Hello everyone! Wow it has been a while since I updated, almost too long! I have a LOT in store for you.
Let us begin.
Here hangs a giant bronze cast of the Soviet Coat of Arms inside the Grazhdanski Metro (Citizen’s metro) which is the one I use to get to school.Almost everyday (if I don’t ride the bus) I see this, and at first I was surprised.
Don’t forget everyone you can click on these pictures to enlarge them just in case you were wondering why some were hard to see. These aren’t the actual picture sizes.
Here stands a statue of Maxim Gorky a famous soviet writer and influential figure in the arts during Soviet era, particularly founding of “Socialist Realism” an art form which was used to glorify the “worker’s state”.
Oh the irony. A hammer and sickle remains engraved into a building, above a high end shoe store, ecco.
Hammer and sickle I saw while driving to Pavlosk (we’ll get to that
Another one I saw while walking on Nevsky Prospekt
Revolutionary decoration inside a metro.
A bronze cast of the Order of Lenin medal in a metro,
Plaster dedicated to Grigory Romanov. He was a soviet politician with a career in the Red Army and was the main rival against Mikhail Gorbachev in a brief power struggle.
A bronze cast on the wall of one of the metros, Lenin addressing a crowd!
My visit to the Russian State Museum of the Political History of Russia! Most of its emphasis was towards the Soviet Union and the Communist era. The building itself was used as the main headquarters of Lenin and the Bolsheviks for a period of time.
There were many different USSRs with in its 74 year existence. The USSR under Stalin was very different than the one under Brezhnev, for example. Each new era the country went through significant changes each time, like a roller coaster ride.
Naturally, we’ll begin at the beginning, with the Revolution.
Lenin says: Welcome Comrades!
The office and desk Lenin worked at, a big red banner spouting party slogans overlooks the entire office.
I can’t quite make out all of it but it speaks of the workers state and central unity, something along those lines. Its hard to read.
Another desk…I don’t think that red bottle is vodka but maybe. I’m sure managing a revolution and then a new country was rather stressful…
but then again if it was vodka it seems rather contradicting to feature this
A balcony which Lenin spoke from to the masses outside.
Here is a painting in the style of “Socialist Realism” of Lenin addressing a crowd from that same balcony. A very good compliment of a rather dull previous picture, would’t you say? And darn that sunshine
The infamous work of Karl Marx “Das Kapital” (in russian) sits on a small shelf along with other socialist literature in Lenin’s office.
A portrait of Tsar Nicholas which was slashed with bayonets by revolutionary forces.
Uniform of a Revolutionary fighter (for the reds).
Mauser, used widely in Russia and Europe.
Propaganda from the White Army depicting the Red Army as devils and godless while the white side is pure and has God on their side, yes Tsarist forces were very “pure” indeed.
Poster for the Red Army, It features a man cutting away at serpents and it says “For a final victory the red army needs red commanders!”
During the revolution, the Bolsheviks tried to appeal to other nationalities with in the Russian Empire. In this case, the poster says “Kazak! Who are you with? With us or with them?” And it shows the reds standing on the left, a Kazak man in the middle, and the white army standing on the right consisting of fat people with top hats and money bags, the usual depiction of “capitalists” in Soviet propaganda. Later, Kazakhstan was eventually integrated into the USSR with all of its neighboring central asian countries, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan etc.
Medals earned in the Revolution
Uniform used by the White Forces (White Army) in civil war.
Be warned this next one is a bit gruesome, the death of Rasputin. It was said that he told the Tsar that he held the Russian Empire togethe, and that if he died it would fall. Surely enough, after a few Tsarist officials set a trap for him and killed him, the Russian Empire fell not too long after.
Revolutionary painting. This painting was huge.to get an idea of the size you can just look at the bannister on the lower left corner of the photo. Can you spot Lenin in the painting?
There he is, waving to the masses!
On the lower right hand corner, looks like some Tsarist officers being taken prisoner. In the army, the soldiers considered themselves “proletariat” while the officers loyal to the Tsar were the “bourgeoisie”. There was mass mutinies against officers, many were shot when their regiments would switch sides to the revolutionaries. Some showed no mercy towards their officers in beating them up and ultimately killing them.
A picture of the new revolutionary government, Lenin is the bald one near the left and a much younger Stalin dressed in black stands behind him, apparently wiping his face or biting his nails, holding a scroll of paper with the other hand. This picture actually isn’t very hard to find online.
The new government, Lenin as the centerpiece. Trotsky is at the center right, next to Lenin. Stalin is the one in the very upper left hand corner.
