A Narrative in Documents

co-edited by Lewis Siegelbaum and Andrei Sokolov

Image gallery

Book jacket (Russian edition)

A young worker at the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Factory

"Don't forget about maternity assistance and consultation in kolkhozes and sovkhozes." The tractor and the day nursery are identified as the "engines of the new village." The new fictive village depicted here in 1930 contains a club, cafeteria, dormitory, day nursery, midwife station, and maternity consultation.

"Freed-up labor of the kolkhozes to industry." The hand in the lower left is writing a contract between a kolkhoz and an industrial enterprise. The system of "organized recruitment" (orgnabor) was supposed to regulate the supply of labor to industry but was widely circumvented by all parties concerned. Note that although the factory is modern and presumably mechanized, the recruits are wielding the tools of manual labor.

These iconic workers are part of an exemplary shock brigade striking blows against the "antedeluvian way of life of laziness."

Leading cadres from one of Moscow's factories.

A secretary at her desk at Moscow's Machine-Tool Factory. Note the abacus to her right.

A purge of cadres.

"You work like you're on the edge of a straight razor." Last page of a letter from soviet chairman G. S. Onischenko to Kalinin, 15 October 1933 (doc. 45).

A young engineer posing at Moscow's Machine-Tool Factory. The photograph on the right is of Stalin. The white bust in the middle is of Lenin.

The draft of the constitution was discussed at countless meetings throughout the Soviet Union. Here a "meeting" is held in the open air.

A demonstration in Moscow celebrating the adoption of the constitution on 6 December 1935. The banner reads "Long Live the Constitution of Freedom, Joy, and Happiness."

Notables of the Country of Soviets. This panel, painted by a collective under the direction of V. P. Yefanov for the Soviet pavilion at the New York World's Fair of 1939, foregrounds outstanding Stakhanovites, aviators, scientists, writers, and musicians.

Notables of the Country of Soviets 2

The fish department of the Yeliseev food store on Moscow's Gor'ky Street in the latter half of the 1930s.

Stakhanovites of Moscow's Machine-Tool Factory with a motorcycle awarded as a prize.

"Pyramid," one of the most popular forms of amateur talent activities in the 1930s. Groups selected by their respective trade union committees performed on holidays in parades and stadiums.

"Off to collective work," a Soviet poster.

Kolkhoz farmers at work.

A salutatory letter to Kalinin, written by Young Pioneers at Health-Improvement school no. 6 on the eve of the Seventeenth Party Congress in January 1934.

"To dear comrade M. I. Kalinin" from ten-year-old Boria Moskalev, pupil in the fourth grade at a factory training school in Moscow, 1934.

A children's demonstration on a kolkhoz on the outskirts of Moscow during the period of collectivization. Banners read "We will increase the harvest on the kolkhoz" and "In celebration of Red Navy Day sing more merrily, sing to the harvest on the collective fields."

A letter to Kalinin

A parade under the banners "We will liquidate the kulaks as a class" and "All to the struggle against the wreckers of agriculture."

Theory: A class studying agriculture.

Practice: Kolkhoz children mowing.

A kindergarten at a Moscow factory.

A summer camp for Young Pioneers. The sign over the porch reads "Thank you comrade Stalin for a happy and joyous childhood."

Shaming: Winners of the "infamous banner for a tortoise's pace."

A barn.

Lunch break in the field.

Picking tomatoes at a kolkhoz on the outskirts of Moscow. The pickers appear to be all women, whereas the two figures standing erect toward the rear are men.

A factory worker.

A worker at Magnitogorsk.

"Dejeuner sur l'herbe," Soviet-style.

The poster quotes (in Ukrainian) a dictum of P. P. Postyshev, Ukrainian party boss: "We must make 1935 a year of bountiful harvest no matter what the climatic conditions."

Reading History of the Communist Party.

Industrialization poster

Metro kindergarten.

Shooting practice.

Back to project Go to main gallery