77 Weird Russian Postcards

Weird Russian Postcards

Posted on February 28, 2007 by


russian postcards 1

Sometimes we see Japanese drawings with some crazy signs on them, but look how old Russian postcards looked like. Especially those signatures (translated).

The one above for example has a moto: "Not a single victim would WATER gets from us. OSVOD".


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russian postcards 2

"And mother would forgive me"

russian postcards 3

"Let the ideas of peace programs reign the world"

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77 Responses to “Weird Russian Postcards”

  1. retsyx says:

    Here is a mistake – it is not a Moscow but Saint-Petersburg subway, so it’s somehow smaller…

    Moreover, some meanings are definitely perverted in translation :(

  2. Kevin says:

    That metro map is of the Leningrad metro system, not Moscow. It has grown since the map, but not as big as the Moscow metro is now.

  3. Texas1 says:

    Looks like there is a HUGE opportunity to make and sell postcards in Russia. Was these are very strange and funny.

  4. Mr. V says:

    Well, for a person who never lived in USSR/Russia some items may seem funny, but if you lived here, read books & magazines, then there is nothing funny in most cases. And again, in some cases the translation did its bad job.

  5. Vika says:

    Yeah, these translations are HORRIBLE.

    Like, A Guy-Who-Knows-Nothing on a trip to Sun City”. What can you say on this?

    The name of the character is actually a popular children’s character, it’s not just something random.

    • Dave says:

      I know what to say: I won’t play Sun City!!

      • G. Maltsev says:

        There’s no such a game “Sun City”. That was a children’s book series about this guy. This particular book was called “Neznayka (A guy-who-knows-nothing) at Sun-City”. All these books were ideologic and told kids about communistic utopia and (in another book of this series) so-called “western life” (it’s called “Neznayka on the Moon”), capitalism and classes oppression.

        Funny books, you know. There’s also animated motion picture on the plot of the last one.

  6. tempor says:

    “Route TAXI”. It’s kind of taxi but it goes only by defined route. So why is it called taxi?

    It is called “taxi” because it could stop in any place on the route, not only at bus-stop or something like that…

    Now it is most popular public transport type in Russia and Ukraine.

    • retsyx says:

      Right, but it’s a bad translation again.
      “Jitney” in Russian literally sounds like “Route taxi”.
      If the translator knew that he would translate it correctly.

  7. Max Folder says:

    Some pictures not postcards. There are pocket calendars.
    “A Guy-Who-Knows-Nothing on a trip to Sun City”. What can you say on this? – this is famous russian book and cartoon.
    A TU-154 plane. There were also cigarettes in Russia with the same name. – cigarettes TU-134
    “Sack of apples”, “First time on stage” – russian cartoons
    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor” – corporate pocket calendar of soviet newspaper.
    “Lenin’s Change” – local communist newspaper.

  8. Max Folder says:

    Pocket calendars for soviet kids was like baseball card for american kids.

  9. vaselisa says:

    Most of these are not post cards but small calendars that are still so popular in Russia. Calendars a lot of times would be a marketing technique for ideas, places, events, etc. And you can’t expect people from other countries understand the meaning of characters and places that are only known to former USSR citizens.

  10. Delicious says:

    I think the “lifelong job of pedestrian” means that they will use the skills for the rest of their life, so they had better be taught the right way to do things instead of trying to learn by themselves.

    But I’m an optimist.

  11. Vadim says:

    Almost always interesting images on this site, but translations/commentary are often laughable.

  12. AIR says:

    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor”
    “Labor”

    That’s a Newspaper. But for those who think they are so smart listen to this:
    In the USSR, the 8-hour work day was protected by the constitution. Do we have anything like that in the US? Here people work, work, work. And all they think about is: work, work, work…

    • Alec says:

      “That’s a Newspaper. But for those who think they are so smart listen to this:
      In the USSR, the 8-hour work day was protected by the constitution. Do we have anything like that in the US? Here people work, work, work. And all they think about is: work, work, work…”

      Yes, we DID. The Adamson Act of 1916 created a legal 8-hour work day, and anything beyond this was time-and-a-half. Ironically, fears during the Red Scare that unemployed people or people not working enough would become communist and support the USSR.

    • mrcann says:

      in Australia people work an 8 hour day. its pretty strict here with that. aust has actually got a pretty well-developed social system. too bad its being taken advantage of by newcomer-immigrants, primarily by muslim arabs :(

    • baz Moscow says:

      Developers
      Developers
      Developers
      Developers
      Developers
      Developers
      Developers

      Each nation has it’s own specifics! =))

  13. AIR says:

    “Prepare your kid from a childhood for a LIFELONG JOB of PEDESTRIAN. Meaning that he is gonna be pedestrian forever.

