American Views Of Soviet Russia

American Views Of Soviet Russia

An American photographer James Abbe started his career as a fashionable artist who made pictures of Hollywood celebrities but later turned to photojournalism. He also lived in the USSR in 1927 and 1932. Below are his pictures from the book I Photograph Russia made in 1932 with Abbe’s comments.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

‘Long Live The World Revolution!’, state the posters carried by the Soviet people who are marching across the Red Square. The revolution could definitely take place if industry worldwide was as developed as it was in Russia.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

A Moscow night is a scene of unbelievable beauty. Our gaze is shifted from the new Moscow Hotel and moonlight river to the mighty Kremlin with its towers and spires which is getting dark against the background of the night sky.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The artist was observing the scene from the window of his hotel trying to discover the purpose of his Russian journey and this book that was hidden inside the Kremlin.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Kremlin encloses an area of 100 acres and is surrounded by a wall which is 2430 yards long. Stalin’s private office is somewhere inside the mighty palace.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The craftsmen are hiding famous names on ancient pieces of art behind modern titles. The sign ‘Romanovy’ is substituted by ‘The new Moscow Hotel’. Tourists who steal silver spoons don’t have any objections.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Moscow river is covered with ice at dawn. People get up early to see the ice drift.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The last Russian tsar (king) was coronated sitting on the throne. This is one of the Kremlin churches that was used exceptionally for the purpose of coronation.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

You see a mere sensation. This is Stalin, a wild, mysterious, cold and ominous ruler, who has never given his consent to be photographed. The reproduction made from 1 or 2 pictures ever signed by Stalin.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

20th anniversary of the Pravda newspaper. The parade and the giant poster are designed to stress that ‘press has to be the means of socialistic upbringing’.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Though newspapers are too limited in number there is a large variety of books which attract many amateurs especially university students.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. The author of the picture was arrested because he dared to photograph the railway road. The hungry peasants are waiting for a train for weeks to leave for the place where they can have enough food.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Foreign engineers agree that women work more effectively than men. They are also more reliable. Unlike the beauties from Hollywood these females can boast of being strong but not beautiful.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Taking a picture of any queue is not allowed especially if people are trying to buy food. The queue is formed long before the shop is opened.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The hospital is modern and well-equipped. Its X-ray room and delivery department are perfect and the personnel is experienced and enthusiastic.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Dneprostroi workers stay in these houses together with their children.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

On the 1st of May over million of soldiers and workers have to participate in the parade that takes place in Red Square. The front rows are occupied by privileged viewers such as journalists, diplomats and capitalists.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Balloons are released in spite of the fact the temperature is below 30 degrees Celsius. The little Bolsheviks are taken out to breathe in the fresh air though the thin blankets make us doubt whether the word ‘to breathe’ is the right one.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

‘We have nothing to lose except our chains’. It is a motto of workers who participate in the organized demonstration. While passing by the Red Square they need to show that their chains are broken.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The pioneers have to sell the governmental bonds. It’s up to you to decide whether to buy or not to buy one but mind that your decision will have consequences.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Discussing accidents is not allowed. There was one on the Red Square when horse artillery galloped at a huge speed. The motto in Chinese translated into 5  languages states: ‘Long Live The Soviet Republics!’

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Parades are held twice a year, on May, 1 and November, 7. Participation in the parades is obligatory. The group on the Lenin’s Tomb includes Kalinin, Ordjonikidze, Voroshilov, Stalin, Molotov and Gorky (from right to left).

American Views Of Soviet Russia

This is Litvinov, a magnificent robber of the old regimen and later superdistributor of Bolshevism, is an important Soviet nobleman who never gives interviews. The background is decorated with a huge world map.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

James Abbe’s wife and children.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

A typical Russian church in one of the villages. You won’t hear their bells in towns though in province 60% of churches are still open.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Newspapers. It’s impossible to find New York Times, Fortune or Harper’s Bazaar here. The picture below show how strawberries are sold.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Muscovites spend their weekend at sports grounds. Strength, speed and endurance are welcomed in the country that strives for maximum physical development.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Burying people according to church traditions is not allowed but can be done at cemeteries which are never attended by true Bolshevists. Peasants staying in remote regions bury the deceased in coffins covered with paper.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Taking pictures of electric trains is never allowed.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The hotel’s wall is decorated with a picture depicting how the church protects things taken from poor members of society and shows a Russian priest who is compared with a pig.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Chief of Anti-religious Museum in Moscow. He occupies the place of a senior priest but his tasks differ a lot.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Comrade Smidovitch, director general of anti-religious activity. He is trying to put out the light of faith that has been alive for 20 centuries.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Th prayers are visiting the church located not far from the Kremlin.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

