The Factory of Man Himself

With the reshaping of a nation into something never before seen on earth, Russia in the early twentieth century was asking its people to become something utterly unique. The Russian people were tasked with transforming their nation into the world’s largest communist state, and that task came with the responsibility of becoming citizens capable of making fundamental changes to their lives to allow the system to prosper.  With a population of a quarter million growing over the span of three years, the development and growth of Magnitostroi was dependent on the wrangling of vocational school graduates, urbanites, even decommissioned military regiments.… Read the rest here

Soviet Industrialization and Magnitostroi

“It is a grandiose factory for remaking people. Yesterday’s peasant…becomes a genuine proletarian…fighting for the quickest possible completion of the laying of socialism’s foundation. You are an unfortunate person, my dear reader, if you have not been to Magnitostroi.”1) These are the compelling opening lines of Kotkin’s chapter, “Peopling Magnitostroi: The Politics of Demography.” The unknown correspondent’s words were persuasive; however, was this the true story of Magnitostroi. A steel plant situated miles from cultured society, populated by a handful of people, deficient in basic commodities and resources, and extreme housing shortages. … Read the rest here