    Yeah!
    Isn’t it nice to drive everywhere and turn into a fat blob by the age of 30?

  14. mmda from LV says:

    It was normal state programm of educating the citizens. What have you found strange in it?
    2the master of this site: You better get a bit more info before you offer a comment. Otherwise you will be spotted in everyones eyes as a short in IQ.

    By the way, no means that I was/I am loyal to the state of USSR and also to the present foreign policy of Russia.

  15. Os says:

    eto ne mai atkrytki ja prosto dal ob’javu

  16. Dave says:

    The “Duxmobile” is actually an Oldsmobile. It was poorly translated. I guess it would properly be more like “Oлдзmoбиль.” One of the first American cars. That would be the “Curved Dash” model, made about 1903.

  17. jozhix says:

    Interesting, those space stamps have few words in Latvian! :O

  18. d.b.suchin says:

    Intercosmos is surely not the equivalent of the Strategic Defence Initiative, aka Star Wars.
    Intercosmos was something like the European Space Agency: bringing together Czech researchers, GDR cosmonauts, and Soviet rockets, etc. Every one had a share.
    On some few occasions, it also included co-operations with the US (Soyuz-Apollo), France, etc.

  19. TeratoMarty says:

    The “Socialist Industry” card from 1978 looks like a cartoon man who has been irradiated so much that his bones glow like an x-ray. It could be a travel ad: “Visit sunny Chornobyl!”

  20. eldar says:

    Those translations are quite terrible, like you’re really really bitter about Russia and you lash out by mistranslating good natured postcards….

    Oh, and really, you don’t even know who neznayka is?
    You’re not really Russian are ya?

    I mean, I had my doubts when you didn’t recognize the cartoon which the second picture references, but really now, You don’t know Neznayka?

    Guess you don’t know Jack… about Russia

  21. Tomas says:

    To translate the stuff you have to live THERE at THAT TIME — understand the context.

    One comment on translation: “Use Radio!” actually could be translated as “Use abonent radio”. Abonent radio was a wired network that broadcasted 3 programs, one of which could be received by just connecting headphones to the wires. These were almost mandatory to the new houses.

    And even more, the my attitude to these slogans, etc. was (and is) as follows: На сарае “Х#Й” написанно, а там — дрова лежат.

  22. Gypsy says:

    I love this site!
    Long may it be.

  23. Vladislav Kozlov says:

    Why are they weird?
    Perfectly normal postcards for soviet era.

    Also, whooever translated them shoul just kill himself.

    • Biaaatch says:

      LOL definately. Learn english before attempting to translate anything. It seems you just went through the Russian/English dictionary and looked up word by word without actually knowing any English whatsover.

  24. Adolf says:

    Some translations does not match originals.

  25. Val says:

    First that’s not Russian postcards, but Soviet ones. Most of them are perfectly normal. I don’t see anything funny about ‘em. Second, you have poor translation of the most of them.
    I guess you never lived in USSR, so you won’t understand what was going on.

  26. Val says:

    “Read “Friendly Guys” book!”. Oh yeah we had one “Friendly guy” a little bit before. Is this a whole book on him? A dossier?
    “Friendly guys” or, probably, better translation would be “Tight-knit children” is a newspaper for children and teenagers in Soviet Kazakhstan. Actually, it’s still exist today. I used to work there, and it’s still professional among the same type of media over there. That’s only one nation wide children’s newspaper in the country.
    You should brush up your Russian and learn more about culture of the country before posting this!

  27. Alex says:

    Not Moscow metro map, but Leningrad

  28. Boris Abramov says:

    Most of these are not postcards,- they are just a little “calenders”. I have a small collection of these!!

  29. supermario says:

    Please, do not confuse Soviet postcards with Russian postcards.
    These are Soviet.

  30. Mike says:

    Some cards remind my childhood. Thanks a lot.

  31. Danich says:

    Did you forget that there were no personal cars in USSR?

  32. LV says:

    Nice collection, strange comments.
    Do you really not know what bridges in SPb opened for?

  33. vdfka says:

    Нихера не знает а умничает в комментах. Убей себя срань буржуйская! Ж)

  34. Koll says:

    Uahahahaaha!!! kg\am!
    autor save the planet – kill youself!
    но яблоки на ёлке реально жесть :)

  35. Andrei Warkentin says:

    Well, the real issue at hand is that the meaning of most of your postcards is “lost in translation”, either by way of some really bad translations (hint: not sure if it’s your Russian or your English that is limping, but PLEASE be fluent in both the nex time you want to translate something) or by way of unexplained cultural differences.

