Qualls first paints a vivid portrait of the ruined city and the sufferings of its surviving inhabitants. He then turns to Moscow's plans to remake the ancient city on the heroic socialist model prized by Stalin and visited upon most other postwar Soviet cities and towns. In Sevastopol, however, the architects and city planners sent out from the center "went native," deviating from Moscow's blueprints to collaborate with local officials and residents, who seized control of the planning process and rebuilt the city in a manner that celebrated its distinctive historical identity.
When completed, postwar Sevastopol resembled a nineteenth-century Russian city, with tree-lined boulevards; wide walkways; and buildings, street names, and memorials to its heroism in wars both long past and recent. Though visually Russian (and still containing a majority Russian-speaking population), Sevastopol was in 1954 joined to Ukraine, which in 1991 became an independent state. In his concluding chapter, Qualls explores how the "Russianness" of the city and the presence of the Russian fleet affect relations between Ukraine, Russia, and the West....Continua