The Soviet Storefronts

Soviet storefronts 1

In Soviet times there were no privately owned shops. All the outlets belonged to the state and were managed according the general trading rules from the Federal center. You could meet absolutely same design of two shops in two totally different cities. Storefronts were often also identical. Like these ones on those photos, back from the Soviet times:

Soviet storefronts 2

Soviet storefronts 3

Soviet storefronts 4

Soviet storefronts 5

Soviet storefronts 6

Soviet storefronts 7

Soviet storefronts 8

Soviet storefronts 9

Soviet storefronts 10

Soviet storefronts 11

Soviet storefronts 12

Soviet storefronts 13

Soviet storefronts 14

Soviet storefronts 15

Soviet storefronts 16

Soviet storefronts 17

Soviet storefronts 18

Soviet storefronts 19

Soviet storefronts 20

Soviet storefronts 21

Soviet storefronts 22

Soviet storefronts 23

Soviet storefronts 24

Soviet storefronts 25

Soviet storefronts 26

Soviet storefronts 27

Soviet storefronts 28

Soviet storefronts 29

Soviet storefronts 30

50 thoughts on “The Soviet Storefronts”

  1. I guess these are from the early 80s, but it seems like over 50 years ago instead of just 25.. During soviet times it was like Russia was encapsulated in a time bubble. Very little changed over the years, something western like trends or fashion was almost non-existent..

    very nostalgic.

    • Errr… Those designs have nothing at all to do with a time gap, it’s just another country, another design, another culture.

      You still find some of these in modern times in countries of the SU. And I like those simple, minimalistic, obvious graphics much more than modern ones.

      • You’re missing my point.

        These designs were used in western countries too, but these countries moved on [due to trends, fashion] while the USSR and it’s satellites remained more or less static. In some more remote locations [even Moscow suburbs] one can still come across these shops. Like time stood still. Selling a strange mix of i.e. snow boots, vases, grandma’s underwear, kitchen utensils and whatever they could get their hands on.

  2. In photo #5 you see reflection of trees in the window. They look as if they are watching from under heavy gray clouds–as gray and heavy as the communist system that controls the shop and the people who wish to buy from it.

    Is that a small ray of sunlight trying to push through the clouds behind the tree?

    • mehmet, my little Ottoman friend, please calm down from the shouting.

      I tell you the same medical advice as I give my friend “D”–lie down, elevate your feet above your head, and place the wet cloth on your forehead. Then take the deep breathing and focus your mind on nice things, like the fruit orchard, the hashish pipe, and killing infidels. Then you you feel better.

      Yours in holistic wellness,
      M. Ahmadinejad

        • Dont forget to count to 10 slowly…..and milk is not a necessary comodity, did you know that humans are the only animals that willing drink milk after infancy? sure cats do but only because we give it to them, they dont seek out a nursing cat and drink it’s milk. Although I would love to suck on the teet of a hot Russian chick 🙂

    • Hey mate,one only buys rubbish stuff because he/she wants to.No one points a gun to your head and makes you buy stuff you regard unecessary.

  3. Very nice… Russia doesn’t have a lot of storefronts like these anymore, but the Russian and ex-USSR/CIS stores in North America still have some of that charm.

    • The one in the Kremlin is no longer officially “soviet,” but it still has the very nice things. Very classy. However, it is only available to Kremlin insiders and Nashi youth persons.

      Sorry, but I don’t know where the others are.

  4. I don’t see how these are identical…they are just the same style..and that’s what I like about the old days, everything was different and not like nowadays..all the stores no matter which country are you in is the same stuff all the clothes are the same all the signes and everything is standardisized..we have 2-3 chains of supermarkets that rule the whole country (no matter which country) meaning that only 3 different colours in all the adds..those pictures are all unique even though they have the same pattern and same materials..but that’s just what was “fashionable” at the time.

    • You are correct about a few chains taking the market, and that is what we are about to do here. Soon in Tehran we will have grand opening of Mahmoud Mart, where you can find all the best cheap goods for your home, office, cave, or for that special “going away” party for the suicide bomber in your family.

  5. And in picture #3 we have Misha, the cute bear mascot of the 1980 Moscow olympics. The first really capitalized and commercialized olympic mascot 🙂

  6. In Quebec, one of the province of Canada, state also own store and sell Liquor and Wine (of the many state monopoly here).
    They all look the same, like in soviet union!

  7. Hello my Irish friend,

    Can you get me the contact information for this company? My friend Hugo Chavez has been depressed lately (after losing the election), and unable to “perform.” Maybe these will help him become excited again.

    Yours in sexual healing,
    M. Ahmadinejad

    • I think you should try shooting elk with hugo. I and my russian friends took surplus ak47 and RPG some time ago and blasted elk to hell. We felt manly for weeks.

      Afterwards, we went to the sauna.

      • I remember how you and your drunken friends “felt manly” in the sauna. Shameful. Next time bring the girls with you. It is more natural.

  8. The number 3 picture from the bottom has a very negative stereotype of a short Mexican man, and we demand it be removed from this site. Please replace it with a tall, slender man with a not-so-fat head.

    After all we did to help you kill Trotsky, for only a small bribe, you should show more respect. After we reconquer the southwest USA, as well as Chicago, you will wish to have access to our markets. You should consider this before you insult us again.

    • Hello friend from Mexico, land of the original “million-man march” (north across the border to USA).

      I can help you with problem of short men with special 2-for-1 sale on new shipment of platform shoes, in the same special style used by international sexy playboy leader Kim Jong-il. Hurry while supplies last, and do not try to steal them please.

      About the fat head, I can only recommend use of the hair gel to make the hair stand up, giving you the slimming effect just like sexy Li’l Kim in N. Korea.

  9. “You could meet absolutely same design of two shops in two totally different cities. Storefronts were often also identical.”

    Ever seen a McDonalds? ;]

    • Yes indeed- Soviet uniformity has been replaced with plutocrat uniformity. Big improvement. Corporations are only capitalist in the same way that the Soviet Union was communist. They say the right slogans and sing the right words, but underneath they’re just trying to control people.

      • You are so correct. I was once reported by my neighbor for saying negative things about the CEO of McDonald’s, and about the quality of their food. Later that night the McDonald’s secret police knocked down my door and took me away to prison.

        My cousin was caught drinking Pepsi in a Coca-Cola zone, and sentenced to five years hard labor in a camp in Siberia.

        Those corporations . . . just like communism.

  10. Thank everyone for your comments about my pictures. I was raised in the US during the Cold War and I have an Eastern sounding name. There was much ideological confusion on both sides of the Iron Curtain just as there is across the boundaries of religion. In the end, individual expression is much more interesting and satisfying. I have enjoyed your comments… and in many cases they have reflected my own observations.

    To all of you, I wish you success in making your own art and telling your own stories.

    Thank You


  11. The storefront with the vinyl records is a typical example how everything was painted in the Soviet Union. This window frame is not neglected or in some abandoned building, this is how they painted everything, window frames, bridges, doors, bus shelters, etc., layer after layer without ever removing the old paint. Even street cars and buses were painted like this. Part of the reason why even now most Russian hallways in apartment buildings look horrible.


Leave a Comment