This church was closed but its valuable icons and treasures allowed its turning into an arts gallery. It has to coexist with the atheistic poster on the right.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The hand of the Saint is raising upward asking for salvation from the Soviet anti-religious propaganda.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The poster placed at the Anti-religious museum informs German tourists that fight against religion is fight for socialism.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Women and men are bathing close to one another.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Wooden statues of Christ taken from 3 liquidated churches. Do you see the dark spot on the raised hand of the central statue? Peasants have kissed the spot for centuries. The Soviet power announces this action to be anti-sanitary and absurd.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Jewish temples were desecrated together with Christian churches. Collection of Jewish sacred relics can be observed at the Museum.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Discussing illusions and supernatural things is prohibited. Realism and materialism are main constituents of Bolshevistic power. The scene from the play Blue Bird by Maeterlinck is intended for a photographer but not for theater-goers.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Old soldiers who were prisoners before are sent to live in such a beautiful place. They were all dreaming to get rid of royal power.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The cabaret is intended for rest of peasant loyal to the Soviet power.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

This young Soviet fan of racing will be able to eat as much as he wants in case his horse will be the first to come.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Military men are photographed! The palace of Catherine the Great is located against the background. It now lodges the academy of military aviation.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

A unit of Red pilots.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Catherine the Great’s dancing room is now used as the club of air forces academy.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Major Sumarokova, the only female pilot in the Red Army.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The author of the picture was arrested again just because he took pictures of the railway road.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Taking pictures of the best car road in Russia is not allowed as power stations can get into shot.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. The people are trying to buy clothes.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The peasants were trying to sell a small amount of potatoes. As price was set too high they had to carry the vegetables back to their village.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

When people are hungry they can abandon kids who will be raised by the state.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Unlike poor peasants, privileged people are not deprived of food.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Destruction of China-town wall on Lubyanka Square in Moscow. Many more objects would be destructed if tourists weren’t willing to see ancient sights.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Soldiers next to the Kremlin wall. The monument to an American communist John Rid is located against the background.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The largest bell and cannon in the world.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

PROHIBITED. Funerals of Stalin’s wife. There was an order to shoot at windows that could be opened during that time.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Development of socialism is accompanied by destruction of many ancient objects.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The governmental building in Kharkov is a perfect example of architecture.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Students are the same everywhere.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

Learning how to become a waitress. Teaching dramatic arts to children.  Peasants are getting ready to celebrate May, 1.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The Anthropological Museum of Moscow University contains the largest collection of human skulls in the world.

American Views Of Soviet Russia

The people prevent Bolshevists from fulfilling the five-year plan: bureaucrat, foreign journalist, capitalist, as well as drunker, priest, military engineer and supporters of Menshevism.

via  foto-history

37 thoughts on “American Views Of Soviet Russia”

  1. A. Bunka here. For all the young USSR’s paranoia, none of it saved it from the German onslaught of 1941. Mr. Abbe was a professional photojournalist who reported and commented on what he saw with no political subterfuge. Note his comments on the hospital.

  2. It is a shame that like Talibanic Islam, Communism (in Russia and other places) found it neccessary to destroy the culture and religionous icons that ran counter to it’s beliefs.

    • Completely, totally different than Talibanic Islam; Religion kept the peasants ignorant and illiterate under the Tsar. The Communists brought education, medicine (not religious “healing” voodoo), and modernization. Yes, they wanted to destroy a culture that harmed instead of helped.

      • Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that religion brought culture and morals to the serf and that the Czar kept them ignorant? He was the supreme leader after all. The Church did answer to him.

  3. Compared to western Europeans and Americans Soviet citizens were poor but still lived better than the vast majority of the world.

