From the outside, it’s nothing special. Concrete-wash grey, imposing and a little sore on the eye but with a stunning vista out to the Moskva river and the Church of Christ the Saviour. As architect Boris Iofan put the finishing touches to the plans for his most ambitious project to date, the “House on Embankment” – a city within a city with a theatre, cinema, post office and shops designed for the crème de la crème of Soviet society (who were subsequently hunted down by Stalin during the purges of the 1930s).

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