Moscow; Leningrad: GIZ; Krasny proletarii, 1930. 84 pp.: ill. 23,5x27,5 cm. One of 7000 copies printed. Original silver stamped yellow and blue cloth binding with the original red and white dust-jacket. Few bits of dust-jacket are restored and replicated, but most of it is preserved. The book itself is in a very good condition. Illustrated throughout with photogravures, diagrams and typographic elements.
Contemporary owner’s inscription on the first endpaper and the title page (A. Molokin, 1931). The book belonged to the well-known Kharkiv-based architect professor Alexander Molokin (1880-1951), the contributor to the ‘Sovetskaya arkhitektura’ magazine, the author of several important constructivist projects in Kharkiv including the complex of buildings for the students’ dormitories ‘Gigant’ (1928-1930).
Nikolai Miliutin rose from being a trade unionist and Bolshevik activist before the Revolution to Commissar of Finance of the RSFSR under the Soviets. Perhaps his most lasting legacy was as a city planner and editor of Sovetskaya arkhitektura [i.e. Soviet Architecture]. This important book on urban planning is often cited under an acronym Sotsgorod or the Socialist City as written on the dust jacket.
The book became classical for the model of communal living, known as Socialist City - the formation of linear agro-industrial communities made up of specific divisions for housing, parks, railways, roads, industry and farming. For years to come this model would be instrumental in Soviet urban planning.
The book is one of the classical examples of constructivist design. The designer of the book is unknown, but it is known that the typographic elements and layouts were done by the collective of the typography ‘Krasniy proletarii’.
According to some sources, in 1931 the book was extracted from the bookshops and banned from distribution.
Architect Dmitrii Khmelnitskiy (1886-1953), the architect and author of the preface to this edition, later wrote about Miliutin: ‘‘Nikolai Milyutin is an unusually interesting and undoubtedly tragic figure in historical terms. Milyutin miraculously survived, despite the fact that sometimes he allowed himself much more than was admissible for survival in the Stalinist era. Why Stalin did not liquidate him is unclear. Milyutin was probably the only relatively high-ranking (for the time being) functionary of the Bolshevik leadership who left a bright mark on world culture. A functionary, whose personality and whose creativity were not limited to his function as a party-Soviet leader’’.