Christian Dior is one of the most expensive luxury cloths brands. It is so now, and it was so 30 years ago too. But what have they done 30 years ago according to those LIFE photos was an organized trip to Russia for a group of model looking ladies wearing all-new Dior luxury stuff walking on the streets of Moscow. Of course, as I understand the main purpose of this action was to shoot so cool-looking ads when the so expensive looking Dior models shot on the streets of the dully dressed Russian women, but what did those Russian ladies felt - they were for years deprived from any designer cloths. Not even they couldn't buy
the luxury expensive designers dress but they neither couldn't buy ANY dress designed for someone else except a Communist Designers Company - those people there didn't care much about design - they had no any competition - so the cloths available in Soviet stores was far away from being called stylish, and any, just any item which got inside the iron curtain from the abroad was treated as an icon, the pair of just simple blue levi jeans were just an unachievable dream for many Russian people at that times. And in such an atmosphere those girls were walking around the Moscow.
Well, if to continue the ads subject started today, it's pretty reasonably to mention that Russian modern advertisements have no style. I mean, during the long Soviet Era Russian people were deprived of the commercial initiative. Only the state sold small choice of goods to people via it's wide trade network and they didn't need to care about advertisement - people bought stuff just because they had no other choice. There were almost no any foreign goods in Russia during 70 years, and those that were for sale were mainly from the friendly Eastern-European communistic states and even those were considered by people as a big luck to buy, so they were not needed any advertisement and were out of stock in minutes after arriving to some state-owned shop. Nobody was allowed to run a shop or any other business including production or importing. So for 70 years the advertisement industry of Russia just ceased to exist and ceased to develop. Later, when the Soviet Union collapsed and people were free to do what they want - in
commercial meaning of this - the need for advertisement service arouse, but because none have any experience on design of such products they just went the simplest way - started copying advertisement looks from the Western world. That's what we see now almost in any Russian or any else ex-Soviet city - the ads look like they are implants from some other kind of a commercial body - all their look, the fonts used etc - are alien for the Russian culture. It's a great pity there are only a few tries to find the unique Russian commercial style in the outdoor or printed advertisement - and well, nobody knows how it should look the real Russian Ad. Meanwhile here we have some ads from the past, from the times when they still had the initiative to buy sell produce and advertise. Maybe they carry some key for how the modern Russian ads should be looking, but of course just copying this 100 year old style won't solve the problem, it would look so outdated.
In Soviet times the underground train stations were praised as masterpieces of art by Russian society. Each one was in depth planned in the smallest detail by the best Russian architects and artists. All the stations were decorated with the best sorts of stone and marble. There were large mosaic art works devoted to the Soviet life on the walls on the floor and on the ceilings. People coming from Russian countryside were astonished when they first time entered the
Russian metro, it looked even more triumphantly than the museum of Communist party. Now, the times have changed. If in Moscow they still try to preserve those magnificent interior looks, in Kiev, Ukraine they decided that no any Soviet art work is worth of displaying, when you can earn one more dollar by placing the advertisements on almost every square inch of the free surface. Who needs marble when you can put SNICKERS ad on it?
Most of us have seen those emergency instructions in case of water landing. Like, take the vest from under the seats, go to the emergency exit, first leave the plane then pull the ring and inflate the fest and etc., but not everyone knows that according to the official statistics material the survival rate in the plane which goes ditching is dreadfully low. In fact, they say, it is so low, that the crew doesn't get any training for this case. Still, sometimes, it works. In 1963, such water landing happened in Russia. It was even more remarkable by the fact that the big passenger jet plane has landed right in the center of St. Petersburg city with hundreds witnessed this event. The story behind this landing was as follows. The TU-124 plane was a new model in Russian passenger air fleet back in 60s. It has undergone checks and tests, and was already approved for the use in the passenger aviation. This particular flight was just a regular flight across the Soviet Union, with a destination point of Tallinn, now the capital of Estonia. When the plane approached Tallinn and was going to land the problem arose: one of the landing gears couldn't be released. The crew tried all their best to release this stuck thing, but nothing happened. They went as far as chopped through the body of the plane with an axe to try to release the gear by hand, but even this didn't help. Then they got the order to land on the plane's body, and to do that they headed to Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. There was an unpaved landing stripe near that city, they needed one to reduce the damage and the tension during such risky landing. But before the landing could occur, they needed to burn out all
the fuel left on board in order to minimize the fuel blast possibility. So they flew above the city in circles, waiting for it to be fully used. And then another defect of the newly approved plane arouse - the fuel meters were wrong, they showed that there is still some fuel left but it hasn't - the engines shut down one by one and now they had no chance even to approach to that unpaved stripe. So the only thing they left to do in order not to crash a plane full of passengers on the densely populated city center was a water landing. The crew captain did all his best to maneuver heavy jet with not working engines and finally he did it - landed right on the Neva city, the river of St. Petersburg. It was a big luck - none got serious injuries after such a rough act, but then, the plane started to sink - remember that hole in the floor which they chopped trying to reach the stuck gear - the water was coming though at a pretty descent rate. And yet again they were lucky - there was a cargo boat going by the river which helped the sinking plane and towed it to the shore where already emergency services were. It's interesting no facts of this crash were ever published before the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Such a secrecy had an explanation - these jets were a huge export for Russia and the party did not want anyone to know about the accidents with them. Most of the film rolls were immediately confiscated from the witnessing public. Some of those who've seen these told later that they thought it was just some new movie shooting.
