38 More B&W USSR


Posted on October 29, 2007 by

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Some more black and white photos of Soviet Russia. Some call such photos nostalgic some – propaganda. Nevertheless people depicted on them differ greatly from any other people in the world now.

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photos by Vladimir Rolov, via analogm

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38 Responses to “More B&W USSR”

  1. xR says:

    Awesome pictures!

  2. John from Kansas says:


  3. mad1982 says:

    Thnx nice pix

  4. Boris Abramov says:

    I don’t belive thay are propaganda photos. – just normal fragments of the day-to-day life.

    The reason why people all look so happy, is because they were all blind to the atrocities committed by their government. Much like majority of american public are unaware, or choose to be unaware, of the atrocities currently committed by their government.

    I guess its human nature to see only what we want or choose to see.

    • (ARG) Sebastian says:

      Damn right. They just are living like people does in any political sistem.

    • D says:

      In times of depression… you can still find happiness.

      In times of prosperity….you can still find depression.

      I dont think the people in these photos would stop smiling if they knew more of what their government did at that particular moment.

      Propoganda is the art of picking and choosing what you want to show. I’m sure they had some photos that did not look so happy… but would they show them? No. Same as the media choosing only bad news. Doesnt mean theres no good news, but it creates that perception.

      Anyway… these look like propoganda photos… staged even.

    • aleksey says:

      well the measure of happiness is by the sense of community people have. i’ve seen a bbc documentary recently that cited the blitz of world war II as the happiest time in the past like 70 years in british history (as in it was statistically accurate study of people gauging how happy they were). it also talked about how boy scouts are also happier than other boys their age.

      it’s really a sense of community, and these people seemed to have it. atrocity or no, people find the brighter side of life. i’m sure some were aware of the oppression (i’d like to argue that most people were, since every common person thought of the west as a paradise, but that’s irrelevant to the point i’m making). but i think it has more to do with the human trait of not being able to go through an entire life without finding some bits of happiness

      • Boris Abramov says:

        Aleksey, I totally agree with you. But I think (in fact I know) there were more oblivious people then we would like to think.

    • Vladimir Pudding says:

      “just normal fragments of the day-to-day life”

      No. They are not.
      To be precise – not all of them are.

      Some are set up. Like workers reading PRAVDA communist newspaper. This theme you can find throughout the Soviet period since the very beginning. On of the first thing Soviets did after occupying and annexing they published a lot of pictures where Soviet Political Officers – “politruks” were reading newspapers to the local “liberated” peasants (who often actually even did not understand Russian).

      Still, as newspapers actually WERE read to people, it is hard to say, that photo itself is fake. It would be more precise to say that the life in Soviet “Workers’ Paradise” was the FAKE by itself. Always pretending, always playing along, always being careful not to say too much…

      I would to certain degree agree that some were “blind to the atrocities committed by their government” – the same people who now are sorry of the fall of the USSR (there is a lot of them), though many knew more than they allowed themselves to express it.

      But after all, we all are people and will sometimes be happy even in a labor camp.

    • Jeff Thompson says:

      You’ve got that right, Boris. There is plenty of blame enough for both governments. As for my own country, after 5+ years of war in Iraq and all the information out there about it, 33% of people here still think Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and I have heard TV ‘journalists’ say with a straight face that before the Iraq war, the U.S. had never gone to war ‘pre-emptively’ – that is, without being attacked first. Talk about denial.

  5. (ARG) Sebastian says:

    Love the picture of the guy in the middle of machines and wires. Can someone tell me what kind of machinery is that?.

    • Zafarad says:

      Research atomic reactor.which is very common in every hi tech scientific laboratory.

    • Pete says:

      It looks like a particle accelerator

      either a psyclotron or linear accelerator

      Those are magnets bending the particle beam to the appropriate targets.

