Ann Sussman, the architect/scientist whose neurobiological research has pinned down mental illness as a factor in modern architecture, sent me a video by a Russian cartoonist in 1976. It shows that even amid the official dominance of modernism under Stalin, and continuing during the, um, Brezhnev administration, modern architecture was seen for what it is and thus hated even by parts of the Soviet artistic intelligentsia.
Modern architecture was trying to put down its own revolt at this time in America and elsewhere, known as postmodernism. The mods squashed the postmods, and in a move of masterful jujitsu countered with a modernism that doubled down on its rejection of tradition (deconstructionism, blobism, etc.). Even still, a crack in the door was opened amid the turmoil enabling some archtects to seek a revival of the classical orders.
I don’t know much about the history of architecture in modern Russia, but from the high quality of some Russian classicism being built today, the same crack in the door might have been snuck through by classicists there. This video, “The Irony of Fate,” hints that the forces of sanity were not entirely crushed by Soviet modernism. (I like how the title of the cartoon seems to carom off the title “Choice or Fate,” by the famous cartoonist Léon Krier.)
[I’ve just learned through Seth Weine that this cartoon was the animated prologue to the Russian television miniseries “The Irony of Fate,” in which a Soviet male gets drunk with his friends and accidentally visits St. Petersburg taking a taxi to his apartment. He lives in an apartment that is identical to the apartment the taxi takes him to, into which, such is the uniformity of Soviet residential architecture, his own key fits. He goes in and goes to bed, not long after which the real resident returns to her flat. She is affianced, but he falls in love with her anyway. It is a romantic comedy. The link just above is not to the TV show but to the Wikipedia entry about the show. I see that Justin Lee Miller got there first with this in the comments to this post.]