Russian city Tyumen is just an ordinary city in Siberia. The company that carries the name of this city in it's title has acquired "British Petroleum" company some time ago. The winters are cold in the city, like in all the outlying region, but they have one attraction that helps to cope those winter. Those are natural hot springs under the open sky. Thousands of people gather there, both locals and visitors, coming from other Siberian cities, like Yekaterinburg and sometimes even from Moscow, the capital of Russia,
to experience the unique contrast of the cold Siberian winter, when the air temperature is about -40 degrees (F/C) and then the hot spring bathing with the water naturally warmed up to 131 F degrees (55 C). It's a big fun to change the cloths in the car and then run to the water for 300 feet from the parking, and then back, after the bathing is over. Just taking a few steps out of the water means that all the water drops turn into solid ice almost instantly.
First days of invasion into Russia seemed to be a piece of cake for Nazi German army. According to the plans of the German chief commanders the whole deal with Russia would take just a few months. They were hoping to take over the Moscow until winter of 1941 (the operation has started early summer, 1941). The invitations were sent to the higher officers of the German army for the celebration of the victory on Russian army in the summer, a few month before the planned victory. And so there advancement into the Russian territory was really that easy for the first months. They moved fast, often leaving some pockets of resistance inside the conquered Russian land. Soon they got themselves right near two of Russian main cities - Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Russia there is a popular belief, that Moscow shouldn't be ever surrender to the enemy, because loosing
Moscow can mean loosing of all the country. So the battles were becoming more violent and fierce as the Nazis approached Moscow. And then winter come, that was the well-known old Russian winter, with horrible frosts and lots of snow. Before German army fought in the relatively warm climate of Western Europe and didn't know what Russian Winter really is. It got demoralized them very much and possibly the Russian Winter saved the Russian people from being defeated right in the first year of the war. Then the war lasted for 5 years more, and no holiday took place for which German officers got invitations, and frankly speaking at the end of the war mostly no invitation recipients were left alive. And those are photos of the first days of the invasion, made by German soldiers.
Russian Northern coast is a vast territory lays for a few thousand of miles and all this coastline is inside the Polar Circle. Long polar winters mean no daylight at all, just one day changes another without any sign of the Sun rising above the horizon. There is only polar night for 100 day a year. But across this Northern coast there was always a short way for the cargo boats to travel from Eastern part of Russia to the Western. Now this trip can be made fairly easy with the appearance of all the satellite navigation equipment like GPS and others, but during the Soviet Era they had none of this. So, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses to guide ships finding their way in the dark polar night across uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. So it has been done and a series of such lighthouses has been erected. They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures. So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses. Those small
reactors could work in the independent mode for years and didn't require any human interference, so it was very handy in the situation like this. It was a kind of robot-lighthouse which counted itself the time of the year and the length of the daylight, turned on its lights when it was needed and sent radio signals to near by ships to warn them on their journey. It all looks like ran out the sci-fi book pages, but so they were. Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unattended automatic lighthouses did it job for some time, but after some time they collapsed too. Mostly as a result of the hunt for the metals like copper and other stuff which were performed by the looters. They didn't care or maybe even didn't know the meaning of the "Radioactive Danger" sign and ignored them, breaking in and destroying the equipment. It sounds creepy but they broke into the reactors too causing all the structures to become radioactively polluted. Those photos are from the trip to the one of such structures, the most close to the populated areas of the Russian far east. Now, there are signs "RADIOACTIVITY" written with big white letters on the approaching paths to the structure but they don't stop the abandoned exotics lovers.