      • Ari The Finn says:

        I don’t know what is a ‘psyclotron’ but I know for sure it is not a linear accelerator… (linear=straight, direct)

        It could be a mini-size synchrotron where electrons go round and round. A syclotron has a vortex-shaped trajectory, steering the electrons to a dead-end. I see no vortex in the picture, but a straight section on the back, possibly the electron gun needed to start-up the beam. My guess is it is a synchrotron.

    • Mixa says:

      It Gomer Simpsonoff cheif safety inspector at Chernobyl power plant

  6. Zafarad says:

    True pics, of soviet era.how nice they were.if you call these are bare propaganda,you are wrong,very wrong.”The best smell is bread,the best savour salt,the best love that of children”.

  7. Wax_On_Whacks_Off says:

    russian propaganda. Posed photos to make us feel good about our miserable lives during this time.

    • Pacific N W says:

      Yes, they were probably held at gunpoint and forced to have a good time. Honestly, the only one I get the slightest hint of propaganda from is the one with the workers reading pravda. Some beautiful pictures though.

      • D says:

        No, but if you take 1000 pictures of people and 900 of them show intolerable work conditions, unhappy people, fright, starvation, corruption, etc. And then you only realese the 100 that show happy poeple, then it is propoganda (ie skewing facts to push an agenda). Do you really think these photographers were out to depict everyday russian life in all its forms, or were they hired by the government to put together a patriotic photo album approved by party standards?

        A fact you might already know. In stalin’s era, photographs were airbrushed to remove people that fell from party favor or anything that goes againts the nationalism of the communist party.

        • Vladimir Pudding says:


          You could study life in the Third Reich by pictures made by Nazi photographer with exactly the same results.

          I have seen Nazi pictures of the pre-WWII period. They are nice. Definitely nicer than these ones.

          You can judge by yourself how much do you think they actually reflected the life in the Third Reich.

  8. WhoCares says:

    Absolutely fantastic photos!

  9. Danny Greene says:

    As always you have captured the imagination and pride of good folks with most at their happiest and fun-loving moments. Please share more of these same types of pictures in the future. They are so full of your pleasant lifestyle and are a credit to your great nation. You did a good job with your selection. Thank you !

  10. max says:

    my sled owns a bmw imo

  11. Mixa says:

    Anybody noticed the picture of Russian Homer Simpson? That’s the original picture where Simpson creator got his initial idea for the whole thing.

    • Mister Twister, former minister says:

      Yes, only Homer doesn’t watch such sophisticated system…
      one dial, one knob, one pair of mechanical hands.

  12. sputnik-dva says:

    Is it so hard to believe that many people were actually happy then? And just because the people were aware that they were being photographed, or they weren’t candid shots, or they’re only showing the pictures they want doesn’t mean it’s staged or propaganda. The capitalist mass media isn’t any less biased.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Artistically fantastic photos.

  14. twer says:

    You cannot tell, if the photos were staged or not without the context. Of course the probability is high, that these photos were published in some stinking propaganda book, for example a school-book for political education.

    but what I don’t get is, how some people think, soviet russia was so inhumane that the people were all supposed to walk around with tears in their eyes all day.

    You were able to live a normal social life there, if you wanted to.

  15. Oskar Bartelmann says:

    .. fei gut …

  16. Igor says:

    It remindes me photos in my parents photo album.
    Even if you wish to see only ‘horror’ of soviets, you mustn’t neglect tantalizing reality of all this pics.

  17. Mad Finn says:

    Looks a lot like some older photos from my mother’s shoebox. Our family lived in northern Finland where electricity didn’t come available until 1960’s. All the kids would gather into the only house of the village with a television to watch the man on the moon in 1969, or so I’ve heard :)

  18. game says:

    Anybody noticed the picture of Russian Homer Simpson? That’s the original picture where Simpson creator got his initial idea for the whole thing.

    for what?

  19. Taupey says:

    Wonderful & Amusing Photographs! Thanks for posting. :)

  20. Nastya says:

    Is that a nun wearing a phoropter in the fifth picture?)))) Part time nun, part time optometrist?))

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