Red Corner: Cheap Moscow Digs Disappearing

The chance to sleep in one of Moscow’s most famous buildings may soon go the way of the Hammer and Sickle.

The Ukraina Hotel is one of Moscow’s famous Seven Sisters-seven skyscrapers Joseph Stalin built in the 1950s to anchor his Albert Speerian attempt to rebuild Moscow as the modern throne of communism. All seven buildings share the same wedding-cake style of layered architecture that continues to cast an eerie, Gothic sense of oppression over Moscow long after the death of communism.

The Ukraina Hotel offers cheap accommodations for less than $100 a night-a good bargain in a very expensive hotel market. When I stayed there, I found it a decent, functional place that was worth more than $100 for the historical buzz, but worth less than a kopek for the foul bathroom which accompanied my room.

This may all change, however.

The Russian government, who owned the hotel, has just sold it to a private company for $274 million. There is no word yet on future plans for the hotel, but based upon the current state of accommodations in Moscow, my guess is that the Hotel Ukraina will be upscaled and placed far out of reach of proletariats such as myself.

But that’s not all. There is other bad news for affordable accommodations in Moscow. The decision was just made to knock down Europe’s largest hotel – the 3,000 room Rossiya Hotel on the edge of Red Square. Although this was another source of cheap accommodations in the Russian capital, the hotel was despised and few will shed tears over the loss of this monstrous, rat infested dive.