Trash Cans Near the Shopping Mall “Miur i Meriliz”

Address: Petrovka Street 2, Moscow

Mostorg at the beginning of the 1920s. Photograph: Branson DeCou. Photojournal “Photoelement”

Mostorg at the beginning of the 1920s. Photograph: Branson DeCou. Photojournal “Photoelement”

The shopping mall “Miur i Meriliz” in Moscow was famous throughout Russia. It was the first shopping mall in Moscow that sold almost everything (apart from food) and was still affordable for people with average incomes. The store was opened in 1885, but it was rebuilt after the fire in 1900 and was nationalized after the revolution. The building was taken over by Mostorg, and later the Central Department Store (TsUM), as the shopping mall is known today. Many Muscovites continue to call the store by its old name “Miur i Meriliz."

 

In the early and mid-1920s, the store was located in the city center. It soon became a place where street children gathered. They spent nights among the trash cans of the store. Some of the children had received an education and had begun working, but they did not have sufficient means to support themselves. Since many of them could not feed themselves, they were forced to abandon their studies.

Homeless children in a cold basement, late 1920s. Photograph: Institute of Contemporary Russia

Homeless children in a cold basement, late 1920s. Photograph: Institute of Contemporary Russia

Daria Durneva, Anna Margolis
Василевский Л. М. Беспризорность и дети улицы. Харьков, 1925