Russian city to demolish derided ‘Robot’ building

MOSCOW (AP) — A hulking, never-occupied building sardonically likened to a robot’s head that has loomed over the Russian city of Kaliningrad for decades is to be demolished next year, the region’s governor said.

The 21-storey House of Soviets was left unfinished when funding ran out in 1985 amid the Soviet Union’s economic struggles. The building, which later was assessed to be structurally unsound, and became one of the city’s most widely known emblems, particularly when the fan zone for the 2018 World Cup matches in Kaliningrad was set up in a vast square next to it.

The Brutalist building’s protruding covered balconies resembling two eyes and a mouth led to it being nicknamed ‘The Buried Robot’.

Regional governor Anton Alikhanov said demolition is expected to begin early next year and that officials are discussing the possibility of making fragments of it available as souvenirs, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported last Wednesday.

Kaliningrad is the administrative centre of the Russian exclave of the same name, which is located between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea.

A man walks past the never-occupied building in Kaliningrad, Russia. PHOTO: AP