Guard Neighbourhoods in Minsk: Citizen Initiatives under Post-Socialist Regime

Mgr. Natallia Linitskaya (Charles University, Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, General History Department, Seminar of Comparative History)


Socialist neighbourhoods appeared in Minsk after the World War II as a means to reconstruct the city. One was erected in the center and provided accommodation to elite. Among the peripheral ones, the settlement for the workers and engineers of an industrial giant, the tractor workshops, is of interest as an architectural ensemble. Nowadays the city government plans to demolish and rebuild both neighborhoods as they occupy investment-enticing city area. The inhabitants of the neighborhoods created public initiatives aiming to maintain the space considering it both, cultural heritage and habitat. Their tactics involve interpretation and public presentation of history of the city and architecture, whereby they revisit values of late Stalinist social design. The paths of reinterpretation of these values, such as social comfort, security, is the subject of this paper. It will focus on the production of the citizenry in the space of Internet, activities undertaken in physical space, as well as tactics of dealing with "those above". The author will also compare Minsk examples with the current situation by the similar European places, socialist Ostrava-Poruba and Nowa Huta, hoping to understand what conditions positive treatment of socialist legacy.