Cities after the Fall of Communism: Reshaping Cultural Landscapes and European Identity
Walking along Soviet Street on the high central hill in Sevastopol, the visitor confronts spray-painted graffiti on the yellowed wall of a building that reads: "Sevastopol is Russia." While graffiti is a common form of self-expression in most cities, it is also a political statement in this Ukrainian port city that would likely choose the leadership of Moscow over Kyiv. The uninitiated viewer would likely also be confused by the persistence of the name "Soviet Street," which leads to a large statue of Vladimir Lenin that towers over the city. Cities throughout Eastern Europe are now Westernizing by erecting glass-and-steel skyscrapers while also destroying remnants of the past by tearing down buildings and statues and renaming streets and squares. Are Sevastopol's residents and city leaders stuck in the communist past, or is there another way to explain this Russian-minded enclave so many years after the fall of the Soviet Union? Why has Sevastopol changed so little and shown less of a concern with creating new local identity as part of a European community?
Qualls, Karl D. "Traveling Today through Sevastopol's Past: Postcommunist Continuity in a 'Ukrainian' Cityscape." Cities After the Fall of Communism: Reshaping Cultural Landscapes and European Identity, pp. 167-194. Ed. Czaplicka, John, Nida Gelazis, and Blair A. Ruble. © 2009 Woodrow Wilson Center Press. Reprinted with the permission of the Johns Hopkins University Press.