The standard elements of a city and how it works? A new book by Grigory Revzin literally answers these questions. One Chapter — one element: “Quarter” and “Prospect”, “Department Store” and “Garages”, “Traders” and “Power”. The book’s 36 essays — redesigned columns that previously appeared in the magazine “Kommersant Weekend”. Strelka Mag publishes a Chapter in which Grigory Revzin talks about the garages in the context of Russian national identity.

“There are different approaches to the search for Russian national identity in General and in the structure of Russian settlements in particular. There is much thought out, but there is one unique thing is the garages. Russian garages — it’s like Russian avant-garde or Russian faith. Occur mainly in Russia. Moreover, the garages have undergone a significant evolution from Soviet to post-Soviet times. Soviet garage was primarily a venue and form of entertainment. Soviet industrial city was designed in such a way that the rest of men of working age were not spatially available. If he didn’t have a garage or friend’s garage, he spent his free time on the Playground or in the yard or at the store, painfully reliving their irrelevance. Other business — a garage. Carb who remember, is a thing that the shuffling can be carried out years.

I once wrote that Simon Kordonsky has opened a “garage economy.” He reacted in his Facebook the following: “Revzin can write anything. About anything, including what they know by hearsay. The authors of the themes of the garage of the economy — Alexander Pavlov and Sergey Saleev”. I can only repeat those words and apologise to an outstanding social scientist for his disgraceful defamation. Anyway, this is a huge discovery. It turned out that in the former industrial cities where factories closed, from 15 to 30% of the population work “in the garage”, that is, Russia is not a country that produces nothing, and is languidly sucking a thin trickle of money from the tank of paternalism. No, it produces cars and sofas, pasties and stools, bookshelves and small arms, alcohol and drugs, sews, and cuts, breeds of pigs and fur-bearing animals, creates Souvenirs and sports equipment, etc., etc. in garages. Garages turned into workshops, and they live their lives. This huge urban areas with his protection, power, lawyers (re-issuance vehicles), zoning, social hierarchy — in fact, cities in the cities.

Favelas, or “residential garages”. In Adler, Sochi. Source:

Reports on garage cooperatives in Togliatti and Dimitrovgrad, Anapa and Moscow, Tyumen and Vladivostok are filled magazines and Newspapers. This is usually a description of the workshop and production process, essay on economic activities and life (with a hint of ethnographic detachment), interviews with the owner, a description of the relations with the authorities and the grey financial schemes. Sometimes sympathetic, sometimes indignant. In the latter case, the story added vicious detail, the unsanitary conditions, the forgery, the mafia, crime, prostitution, drugs, migrants.

Simon Kordonsky in his articles, who introduced me to an unfortunate misconception, proves that our garage economy is not a business, and crafts. The word “craft” brings to mind the work of the settlement, the atmosphere of the medieval city. Of course medieval shoemaker or jeweler are hard to compare with carburators or Dimitrovgrad Moscow flomasterom. Our crafts are crafts people of post-industrial civilization. However, the way the device this activities the type is not a capitalist. The business can be sold, and the fishery — no. Business aimed at production of goods, and craft — ware, and will sell or not is another question. There are many other differences.

If to speak about the environment of garages, it is, of course, slums. And this on its own is amazing.

Cooperative is an illegal child sleeping areas, they are the flip side of massive industrial development. Is industrial civilization to an end, the factory that these areas gave rise, to stand up, and the environment returns to that from which it originated. To the crude product, which was collected by the factory.

Not to say that there is nothing like this in the world. If you compare the Russian cooperative with workshops of small artisans of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, you will find that there happens exactly the same. This is exactly the same slums. And of the collected computers, bikes, phones, furniture, make cakes of the city’s dogs and fake coke. This craft after industrialization, in the background, next to and after the big factories and big brands.

Garages. In Adler, Sochi. Source:
I would not say that there it changed a lot compared to the medieval handicraft quarters. If you go deeper inside the neighborhoods of Damascus or Istanbul, there bags sew or make jewelry, offering to assess the authenticity of materials by trying them on the tooth. Or you can use a lighter and a knife made of Damascus steel give to cut aluminum fork. And it’s not high-tech post-industrial craft, and about the same that existed here for three hundred or five hundred years ago. And then looked all about the same, except for the drooping vines of the old wiring and an incredibly messy closet.

But even inside our garage cooperatives and the Eastern craft workshops all arranged in a similar way, presenting their city, their, so to speak, the facades differ sharply among themselves. Russian garazhnyjj KOOPERATIV comes to town with a fence, sometimes barbed wire. Chinese or Istanbul out stalls. This fence and make our garages a unique Russian phenomenon.

It has been influenced by genetics. Soviet industrial city develop from a village at the factory. Initially there is only housing, factory and railway station. Just look at the company towns in America of the late nineteenth century, though there were also a Church and a saloon. The Soviet authorities removed them, but added the school, the hospital and club, and of the district Committee. All this may look pretty pathetic, but that’s what makes an industrial city by city, not by the working colony. However, what distinguishes these cities from the ordinary — there are no markets. Generally no, because initially, the industrial Park is supplied through the stall.

Garages. In Adler, Sochi. Source:

Markets many complaints unsanitary, fake, mafia, crime, prostitution, drug abuse, migrants — that is exactly the same as for garage cooperatives. The similarity of the arguments gives the proximity behind them ideology. The people in the markets relatively the same as in the garage, but it’s not those 15-30% of the active working population who have left in the garage of the economy, and those 5% that went into the Shuttle. People who are not useful to the state and departed from him, and there and there.

In the garage, I think there is a potential for the development of residential areas. The solution is simple — complement garage industrial market surrounding it on the perimeter benches. This, of course, does not solve all problems of the economy garage, but still to a certain extent removes her from the shadows. And instead of the closed zone in the city we get a new city centres — and how! For those 15-30% of the working population who work in the garages is the most active, enterprising citizens. They can completely change the city.

However, it is an empty dream. In fact, the use of garage for manufacture — the invention is not third countries, and the first. Garages began Walt and Roy Disney (Disney), William Harley (Harley Davidson), William Hewlett and David Packard (Hewlett-Packard), bill gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve jobs (Apple), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry page and Sergey Brin (Google). However, it is a few other garages in America, there is no garage cooperatives. This garage on a plot of private property, and this private cottage — Institute of advanced market economies, in which there is much to develop out of the garage.

We have this worse.”

The book can be purchased at the festival “non/fiction”, which will be held from 5 to 9 December in Gostiny Dvor. After the collection will be available for online ordering.

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