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33 Marks Of The Soviet Reality Found In An English Language Textbook

Marks Of The Soviet Reality Found In An English Language Textbook

Posted on October 27, 2011 by


English Book 1953 1

This is an English language textbook for third graders. It was released in 1953, so it contains a lot of characteristic features of that time. Take a look!

English Book 1953 2

First of all, it reflects the fact that some schools practiced separate education for boys and girls, which was introduced in 1943 in Moscow, Leningrad and some other big cities of the USSR. On the whole, the reform affected just 2% of the schools of the USSR.

In the picture: boys’ class.

English Book 1953 3

‘Comparing the two systems of education, it should be noted that separate education has no advantages in terms of pedagogical process, however there are difficulties in behavioral aspects’. So, in 1954-1955 they brought the combined education system back.

In the picture: girls’ class.

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33 Responses to “Marks Of The Soviet Reality Found In An English Language Textbook”

  1. geoff says:

    Very good that kids were taught a different language at school. My school tried to teach us French or German, you had a choice. Most of us did not learn the language, but it did teach us a bit about a different culture.

    • Hirsh says:

      My guess is the Soviet state was more interested in children learning English because it is the accepted international language of science. Not for any cultural enlightenment.

      • too much vodka says:

        Back then it wasn’t the international language of scinece, it didn’t have the monopoly it has now. German was still an important scientific language, especially in mathematics, chemistry and physiscs. In other sciences, French was still a frequently used language as well. In the Soviet Union, Russian was the main scientific language. Besides, western scientific publications were mostly not available at that time for the average scientist.

        • Hirsh says:

          Your right about that being the case in the early to mid 20th century, but the writing was already on the wall by the ’50s. It was clear English was ascending in international importance and going to be the new standard in Science and other areas of international study. And that’s EXACTLY what happened since. The Soviets didn’t just randomly pick English as a good second language for children to learn.

          • Donna says:

            Children in Soviet Uniou could learn different languages: English, French, German. I wouldn’t say that English was the most popular second language in the 1950s.

  2. Mr. Fox says:

    It’s like my russian-language-starter’s-book.

    In my country students learn english only for TOEIC. so students only learn chosing ‘which word is correct in this sentence’ or ‘which grammer is suitable for this sentence’. not language. It’s very sad.

  3. Unknown says:

    Of course you can’t do it without Stalin, yesss.

  4. tommy says:

    Book released in 1953, Stalin died in 1953.

  5. Hirsh says:

    Look this is a street. The only cars on the street are for the party apparatchik, KGB, and state workers. Everyone else walks, rides the bus, or takes the trolly. ;)

  6. Sean says:

    Ah, old good book from the fifties. I have an american English textbook, it looks quite similar, except for the Stalin, of course. The styles of the pictures and the fonts are just the same.

  7. perristalsis says:

    Sanitized, upbeat, contemporary in it’s day… looks like they were sold the same “Leave It To Beaver” scenario we had here in the States, in the end it was all just a figment of someone’s imagination, for if it was real it would be here still.

  8. zero says:

    And? Looks like standard boring english book to me.

    • Hirsh says:

      You grew up in communist country then? Doesn’t look like standard English book to me. I’ve seen American school books of that vintage that literally refer to “Red Commie Bastards” and such. Never seen praise for Stalin in them! lol

  9. Pete says:

    The “New Year” tree is interesting. I am not familiar with Russian holiday tradition, but it is called a “Christmas” tree in English-speaking countries. I wonder if it was also a “Christmas tree” prior to communisim. The red star of communism at the top has replaced the gold star symbolic of Christ’s birth. What is truly interesting here is that the evergreen was originally a fertility symbol used in winter solstice celebrations by pagans of Europe. Then, when Europe converted to Christianity, the tree was adapted to Christian purposes, as were mid-winter celebrations. To see the evergreen tree then coopted by communism from Christianity presents an interesting new cycle in the symbolic value of this tree.

    • Hirsh says:

      Google is your friend. Use it to enlighten yourself for free! ;)

    • Hirsh says:

      The traditional Russian “New Year Tree” predates communism by at least several hundred years. It is akin to a Christmas Tree and dates to at least the 17th century. But it has never been a “Christmas Tree”. It is a “New Year Tree”. That has nothing to do with communists co-opting it for some secular holiday.

  10. George Johnson says:

    Kids should be taught several languages when they’re very young, because their brain is wired for language at that age. As you age, it becomes very hard to learn one. If you learned young, you may forget it, but a good review will bring most of it back.

  11. Uncledoh says:

    the pic with “They all have hammers and nails” is epic

  12. marxistworker says:

    No communist/Marxist would teach Lesson 31. Poor children were “fed” Stalinism/nationalism.

    • marxistworker says:

      The Disney Channel is now being allowed to operate in Russia. Now poor children will be “fed” capitalist culture.

      • Hello Kitty says:

        Products of Disney to show and on the federal channels since the collapse of communism. Absolutely everything that Western audiences are available can be found in Russia. Funny to hear that the children’s channel can somehow to influence on the culture. In Russia there own channels for children’s, there is western channels of the Russian translation (like “Nickelodeon”), if there is equipment for reception of channels (or Internet) and language skills, you can look at the original language.

    • too much vodka says:

      Correct, they would just replace Stalin with some other hapless dictator

  13. from says:

    Cat black is my!

    • Hirsh says:

      oh oh oh! I know! (raises hand) Black is my cat?

      • Hirsh says:

        Wow, placing “my” out of context has caused me look anew at it. Suddenly it looks odd to me, like it’s a foreign word to my native English tongue. Now i’m gonna have to look up it’s etymology. Strange how that happens…

  14. Comrade says:

    Page 94 is epic!

  15. stolichnaya says:

    They should update this book and put it back into circulation.

    “Cat iz blk? Ya, totz! R u gonna play XBOX l8r? I will pwn you!”

    On Page 94 they could put a photo of Putin instead of Stalin, and change the wording a bit:

    “We are Russian children. We live in Russia. Russia is a corrupt oligarchy.

    We would LOVE to get out of Russia!” etc. etc.

    • ayaa says:

      Da. Drugoi rosisky nenavistnik. Vy sdelaete khoroshuyu khoroshuyu praktiku dlya nashikh rezident skikh depressantov bolshogo paltsa.

  16. AraZahra says:

    oh well i went to a girls school, nothing wrong with that.on the contrary i felt more comfortable in class without the constant torment and harassing by boys. we do met them outside of the school really, i think it all depends on the individual, how u carry urself through the society.
    p/s: nice pic, in my student days i will add extra accessory to the picture in the textbook, u know just to brighten em up.

  17. Bob greene says:

    The brain washing of american children has gone well, stalin would be happy

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