  36. Grishace says:

    The subway scheme is not Moscow one! Its Leningrad (St.Peterburg). Of course its smaller.

  37. jankkhvej says:

    The “And mother would forgive me” postcard comes from the animated film with the same name. A picture with a thousand words. So, look at the film and feel the power of simple feelings between mother and son.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4101427227366031767&hl=en

  38. Андрей says:

    огромное спасибо что посмеялся над русской культурой 80х,
    когда люди жили так как им говорили и боялись за свои жизни,
    а не так как им хотелось:Ъ

  39. rob says:

    Ha… Author has some knowledge on the subject, but only some. :)

    Many of these are not post cards, but posters or just some kind of cards.

    Trud – Labour – Labour – Labour – refers to a federal newspaper. It is the header of the paper which you see many times on the poster.

    Smaller subway schema – it’s Leningrad subway, not Moscow.

    Use radio – use fixed radio broadcast points. These are wired radio boxes. Signal would come over wire. Similar to TV cable. No longer in use.

    Route Taxi: even though it has a route, between the route’s end points it stops only on demand. You have to waive a hand when you see one or tell its driver where to stop along the route.

    There are more corrections to be made, but who cares…. :)

    • jankkhvej says:

      Fixed radio broadcasts was global defence alarm network, which has special modes of operations at the nuclear warfare. Wired radio do not fade in event of the nuclear explosion, still working and guiding peaople what to do.

      I’ts really funny and ridiculous that USA do not have such network, which simply can’t be damaged with nukes.

      USSR was superior and ths is the reason that USA destroy USSR with help of the Gorbachov.

  40. Максим says:

    Отличная подборка, комментарии в самый раз, именно они и создают нужный диссонанс, и следовательно юмор.

  41. El says:

    Whoever made this web site has got some serious issues and certainly knows nothing about Russia, Soviet Union or its culture. “Weird postcards”??? To your information , whoever you are, these are very, very old style Soviet postcard, aplicable to that time. There is certainly nothing weird about them. I wonder if you have ever seen morden postcards, I mean the postcards we have nowadays. I don’t even want to say anything about the translation. It’s just like retryx commented “some meanings are definitely perverted in translation”. Anyway, most of the translation is twisted. Unless, it’s one of those web sites that says nothing good about Russia, then I suppose, I can understand. Sort of understand. What I don’t understand, where does this hate come from? Surely, someone who started writing about a foreign country does some research first. Otherwise, you look like a bloody amature.

  42. Olga says:

    hei guys…95 % of them DO make sense if you know russian history, fairy tales, etc. You have to be born there to understand…..They were not written for foreigners, soorry…Don’t even try to understand, and don’t laugh while in Russia, can end up in big shhiiit from local hooligans… haha

  43. Soviet-born Sarge, 1967 says:

    These are not cards, these are calenders. By the way, I have all the original calenders of these pictures. These pictures are made from my calenders.

  44. Ja! says:

    SAVE children was also wrong… correct to translate TAKE CARE… seams that the translater know Russian quiet a bit…((( just basics, but not a good specialist(((

  45. talking beaver says:

    Two comments:

    1) The guy on image http://englishrussia.com/images/old_soviet_postcards/3.jpg has “25th congress of the CPSU” on his pocket. Communist Party used to have those congresses at regular intervals and every one of them was touted as an extremely important event going to bring the country to new fascinating achievements. New great plans were announced etc. Mostly it was just a hot air, part of weird USSR daily culture. (You can understand USSR best, if you think of it as of theocracy, which it was to certain extend)

    2) If we want to be precise, the image http://englishrussia.com/images/old_soviet_postcards/25.jpg does not show exactly a radio. It is so called “radio translation point/node”. It was a kind of cable radio. Flats, offices, hotels etc. used to have them as a standard. There were sockets in the walls where you plugged in the receiver. In earlier Soviet times they were used mostly for propaganda. You can remember film 1984 where a voice keeps mumbling in background about the increase of steel production by x percent or military success etc. It was just like that. But the primary purpose of the system, I guess, was population warning in case of a sudden nuclear war. In late years of USSR the systems went neglected, receivers went silent and sockets in many places were painted over, though the situation should have been rather different throughout the various part of former USSR. I guess it might be well up and running in many places.

