DBWI:What if the Palace Of the Soviets was never completed?

It's almost impossible to think of Moscow today without the towering figure of Vladimir Lenin dominating the city from the Palace of the Soviets. The design restarted an interest in Neo-Classical architecture that can be seen throughout Russia and former Soviet States to this day. Even the United Nations debates whether to make it a heritage site. Construction was halted after the foundation was laid down due to the Nazi German Invasion during World War Two. Building material that had been marked for the building was needed for the war effort and manpower was needed at the front. There was some debate over whether to complete the structure as the war was coming to an end and how resources should be used.

Joseph Stalin seemed a bit obsessed with the buildings completion as a symbol of Communism's triumph over Fascism and the Hitlerites. He went before the Politburo and gave a speech about Building a Greater World from the Bones of the old one. Followed by articles and Pravda and other Soviet owned media. Comrade Stalin was not joking about that in the least. Ordering the Red Army and teams of POW construction crews to tear down every building still standing having to do with Axis Government functions brick by brick and sent back to Moscow to be used as building materials. Who can forget that famous Yevgeny Khaldei photo after the Battle of Berlin of Red Army men taking the Reichstag apart with hammers and sickles. The post WWII governments in Berlin, Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Sofia, and Zagreb launched formal complaints of course but the Western Allies didn't pay much attention.

The Soviet Union took and organized volunteers from all over the country to actually build the Palace many fresh from military service. Men and women who p articipated in the event look back at it as a defining event in their countries history uniting soviet citizens for a common goal. Though later uncovered data seems to show that the building was a drain on money and resources in the 3 and a half years it took to construct and may have used POW labor as a building force.

In the post Soviet era the building was regarded largely as an eyesore from a bygone government. Even members of the Duma made jokes openly that the government continued to be run from there for 4 years after the Soviet Union collapsed. It's also cited as the main reason the Capital was moved to St. Petersburg and the Winter Palace. The building is still standing to this day as a tourist destination and rallying spot for hard line Communist Protesters, especially on Mayday. The current Russian government doesn't seem to know what to do with the structure though there have been proposals to turn it into a large swimming pool or given to the Russian Orthodox Church to convert into a place of worship.

How does history change if the building just remained a large hole in the ground? What other building and monuments might have build instead? How are the economic and diplomatic situations changed?

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may have used POW labor as a building force.

There's no may about it, they did use German POW's in the construction of the Palace of the Soviets, and hundreds of them died in the construction or in the camps on the outskirts of Moscow. Families of POW's are still trying to get the Russian govermnent to appologise for the SU's actions and its treatment of POW's.

If you want a giggle though, moving away from that dreary project, look up the books about what the CIA though the Palace of the Soviet was. It seems they went full crackpot with some of their ideas owing to the secrecy around the lower levels of the building. We know nowdays that they were building very secure bunkers and shelters for the Politburo in the event of a nuclear war and as command centres. The CIA had anything from weapons research, human experiments to a ICBM launcher hidden in the statue of Lenin itself :s
 
The building of the Palace of the Soviets inspired several other similar projects beyond the Iron Curtain - some people even likened the whole phenomenon to the building of pyramids, a way to employ and unite a huge amount of people while at the same time keeping a close eye on them - so the history of Warsaw Pact architecture would become unrecognizable; Bucharest today is the closest thing there is to Speer's Germania, but who knows what would've Ceausescu done had the Palace of the Soviets not been built.
 
They say the best view in Moscow is from the observation deck of the Palace of the Soviets, because it's the only place in the city where you can't see the building.
 
I mean, it wasn't even the only one of such monstrosities made during the Stalinist era - there is the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, the former Karl Marx tower in formerly East Berlin, and the Palace of the Revolution in Budapest. All these gaudy forced labor projects, like some grotesque Stalinist take on Western skyscrapers. They left their mark, the Palace of the Soviets is still the tallest building in Europe, and the rest only got bumped out of the top ten in the past decade or so, and serve their purposes today - ironically, often completely opposite of the original Soviet intentions. The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is now one of many such mixed-use office skyscrapers in Warsaw, though they still have some museum space and the movie theater - where Communism built one tower, capitalism build a dozen. Hell, is there any more perfect symbol of capitalism's utter victory in the cold war than the Palace of the Soviets today - with much of the bottom half of the building converted into Europe's largest shopping mall.
 
I mean, it wasn't even the only one of such monstrosities made during the Stalinist era - there is the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, the former Karl Marx tower in formerly East Berlin, and the Palace of the Revolution in Budapest. All these gaudy forced labor projects, like some grotesque Stalinist take on Western skyscrapers. They left their mark, the Palace of the Soviets is still the tallest building in Europe, and the rest only got bumped out of the top ten in the past decade or so, and serve their purposes today - ironically, often completely opposite of the original Soviet intentions. The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is now one of many such mixed-use office skyscrapers in Warsaw, though they still have some museum space and the movie theater - where Communism built one tower, capitalism build a dozen. Hell, is there any more perfect symbol of capitalism's utter victory in the cold war than the Palace of the Soviets today - with much of the bottom half of the building converted into Europe's largest shopping mall.

Don't you just love irony?
 
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