During the Soviet era, scientists were all the time coming up with a lot of weird ideas, which though weird, baffled everyone with their functionality. Some of those went into series production, some, sadly, were never produced en masse. Some of the ambitious things can probably surprise even modern day people. Here are some of those, starting with a legendary Soviet snowmobile.
It was called “Sever-2” (Sever means North) and were made for the Soviet Army in the 1950s.
The Soviet Union was trying to built robots. For example, this one below was called “Stainless Administrator” and was actually built by the Soviet acrobat, athlete and illusionist Sokolov. Here is he with his creation:
Soviet people played Jenga without wooden pieces – they used people. It is very well depicted on this photo from the rehearsal of Moscow Olympics opening ceremony in 1980:
China porcelain dogs-cosmonauts souvenirs:
This popular souvenir appeared in the USSR after the successful launch of the first living person from the planet Earth, launched on a rocket and into orbit.
Now they are a rarity and cost a lot on eBay.
The first Soviet mobile phone “Altai” – the size of a modern day smartphone – you could call another Altai phone from it, or even a normal landline phone. It was out in the Soviet Union in 1963 and it was ten years before Motorola made their first mobile phone.
Multi-line rotary dialing phone.
The tetris game – a friendly reminder that Tetris was invented in the USSR.
An exact copy of an Apple computer – Agat-4, a clone of the Apple II machine. It was the most popular personal computer made in USSR.
The Soviet predecessor of a smart home – “Sfincs” – Super Functional Integrated Communication System. It looks like it comes from a futuristic Hollywood movie.
The huge Chernobyl “DUGA” complex – previously a secret Soviet installation. There were rumors it was used to control the minds of Soviet people. Actually, it turned out that it was an over the horizon rocket launch detection system.
Soviet rare cars like this “Leningrad” cabrio.
Or this “SARB Start” van with “fins”.
Am amphibious automobile made by the Demidov brothers. It could cross lakes and rivers as well as go on roads.
An aero-car from the USSR. Built in 1966, the wheels weren’t driven by the engine but by the propeller that was spinning resulting in the car moving – like an airplane during acceleration before take off. It could go as fast as 120 km/h on a highway and 80 km/h on snow if the wheels were replaced with skis. It could also go on water as a boat pushed by the propeller.
Another version of the vehicle.
A youth engineer magazine published a possible extra planetary vehicle (of course it was never built).
A two person cable car with no protection – you just stand in the middle of the air. It was functioning in Yalta, Crimea, Soviet Ukraine. 1968.
Barrell-like washing machines.
Textiles for women’s’ dresses featured propaganda images.
Women actually wore dresses with such motives.
The legendary Soviet rocket propelled train, now abandoned somewhere in Siberia. You can read more here.
A huge Soviet palace with a Lenin monument on top had to become the tallest structure in the world in pre-WW2 USSR. To free the land for this structure they blew up Christ Redemption cathedral in downtown Moscow (the tallest Orthodox church in the world). But after WW2 started, all the concrete and steel that they planned to use was used to build bridges to protect Moscow. Later, the foundation of the palace, which they had already built, was flooded and turned into a large pool.
Another huge building had to be placed near the Belorussky railway station in Moscow. It had to glorify the Soviet air force. It still hasn’t been built.
And one more building that wasn’t built.
“River rockets” – hydrofoil vehicles – they were numerous in the USSR, and were used on rivers and lakes, and thanks to its high speeds – up to 80 km/h – was a very fast form of water transportation. This one now lays rusty.
But some are still functioning, for example in Karelia, Russia such a vehicle brings people from Petrozavodsk city to the Kizhi island – the open air museum of wooden buildings. In just around 40 minutes it covers a distance of over 60 kms.