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Construction and Launching of the Leningrad Underground First Line: Bringing Modernity through an Transport Network

Student: Justin jacob Ramsey

Supervisor: Aleksandra Bekasova

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Applied and Interdisciplinary History "Usable Pasts" (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2017

The thesis explores the construction and launching of the first metro line in Leningrad in 1955. The purpose is to shift focus away from the aesthetics of the metro stations and onto the metro project itself. By analyzing newspaper articles published during the period of construction between 1946-55, I argue the party-state presented the building of the metro as serving a dual purpose. It first served a prominent practical use in providing a rapid form of transportation for the city population to decrease travel time while connecting four of the five city railroad stations, and creating various jobs. Equally important, it also served an ideological purpose by demonstrating how the party-state was engaged in bringing ‘modernity’ to Leningrad. What this demonstrates is how the party-state presented the building of the Leningrad Metro which provided similarities with other metro systems in the world but also had its unique particularities representative of the Soviet Union.

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