Remembering The Bleakness Of Karacharovo Mechanical Plant

Considering the design of a Soviet childrens’ playground for the workers of the Stalmost Machine Factory in Kalininsky Rayon. soviet playground in the abandoned Pioneer Camp of the Karacharovo Mechanical Plant Russian Soviet architecture

In 1954 the CIA created a dossier on the Stalmost Mechanical Plant (KMP), Kalinsky Rayon, and its activities. Why? Who can say, but what remains is not a centre of subterfuge but a relic of a Soviet-era ‘workers paradise’. No spies, no history of indoctrination, just a bleak steal structure remains. For anyone who shares a fascination for Soviet design, and Soviet industry the story is intriguing. If anyone who enjoys photographing Soviet-era architecture then the plant is a win at so many levels.

The factory in question was a buzzing manufacturer of the steel structures used in the escalators of the Moscow Metro, of more than 200,000 cranes, hoisting and lifting equipment. At capacity, it employed 2200 workers. This was no cottage industry but a major employer.

During World War II the factory was displaced and rebuilt in the Urals near Russia’s Siberia border. But, with the war nearing its end, the factory was returned in 1943 to its original city to help rebuild infrastructure such as bridges.

After the war Pioneer Camp’s – the Soviet version of Scouts with a dose of political brainwashing, if you will – popped up in the area near the factory. With so many employees and families to entertain, outstanding metal objects like this space-inspired sphere became a feature of the local (now abandoned) playground, called Salut.

Photographer Nickolay-Chekanov who can be found on instagram at

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