House of Trade Unions

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

House of Trade Unions


a public building in Moscow, one of the sights of the capital. The House of Trade Unions was done in the classical style and was originally constructed (to 1775) by M. F. Kazakov for Prince V. M. Dolgorukov-Krymskii. After the acquisition (in 1784) of the house and the estate by the Moscow dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) for the Noblemen’s Assembly, Kazakov expanded the house considerably, altering the layout from 1784 into the 1790’s: the famous Hall of Columns (area, 24.8 by 39.5 m; height, 14.5 m), with its two tiers of windows and majestic Corinthian colonnade, was built on the site of the interior courtyard. The hall is decorated with elegant gilded crystal chandeliers and mirrors in the shape of windows, which expand the hall visually and impart to it an elegant and ceremonial appearance. The building is made of brick; wood was employed in the construction of the ceilings and columns. After the fire of 1812, the building was restored by the architect A. N. Bakarev. Between 1903 and 1908 the house was reconstructed by the architect A. F. Meisner: a third story was added and the main facade and layout of the premises adjoining the Hall of Columns partially altered.

The Moscow dvorianstvo held receptions in the Noblemen’s Assembly. In 1860 a division of the Russian Musical Society initiated regular symphony concerts in the Hall of Columns; the organizer and conductor was N. G. Rubinstein.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the building was transferred to the trade unions by a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars, and several trade union organizations were installed in it. The House of Trade Unions became a propaganda center for Soviet literature and art. The first concert for a workers’ audience was held in 1918; A. V. Nezhdanova’s performance on that occasion was attended by V. I. Lenin and N. K. Krupskaia. The House of Trade Unions conducts extensive mass cultural work: lectures by state and public figures on problems of the international workers’ and communist movement and on science; creative reports of the best amateur theatrical groups of the country and of masters of the arts; evenings for advanced workers and innovators in production; evenings of relaxation; a film university; and activities for young people and Pioneers, including a young workers’ club, musical evenings for people of the same age, a symposium for young Leninists, Pioneer festivals, and children’s book weeks. In 1917 a New Year’s party was held in the Hall of Columns for the first time; it has been traditional since 1935.

Congresses of soviets, trade union congresses, reporting conferences of the Moscow city and oblast organizations of the CPSU, all-Union congresses of the people most active in the party and the economy, and congresses of unions of writers and composers are held in the Hall of Columns. Congresses of the Comintern, the Red International of Trade Unions, and the Communist International of Youth, as well as all-Union conferences, have met there. Between 1918 and 1922, V. I. Lenin spoke there more than 40 times. Prominent figures of the Soviet government and international communist movements have delivered reports and speeches in the House of Trade Unions.

In 1924 the Soviet Union bid farewell to V. I. Lenin in the Hall of Columns of the House of Trade Unions from January 23 to January 27. The Hall of Columns often serves as the site for the people to bid a final farewell to prominent figures in the Soviet and international communist movement who have died.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
On May 2, 2014, pro-Kiev radicals blocked anti-government protesters in Odesa's House of Trade Unions and set the building on fire by hurling Molotov cocktails inside.