50 thoughts on “The Soviet Moscow”

  1. What is on the 5th picture – possibly a diplomatic quarter, judging by foreign cars?
    I identified e.g. Škoda 1000 MB, AFAIK these were never exported to USSR.

    • All the cars there seem to be somewhat special – the leftmost one (black) appears to be a Mercedes, and there are two american-looking ones far to the right from that Skoda. So either that was diplomatic quartier, or an automotive research institute of some kind, researching imperialistic technology 🙂

    • 5th picture down:

      I see American cars:
      a Chevrolet station wagon, a Chevrolet Nova, a Ford Torino, and an American Motors AMX which was a fairly rare car even in the USA. The cars are about 1967 to 1970 vintage.

      Great pictures. Very interesting. I would love to see more. Too bad it took 40 years to see what Soviet life was like.

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  3. These pictures really show an idyllic side of Moscow. It almost makes one wish he lived back then. But I also realize that some of these pictures probably served for propaganda purposes. One cannot be sure of that so I just admire the photos as they are 🙂

  4. Why “lost”? All those buildings still alive. Two large hotels – Inturist and Rossiya was demolished, but that was VERY ugly soviet buildings.

  5. I enjoyed these very much. Thanks for posting them. I would love to see how some of the streets and building look these days.

    • Yes, nice and nostalgic pictures. Even the ‘shaggy’ streets as seen on a few of these pictures look better than some of todays boulevards in Moscow.
      You really do not want to see how these sites look today, my friend. The streets are filled to the brim with cars and gloomy, pushy people. The pollution is breathtaking. It looks like one huge parking lot, except that the engines are running and the drivers are stressed. And it is still getting worse, due to the urbanization. The subway has also turned into a potential dangerous place: due to overcrowded platforms people are often pushed in front of the trains. Traveling for over 2 hours in public transport to get to your office is not rare.

      The shops are full but the prices are high while the salaries are still low. Life did not become easier for most. No community feeling seems to have survived communism: nowadays, instead of helping each other out many seem to make it their goal to obstruct their more enterprising neighbors as much as possible. The amount of envy among many is depressing.

      Many Russians also lost their entrepreneurial drive during Soviet times. Little initiative is seen. Like sheep they all act like everybody else around them. Opening your own business: most Russians do not even think about that. And it is also discouraged by the circumstances: Russia is one of the hardest places to do business according to statistics. Taxes, bribes, getting permissions, avoiding the criminals, etc… There are very little small shops in the big cities: all you see are big ugly shopping malls. Like an extreme version of American cities. The human scale has disappeared from the big cities. People are like pawns on a huge, pretentious stage. And most do not realize it. Russia has to show the world that it matters, that it is a world power !! So a lot of money is invested in a small area. But travel a few hours by train and you’re in a region without a sewer system, no central heating, no running water and only a few paved roads.

      But these nostalgic pictures also only show the outside. Under this surface a lot of problems were hiding. Repression, intimidation, no freedom of speech, you name it.

      Conclusion: life was hard, but at least you more or less knew what your future was going to be.
      Today, life is still hard, and your future is now in your own hands [individualism instead of collectivism], and those new qualities of life [like being free, being able to structure your own life, having opportunities], well, many Russians, in particular the older generation, have no clue what to do with those. But who knows what lies ahead ?

      • Your comment shows that either you live in American cities or in a region without a sewer system. In any case you are gloomy/pushy person. Secretary salary is 1000 bucks a month now, and buying foods is not a problem. For a clue of what this nostalgic life was in reality, #6 has beer barrel next to space rocket. That was the way to drink beer in nostalgic 60’s times – come to a barrel in the street, wait in line, and get a cup of suspicious brown liquid. So, don’t tell how much worse life is for Russian sheep-like people now. You better look after yourself for a guy who calls people sheeps will get into face some day.

  6. Whats the building in #82 photo? Like to get some more. Looks like Lauritsalan kirkko in Finland for me: http://www.lappeenrannanseurakunnat.fi/data/kuvat/big/lauritsalan_kirkko.jpg and http://bp1.blogger.com/_7BK6SYztBo8/RqTrGf_OmdI/AAAAAAAAAPY/B8YKXVH7EI0/s400/Lauritsala+exterior.jpg

    • The Monument “To the Conquerors of Space” (Russian: Монумент «Покорителям космоса») was erected in Moscow in 1964 to celebrate achievements of the Soviet people in space exploration.