  4. MW, read please, the definition of GULAG:

    Gulag, system of forced-labor prison camps in the USSR, from the Russian acronym [GULag] for the Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps, a department of the Soviet secret police (originally the Cheka; subsequently the GPU, OGPU, NKVD, MVD, and finally the KGB). The Gulag was first established under Vladimir Lenin during the early Bolshevik years (c.1920). The vast penal network, which ultimately included 476 camp complexes, functioned throughout Russia, many in the wastes of Siberia and the Soviet Far East. The system reached its peak after 1928 under Joseph Stalin, who used it to maintain the Soviet state by keeping its populace in a state of terror. Gulag deaths of both political prisoners and common criminals from overwork, starvation, and other forms of maltreatment are estimated to have been in the millions during Stalin’s years in power.

    I am sorry, I don’t know what book you read about Lenin, if it came out of the USSR, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

    • The Justice Commissariat ceased to handle penal institutions in 1934, when all prisoners and prisons were put under NKVD authority. Realistically, then, the GULAG system (of slave labor and terror) only lasted from 1934-1954. In the 1920s only political prisoners were sent to the harsh camps of the N. Soviet Union or the region of Siberia. Even at that, rehabilitation was the norm in all camps in the 20s. A liberal policy was employed- prisoners could leave the camps to work before returning at night. Of course, this ended after Stalin’s rise in 1928.

      I had to laugh about the Lenin book comment. The trouble with reading history books by Americans is you have to read 10 bad ones before you find one that is actually objective and fair. “And that’s the way it is.”

      • I can’t take you anymore. In spite of MOUNTAINS of evidence to the contrary,
        in spite of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, you maintain this lie. It is ingrained in you. You, who have never even been to Russia. Did they walk home from Siberia at night? The USSR collapsed because it couldn’t sustain itself under the weight of its total BULLS**T. And that, is a fact, it is gone.

        • ARCHY you are so right , my family was from yugoslavia it was paridise compared CCCP. MATE some of these wankers don,t want the truth they they actually prefer lies.

        • I didn’t mean to upset you, but I believe things are more nuanced than what we think we know about history. I never denied mistakes and injustices but the fact that the “idea” was good remains good. The U.S. early values in the Declaration and Constitution were good and remain good, yet look at the history. I’m not defending everything, I’m defending the idea. The early Soviet Union had a lot more good than bad. If the Sov. Union collapsed, I want to know why, not judge from thousands of miles away. If you were there you only saw or heard a minute fraction of reality. If I went there, same thing. It takes a lot of study from a lot of sources to understand things but once again, it will only be a fraction of reality. So my point is, I’m just trying to learn a little, not convert or insult anyone.

          • The idea looks attractive to some on paper. However, it is only successful on Star Trek episodes. Human nature is too competitive, creative, energetic, and destructive to conform to such a plan.

          • MW, I heard minute fraction of reality from a man who was born before 1917, and who still lives today.
            The fact is, when Gorbachev allowed freedom of speech, every family in Russia had a horror story to tell. People who disappeared in the night with no explanation. I must admit you frustrate me MW, I feel that way because you seem to have closed your eyes to the reality of the situation in 1917. No country, none, could have bounced back from the horror of those years, in so short a time. Socialists apologists have been throwing Lenin out there as a symbol of what could have been, but never was. I apologize if I,ve been rude. If we sat down and had a few beers together we could probably work it out…

  5. Abbe indirectly references the famine in the Ukraine, through the comments about people waiting for a train. Great pictures…makes you wonder how many of those people survived the purges and the war.

  6. I have a hard time believing all those people are standing there in the freezing cold and just watching the ice floating on the river. I like the old pictures anyway. 🙂

  7. About half of Kazakhs (2 millions or even more) starved to death in 1932-1933 after forced collectivization. About 1 million Kazakhs starved to death in 1921. Many thousands were killed in the 1916 uprising.

  8. Dear Godmocking Maggot;Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule of worshiping satan and being sodomized by strangers in public toilets to post this hateful message. The Holy Bible tells us that we are actually Blessed by your persecution! Thanks for proving that we’re right.

  9. All those comments like “PROHIBITED” come from, excuse me, an idiot.

    Take a picture of some people waiting for the train peacefully, add a caption like “starving peasants robbed by the evil Stalin are waiting for e train to evacuate to safety” — and keep telling there’s no propaganda in the West.

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