by Federico Schiavi and Gian Piero Palombini
The documentary tells the birth of the city of Togliatti, founded in the Samara region, a thousand miles east of Moscow as the result of an agreement between the Soviet Union and Fiat managers Giovanni Agnelli and Vittorio Valletta. In the 60’s they planned to create a global hub of the automobile in the heart of Communist Russia with the support of president Breznev. It was an economic, strategic and diplomatic deal that compared two worlds and two opposite ideas of progress. At the same time it was one of the largest urban and industrial enterprises of the twentieth century: in a few years, a city of one million residents was born around the plants of “ziguly”, the Sviet car derived from Fiat 124.
Togliatti was built between 1967 and 1973 thanks to the fundamental contribution of several hundred Italians and western workers, coming mostly from Turin-Mirafiori plants and from Modena. They were sent to Russia by Fiat for the first phase of the project; among them there were technicians, skilled workers, economists, managers, cooks, and a priest. Through the direct experiences of the protagonists, and through a formidable historical footage, the documentary aims to cover that experience by following the adventures of some of that workers (westerns and russians).