      • I remember seeing that space monument across from the Hotel Cosmos on Mir Prospect in December 1989 when I visited Moscow.
        I was in the USAF & stationed in England when I saw a chance for an MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation – a service the US Military offered) trip to Moscow, so a bunch of folks from the USAF (and their dependants) went to the heart of the enemy!
        It was a fun trip, very interesting, although I certaily felt sorry for the folks living there, as all I saw (aside from the history & interesting buildings) was universal poverty – I’m sure it has to be better today now that capitalism has given more people over there a shot at reasonable prosperity.

  7. This photo:

    The third word on the statue I note of a Greek letter “delta”. I do not think delta is in the Russian alphabet. Because “de” is very complex to draw, is delta often substituted for “de” on monuments in Russia?

    • btw:
      The guy is “Karl Marx”, the text is:
      “Working men of all countries unite”
      This tabled you can see in Chemnitz, formerly known as “Karl-Marx-Stadt” (germany):
      behind the big bronze head of him.
      (see http://images.google.com/images?q=nischel)

  8. Nice photos but also plenty of duplicates.
    I especially like the one where some people are gathered around a tank on wheels dispensing BEER!! (If I read the text correctly, the tank says ‘PIVO’)

  9. I wonder if these are random shots taken by an independent photographer or tourist, or were they taken as part of an official photo guide to the city (sort of like the kind you can pick up in airport shops and bookstores today)? I saw the “Mockba” logo on a couple and it made me wonder. Plus, it all seems kind of sterile, like the way you would expect official tourist photos to look.

    I also wonder how the average Russian/Soviet city of 1960 looked compared to this. That’s not meant as an implied criticism–most capital cities naturally have more impressive buildings and scenery than other cities in the same country.

    • There were quite a lot of impressive cities in Soviet Union. Povetry was in smaller towns and in Eastern territories, Siberia and Far East.

  10. Most interestingly, these photos in a way resemble the ones I took when I visited Moscow back in 1993, a sign that not a lot had changed since the above photos were taken. Of course now Moscow has inevitably changed, I hope it will remain a special city like we can see in these photos.

  11. Oh!my lovely paradise on earth,where are you?how many times i admire you?once upon a time,there was a man made paradise on earth,where all people enjoy,their fruit of labour and hard work.where every one took part in every day`s business freely and independently! ! ! ! ! !.in pic no,54 devoted and loveful citizens of CCCP pay respect to the father of scientific socialism VILADEMIR LENIN,without any pressure and party directives! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  12. Nice pictures, I would like to know more about the 5-mile long factory in Krakow. Do you have google-earth or google maps coordinates?

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  15. Thank you for the beautiful pictures ! As a foreigner ( a diplomat ) who has very recently spent three wonderful years in Moscow, the longing for the content of the visuals is really true ! You had a truly beautiful city — even more than it is now. But isn’t that the situation in the whole world now ?

    With best wishes to the residents of Moscow !

  16. Its monument for the cosmonauts, space explorers and scientist who made it possible. Under the monument there is a museum dedicated for this subject and its situated in the old VNDH-area in Moscow. Actually this area is my favourite place in Mockba.

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  19. i would like to see russia post some pictures of people and everyday life during the soviet era: weddings, birthdays, working, dinners, etc. these buildings are interesting, but i want to see more of what the people were like back then. my country (usa) tried brainwashing us that they were just mindless, faceless robots. but they were your grandparents…where are they? i don’t see enough pictures of people on this page!

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  22. The blue Wolga appears in many of the pictures. Coincidence?
    On the fifth picture there are five VW parked side by side. Just how many people could afford the newest VW in the 60s?

  23. some say the soviet empire ran out of money from the afghan war-but i also hear that so many children were affected by environmental devastation/lack of sanitation outside of moscow,that the red army was running out of healthy ethnic slav youths to draft and the balance certainly resisted the draft because of the apallingly brutal hazing that awaited them.
    did you know that the authorities kept secret the radioactive fallout patterns and tested fewer than 10% of kids in those areas for the resulting thyroid cancer from history’s greatest industrial
    disaster that produced 10 times more particles than hiroshima’s bomb?
    -any damned wonder objective minded folks distrust socialism.

  24. I love to find pictures of pre-1990 Soviet Union,communist regime. Although I do not like communist regime due to human sufferings but still I am keen to gain meximum knowledge of soviet life.Pictures as above really tell stories of communist way of life. Human Sacrifices made russia a super power. I was born in 1967 and when grew teen ager, communism inspired me which was my missconception.During 1990s soviet propaganda was on its peak. USSR collapsed and I came to know the facts behind propaganda.North Korea is the worst exampe of communist regime. Communism is not as bad as the west propagates. It has some tremendous achievements but horrible destructions too.Pictures or webs about Soviet era,I ll wait for to receive by e-mail.00923216212238 I am Muhammad Amin from Pakistan


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