The Stalin Era
A giant silk embroidery made for Stalin as a gift by a few different seemstresses. In the picture is Stalin on the right, and one of his closest associates (or henchmen) on the left, Lazar Kaganovich. They nicknamed him “Iron Lazar” It’s an entire map of the USSR greatly detailed, with a railway and trains featured underneath, and a golden statue of lenin all the way on the left. That golden statue is the same one that was featured near the top of this blog entry.
In full view
There’s a close up shot of the embroidery, where Moscow is located. It says “МОСКВА” which says “Moskva” aka Moscow.
Close up of the coat of arms
Close up of train down at the bottom.
It really is a beautiful piece of work, regardless of what it may represent.
Closer shot of Stalin and Kaganovich.
Standing in front of an official portrait of Stalin, protected with bars.One of the first painted after World War II I believe, when Stalin adapted the full on military look donning a Marshall’s uniform.
Prisoner clothing worn in the Gulag
A quilt made be a gulag prisoner
Things made and used by prisoner’s in the gulag, you can see the aforementioned quilt on the far right, a suitcase, some cups, and a chess board. Interestingly enough some people in the Gulag would still hold pictures of Stalin in their wallets or have some in their living quarters.
Average everyday kitchen in the USSR, Stalin era.
“The Poliburo” short for Political Bureau, which was one of the highest governing bodies that would deal with the major issues in the country and make important decisions. After Lenin’s death Stalin turned him into an icon, a spectacle, and used his image to advance his own agenda. It is quite obvious in this picture, inside a silhouette of Lenin’s head, Stalin is in the center surrounded by a few of his appointed loyal comrades. Completely absent are all the old members of the revolutionary government, most noticeably Trotsky, but also Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Tomsky etc.
Uniform of NKVD personnel, the Secret Police, (NKVD was predecessor to the KGB) It went like this, first it was called The Cheka, then the GPU, then MGB, then NKVD, and finally under Khrushchev it became the KGB which was what everyone is familiar with, and it stuck like that until the end. In Russia Today its called the FSB.
Gun used to assassinate Sergei Kirov. He was a prominent party member and was gaining a lot of popularity and influence in Leningrad, this scared Stalin, so naturally, he had to go. However, it has never been proven if Stalin really ordered his assassination. A communist party member who was “jealous” had killed him, and that killer was tried and executed. That is the official story.
Propaganda of Stalin
A desk, portrait of Stalin, a bust of marx on the desk, and a small statue of Lenin on the right on top of a book shelf full of Marxist-Leninist literature.
Peasant woman in the collective farms, harvesting grain.
Mandate of the 19th Party Congress, the last congress attended by Stalin in 1952 before he died in 53.
Khrushchev era, Space Race, etc.
Credentials of Yuri Gagarin, first man in Space. I’m sure Cold War kids remember that day.
Sputnik (one of them) I don’t think this was the first one actually in space.
Khrushchev’s glasses and chess set.
His hat and his shirt. He was known for being a simple man, not dumb but with little culture and appreciation for such things as art, a philistine. Also quite rude, wouldn’t let people speak or would speak over them, never sought advice with his comrades. One of the many reasons they deposed him.
His military uniform.
“Our Nikita Sergeievich” His full name was Nikita Sergeiyevich Khrushchev.
“Phrases and….Bases!” It’s a bit blury, but its saying that the US is spouting peace but then at the same time putting more bases near the USSR, such as in Turkey.
“Everything for the people!” A woman holds up a key to an apartment. More and more apartment buildings were being built under Khruschev, as you can see next to the woman are blue prints of the apartment blocks. It was called “Collective housing,” and the rent was just a tiny fraction of your income, to the point where it was widely referred to as “free”. I suppose it was cheap enough to be free.
He is a painting featuring corn on the cob morphing into consumer goods. Khrushchev had the idea to replace grain with corn as the staple food crop and it would “solve all the problems” of the USSR. This failed miserably and Khrushchev had the govt ended up purchasing grain from Canada. Just another embarrassment to add to the list before his colleagues booted him out. A rather creative picture, though.
The Brezhnev Era
Leonid Illych Brezhnev. Was leader of the Soviet Union for 18 years, lead the USSR longer than any other leader besides Stalin. He became Khrushchev’s successor. He was trusted by Khrushchev as his apprentice and was promoted to prominent positions with in the govt, once he became a full member of the governing body, he partook in a plot to depose Khrushchev and he was voted in as the new General Secretary and reversed many of Khrushchev’s policies. Brezhnev was generally seen as a much better diplomat and statesman, at home and abroad. Tensions between USA and USSR were low under his rule, and he listened to and sought advice from his colleagues. Also as mentioned before, there was a period of growth in consumer goods seen under his rule. When asked, most people say they preferred the Brezhnev era in the USSR. However things weren’t fine and dandy, don’t get me wrong, but society in general became a lot more relaxed. Movies came out in which they could joke about customs of soviet life, and you couldn’t get in trouble for making a few jokes here and there, that is, if they weren’t criticizing socialism, but it was okay to maybe poke fun at some leaders. For instance there were many jokes about Brezhnev at the time and soviet customs.
