Foreign News: Architect of Disaster

Like many a monarch before him, Dictator Joseph Stalin was obsessed by the desire to commemorate his long reign in monuments of stone. Gathering together a team of architects, he set them to designing riotously ornamental plazas, parks and skyscrapers, without regard for expense. Among his chief architects: Party Member Alexander V. Vlasov.

Rising out of sprawling slums, Moscow's gingerbread skyscrapers are a source of embarrassment to Stalin's collective successors, who have felt obliged to point out that elevators often stick, plumbing frequently fails, and doors and windows are full of cracks. Complained Party Secretary Khrushchev: "The architect needs a beautiful silhouette,...

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