History of the House


On 11 March 1918, the Bolshevik Government headed by Lenin moved from Petrograd to Moscow. Moscow became the capital of the Soviet republic. After moving state institutions to Moscow, the number of officials in the city almost doubled and reached 281 thousand people.
Senior officials settled in what was called the Houses of the Soviets which were located in the former hotels National, Metropol, and Petergof, in the houses of Count Sheremetev and Prince Kurakin as well as in Znamenka Street, Neglinnaya Street, and Prechistensky Boulevard. Around twenty houses were occupied in the Kremlin.




One of the leading representatives of the Stalinist architecture, the author of the unrealized project of the Palace of the Soviets; the people’s architect of the USSR (1970) who won the Stalin Prize, 2nd degree (1941).


At the end of the 1920s, the Moscow City Council reported to the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on the lack of big well-equipped hotels such as Natsional and Metropol. In 1930, the Inturist Hotel expected 10,000 foreigners coming to the country which was 3.5 times more than in 1929.
The only solution was to build houses for members of the Government, the Central Committee of the Party, the Central Control Commission, the Society of Old Bolsheviks and other high-ranking officials.
By 1926, a committee on the house construction was established based on the proposal of Aleksey Rykov, the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars.


The process of choosing the construction site took long time. On 24 June 1927, the Committee took the final decision, and the location of constructing the “house for high-ranking officials of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was chosen on the right bank of the Moscow River – Boloto (swamp) district.

Starting from 1927, equipment was ordered from abroad – mechanical cranes, sand conveyors, etc. At the beginning of February 1928, the intense works were conducted on the ground of the former Wine and Salt Court, along Vsekhsvyatskaya Street and Bersenyevskaya Embankment.



The construction began in 1928. Iofan designed not merely a residential house, but a unique autonomous complex in the style of late constructivism that included, apart from 505 apartments (two on each floor), a club, a movie theater, a library, an outpatient clinic, kindergarten, a nursery, a canteen, a hair salon, a food store, a manufactured goods store, a bank, a gym, and a laundromat.

Here innovative architectural and engineer solutions were implemented, standardized ready-made construction materials were used for the first time, and original beamless floors constructions in the shape of truncated pyramids were used too. The theater hall of the club named after A. Rykov had the largest domed ceiling in the country at the time — it was 32 meters in diameter and 9 centimeters wide.

The construction appeared to be very expensive – instead of 14-15 million Rubles, its total cost raised up to 24 million Rubles, but on 1 January 1932 an additional 4 million Rubles were needed.

Construction. Photo from the site oldmos.ru



The construction continued for four years instead of the two as planned, and required в 24 million Rubles which was four times more than the anticipated costs.


On 9 September 1930, up to 850 workers from other constructions sites were brought to the construction of the House.



In February 1931, the 1st stage of the construction was finished (residential blocks 4-7, the cinema, and the food store). The first residents moved in into their spacious flats with gas and hot water.



On 1 November 1932,
2,745 people lived in the house:

838 men


1 311 women


596 children



On 1 November 1932, 2,745 people lived in the house: 838 men, 1311 women, and 596 children.

Families lived in well-furnished apartments with a telephone, a kitchen equipped with a gas stove and a refrigerator, 24-hour hot water supply, parquet flooring, 3.5 meter high ceilings which were decorated with wall-paintings in some flats.

Furniture in the house was standardized: chairs, tables, cupboards, gas stoves, etc. had inventory tag numbers. There was an oak parquet on the floors, the ceilings adorned with decorative paintings designed by artists-restorers from the Hermitage.

Dining room. Photo by А. Zadikyan.
Club. Photo by А. Zadikyan.
Sportclub. Photo by А. Zadikyan.
Prominent military leaders, heroes, writers, academics, party, and government leaders, and Comintern workers lived in the House of the Central Executive Committee and the Committee of People’s Commissars. 

Among them were the closest V.Lenin’s associates O. and P.Lepeshinsky, A.Rykov, Ye.Stasova, G.Petrovsky, K.Radek;

the prominent military leaders and marshals G.Zhukov, I.Bagramyan, I.Konev, R.Malinovsky, N.Kuznetsov, I.Borzov, M.Tukhachevsky;

heroes well-known by all country – N.Kamanin, M.Vodopyanov, I.Mazuruk, A.Stakhanov;

scientists V.Glushko, A.Mikoyan, V.Parin, Ye.Tarle, N.Tsitsin;

writers A.Serafimovich, B.Lavrenev, Yu.Trifonov, M.Korshunov, Yu.Semenov, and many others.



In the years of Stalin’s leadership, around 800 out of  2000  residents of the House of the Government became victims of repression.


In 1941, the house got empty as its residents were moved or evacuated. Many were off at the front. Heating, gas, and electricity were turned off in the house, and anti-aircraft guns were installed on balconies of the last floors.

Life returned there only in 1942 when the deadly danger for Moscow had passed. After the war, the house again continued its normal existence.



In the years of Stalin’s leadership, around 800 out of 2000 residents of the House of the Government became victims of repression.

In a few apartments, residents changed 5-6 times. Sometimes the entire entrance of the apartment was sealed: one resident was executed by shooting, others sent to prisons and camps, or, in the best case, evicted to the outskirts of Moscow.



The grey behemoth on the bank of the Moscow River became a symbol of the Soviet epoch with all its achievements and deaths.
Officially, the house was called “the 1st House of the Soviets of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars.” Later it became the 2nd House and then the 1st one again. It was administered first by the Central Executive Committee. Then it was under the control of the Council of People’s Commissars. And people always used to call it The House of the Government.

Yury Trifonov who lived in this house from 1931 to November 1939 published his story in 1976. After that, the house got a new name “The House on the Embankment.”

Since 1997, the building has been a historical monument protected by the state.