  46. talking beaver says:

    “A Program of Socialistic States: InterSpace”. Where is it now? Was that something like SDI ? – basically they took a guy from some other Communist block country for a ride and called it international space research program. Mostly propaganda. Nothing to do with SDI though. Not this one. ;)

    “Route TAXI”. It’s kind of taxi but it goes only by defined route. So why is it called taxi? – Because it stopped and picked you up, if you raised your hand. Just as a regular taxi does. Though the route was pre-defined and could not be changed. They still exist in former USSR countries and are quite popular because are generally faster then a regular bus. Still, possibly you might want to call it some other name, like “minibus”, “shuttle” whatever…

  47. talking beaver says:

    “A Guy-Who-Knows-Nothing on a trip to Sun City”. What can you say on this? – It was a children book character very popular amongst kids. If I remember correctly, there were three books about him. Again, we can see that it was a “Communism for Kids” kind-a thing. It portrayed a fictional happy Communist commune type society inhabited by adult-like kids, who were scientists, mechanics, poets etc. The City of the Sun (remember Campanella’s City of the Sun !) is kinda Communist Utopia. The third book tells about kids flying to the Moon in anti-gravity spaceship, finding a capitalist hell there and, as much as I remember, staging or helping with a Socialist Revolution! :)

    Communist indoctrination for the kids (not so much the first book).

    But the stories read well and were quite interesting.

    See some more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neznaika
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_of_the_Sun

  48. talking beaver says:

    ““Lenin’s Change” ..is coming they mean” – yes, “smena” meaning “shift”. “Lenin’s shift” possibly meaning something like “New shift of young people brought up in accordance to the teachings of Great Lenin is coming to take over and carry on caring about the country as lead by Communist Party and the Government of the Soviet Union”.

    That might been the message. I lived then and there, but I can not tell you what exactly they meant. Because all that “agitation and propaganda” saturated your everyday life. It basically consisted of standard symbols – graphical, verbal or otherwise. It addressed your subconscious mind. It did not necessarily carry any meaningful information. You should not try to understand, analyze (God forbid!), or resist it. You just had to relax and let it flow through you or around you, maintaining your inner core were you kept your understanding how false all that is, but preventing those two of getting into conflict, because it meant trouble by kicking you off the status-quo. George Orwell called it “doublethink” and it was exactly the way he describes.

    It also provided sublimation, re-direction for negative emotions people used to have because of poor living conditions.

    So even people who loath Communism often feel warm emotions seeing these symbols. It is programmed deeply in their minds and can not be removed. Just controlled. “Brainwashing” – I guess it was that.

    It should be very interesting field for sociologists to study. I just wonder if someone has done it. Please say it here, if you can provide some link.

    P.S. For those who have not done it yet. Go read George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four :

    http://orwell.ru/library/novels/1984/english/ (read online or download free) .

    Or watch the film if you can find it (it was rather good and close to the book) : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087803/

    • Linas Lituanus says:

      “””It is programmed deeply in their minds and can not be removed. Just controlled.”””

      And such misunderstanding gradually becomes a base for modern (mostly right-wing) anti-democratism with the face of modern liberalism and with the essence, that’s very close to Hitler’s Nazism. I’m not sure, but it seems, that this thing will be clear soon, especially in the countries from the former Soviet bloc.

    • Linas Lituanus says:

      “””It is programmed deeply in their minds and can not be removed. Just controlled.”””

      The mistake is in the presumption, that your own problems of verifying the Soviet communists ideology are very common. The contra-questions may be 2: If these problems are so general, why it doesn’t lead to consequences similar to yours? And why the majority of population did not become harsh critics of that regime? And, the 2: if you, in contrary, can’t locate the problem exactly, who gives you right to accuse such a number of people in a kind of mental imbecility?

  49. russian says:

    just note:

    who comes to us with a blade, die from it.

  50. andyjoe says:

    “The Guy Who Knows Nothing”
    it’s almost Zen)))
    and the “first time on stage”
    great
    Medvedev
    eh))
    thanks

  51. Stas says:

    cigarettes were tu-134 (not 154) and metro map is of Leningrad not Moscow (the one which was smaller then :)

  52. ETOJA says:

    mnogije horoshije obrazci otli4nogo dizaina, kotorij v sovetskije vremena bil lu4se razvit i stilnee, nezeli sei4as v rossii.
    starnnostej ne o4en i nasel.. bolsinstvo otkritok s kontekstom

  53. Vert says:

    This is a very interesting article. Thank you.

  54. Chootoutixext says:

    Вопрос:   Я надеюсь пообщаться с хорошей девушкой. Времени после занятий абсолютно не остается, а в свободные дни часто заставляют тоже  заканчивать дела. Вметро знакомиться не хочется.  Пока на сайтах знакомств нахожу  в основном проституток. Посоветуйте вариант решения проблемы, пожалуйста. Заранее большое спасибо ..

  55. Samaccat says:

    It not postcards but pocket calendars.

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