Tuesday, April 19, 2022

History of Azovstal

Historian of the day Adam Tooze recounts his recent discovery of the history of the vast Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, currently the site of a Thermopylae-style resistance by the remaining Ukrainian defenders of the city. The steel plant began with a 19th century investment by American financiers attracted to the close association of coal, iron ore, and a seaport. It was massively expanded in the 1930s to become one of the showplace achievements of Stalinist heavy industrial development, then destroyed during the German occupation in the Second World War, and rebuilt by the Soviets once more.  At the collapse of the USSR it became the prize toy of an oligarch, who instantly became Ukraine's richest man -- and is now supporting Ukraine against his old benefactors. 

What brought us to this point of a factory fight in Southern Ukraine?

At moments like this, history truly reveals its quality as a pal·imp·sest - a manuscript or piece of writing on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain. The search functions of the internet reinforce that quality, constantly surfacing long-forgotten pieces from a different era.

Slava Ukraini. 


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