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Home > News > 2008 > Kotlas Shopping Mall

A Visit To The Shopping Mall

By Gregor Smith

Shopping Mall

Zina Zelyanina, Tanya Shelygina and her daughters Katya and Polina stand in front of the Admiral. Photo by Ellen Corey in July 2007.

Kotlas's first shopping mall was built just a couple of years ago. The three-story indoor mall has nearly ninety shops, most fairly small. Each carries a single line of merchandise: clothing, cosmetics, luggage, sporting goods, footwear, jewelry, toys, computers, home appliances, CD's, or books. There is also a room to leave small children with a babysitter, a tanning salon, and a fast-food chicken restaurant. Escalators whisk shoppers from the first floor to the second.

On the first floor is a self-service supermarket, possibly the only one in Kotlas. Most grocery stores in Russia still follow the Soviet set-up, where all the food is kept behind the counter and one has to ask a clerk for assistance. The supermarket carries the full range of products that one would find in an American supermarket, and even some American brands, including Heinz ketchup, Tabasco sauce, and Pedigree dog food.

Inside the mall

Tanya Shelygina stands in front of a shop selling women's clothing on the second floor of the Admiral. Photo by Ken Green in January 2008.

Mall Kiosk

A kiosk shows the floor plan and list the shops on the second floor. Photo by Gregor Smith.

The mall is named Admiral the letters on the roof spell out "admiral" in Russian because it is on Kuznetsov Street, which in turn was named after a native son who was Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union during World War II. It is ironic that this quin­tessential institution of capitalism was named, at least indirectly, after a Soviet naval hero.

The mall also has a parking lot, a rarity in Kotlas as historically car ownership was much less common in Russia than in the United States.