“For the collective communist labor” or something like that…
The propaganda became even more impressive looking
Poster talking about producing for the country, coal, oil, and gas!
Brezhnev with Nixon, visiting the USA.
Soviet passport, it says “official passport” used by “higher ups” I believe. The citizen passports were red and simply said “passport” or “паспорт”
Some consumer goods, or food. Hard to really tell what it is.
Cigarettes provided for by “Aeroflot” the airlines in USSR
Instant Coffee mix
Some cookies I think
A pair of Soviet Jeans, hard to really see. They were made to emulate the western jeans as they were all the rage in the USSR. The jeans were not very comfortable were low quality and failed to satisfy Soviet citizens and they still sought after the Western jeans in the black market.
Construction worker gear. Down below is a machine used to extract cow milk from udders.
Record albums, rock bands became more prominent.
“Stagnation” The Brezhnev era was also marked as Stagnation. Stagnation was economic as well as Social. Soviet life became “normalized” at the same time and it slowed down, nothing changed. Rather than fear people began to harbor cynicism towards the system they lived in, it became a joke. The govt. never wanted to make any big changes because then people would want more, and more. They learned their lesson after the Praque Spring in Czechoslovakia. A lot of spending was also put into military and new and improved consumer goods were there of course but came in short supply, i.e. you had to be at the store early!
Brezhnev is also known for his major decision on sending Soviet troops to Afghanistan, which was referred to as “Brezhnev’s Vietnam”
AK-47 and military uniform used in Soviet Afghan War.
Close-up of medal. It consists of the soviet flag and the flag of the short lived Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (Socialist government).
School in the USSR
A typical classroom, a portrait of Lenin lingers over the school students as well as the teacher’s desk in the front, between the two windows.
A little blurred, but I think its emphasizing the importance of science (in socialist principles of course). This woman was watching me like a hawk in that entire classroom so I could never turn my flash on.
The agenda for the school children,
School children were called “Oktabrinok” which meant “October babies” and the next step was Pioneers.
I can translate some of it off the top of my head.
First says “October babies, to be pioneers!”
2nd “Love school, and our country” or something like that
3rd “Only those who love work…”
4th Truthful and brave, dexterous and skillful,
5th “To read and recite, to play and sing, Happy they will live”
Some instruments, toys, crafts,a stuffed animal penguin.
A poster emphasizing the important of the older children to help the younger children. Teenagers and high schoolers were called “Komsomol,” they came after Pioneers. After Komsomol you graduate into the Communist Party, if you want to do so, or if you qualify i.e. your family had to have a “proletariat” past or had taken part in the revolution, or you couldn’t be religious. If your family was aristocratic or involved in the church before the revolution you had a difficult time joining the party or moving up.
The poster itself says “Komsomols, help the children to study well and then rest well”
Different medals given to young children for achievements. It was very much like boy scouts.
Not much emphasis was put on Perestroika in the museum. Gorbachev talked about Lenin’s vision being “blurred” by Stalin and all of his predecessors. This picture symbolizes the blurred version and the clearing up near Lenin’s eyes is supposed to be Perestroika. Lenin was still regarded as untouchable when it came to criticism in Soviet politics and not even Gorbachev condemned anything Lenin did and he used his image to pass on an agenda. One that ultimately failed miserably.
That is the end. There is much, much more to come. I have taken quite a few pictures the past month and have been to quite a few places. I have a lot of catching up to do!
Inside one of the Metro stations. Beautiful.
Ok the Hockey Game, it was fun. I mostly just took a bunch of videos but I do have a few pictures I could share.
Person waving a soviet navy flag which happens to be the same colors as the hockey team, so that’s a creative idea. couldn’t get a good picture of it I tried and tried.
The game was pretty fun. The highlight for me was when they played the Russian Anthem before the game started.
After the hockey game: At McDonald’s
Ok all! That’s pretty much all I have in regards to the hockey. I didn’t really take much pictures I just wanted to sit and watch the hockey game.
Soviet automobile gallery! I don’t know what it is about these cars they’re just so intriguing to me!
Next update coming soon! No more month long hiatuses!
See you next time!