super. This table is something special.

But what’s so special? No doubt, for the Soviet Union, the presence of grapes on the table in the winter is top class. But in General, this vase with green apples and grapes, which even visually look cheap sour is some nischebrodstvo

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On the previous photo in the foreground there is something like a jar of red caviar. Here’s another Soviet luxury. But, apparently, from a long waiting Mimino ate it. Certainly on the table there is a barbecue and in the Soviet restaurant without such Soviet delicacies like kebab? Some salads in the original design. Pyramid is more of a Soviet “Olivier”. Probably with chicken – also a delicacy for many Soviet people.

And of course the “fuel”.

These bottles with standard plastic or tin Soviet tubes – it is so cute and so pitiful. The worst of course suhaca bottle with a white stopper. But brandy is also not a fountain. And the typical “Cheburashka” 0,5 lemonade and mineral water.

A bucket of champagne and vodka… And the vodka put the ice along with the champagne? I’m not a connoisseur of restaurant servings. Maybe you do not know. But I think that vodka with champagne in a bucket of ice is somewhat overkill even for simple Soviet mores. However, I could be wrong. And the bucket seems too rustic. If it was a regular tin bucket, only slightly smaller volume. By the way, for comparison, again the picture of “Las Vegas”.

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A scene from the movie “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”.

This I buckets with ice. American hotel buckets somehow prettier. Richer, I suppose. And the grapes are richer. But no vodka. And “Olivier”. But you can order to your room.

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Shot from a film “Mimino”

In General, such that an attempt to deceive foreigners. Got, not counting the money, the biggest hotel in Europe (and which burned down in 10 years), and looked it, this hotel, like it’s a cheap provincial Motel. “Luxury” the Soviet nisoprostol state. Megalomania good from afar. Up close and especially inside it funny. And the Communists did not understand. Modern scoops do not understand. They absolutely do not understand that the slogan “no pants but wearing a hat” is a slogan of the poor. And people in their underwear looks sillier, the more expensive and fancy hat he’s wearing. And, by the way, Mimino, who is on his last ruble is trying to throw dust in the eyes of the lady, and with the civilized people look a miserable feast – here’s a good symbol of the Soviet-not the show. Funny and sad at the same time.

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