Dec 23 2005

Soviet Christmas and New Years cards

by in Uncategorized

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Every year I tell myself that I am going to send out holiday greetings cards, but I never get around to it. I came across this website where you can send e-cards with images of old Soviet holiday cards. If some enterprising person were to reproduce an actual set of these, I would totally buy them so I could mail them to my friends. Not that I’m advocating a revival of the Soviet Union, but I’d love to see the perplexed looks on their faces when they pull the card out of the envelope and see Cyrillic characters with a big jolly Communist Santa.

Here are a few of my favorite cards…most of them are actually New Year’s cards (C Новым Годом – S Novim Godom):

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Rockets and space exploration are popular themes for Soviet New Year cards.

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“Happy New Year! This missile is headed straight for those capitalist pigs in Washington!”

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Gotta represent labor and heavy industry, of course. But, uh, is that a Gulag at the top? There are two watch towers, and what look like barracks, so I’m not quite sure.

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Think of our glorious Red Army soldiers serving abroad, crushing nascent democratic forces throughout Eastern Europe.

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Yep, another rocket.

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Yeah, yeah, you have a space program…yes, you sent the first man into space…WE GET IT ALREADY.

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Soviet power Santa, holding a Pentagon in the air emblazoned with CCCP. The DoD Pentagon? Perhaps.

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OMG! The rocket is headed straight for Santa!

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The poor little kid, he has to work in a factory on New Year’s Eve.

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I have no idea what is going on here.

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I love this one. Apparently, when Santa isn’t delivering presents, he serves as a supervisor for Glavtransneft, the Soviet Ministry of Oil’s Department for Oil Transportation and Supplies. Here, Santa supervises an oil worker in the repair of a broken pipeline, thus preventing a major oil spill in Siberia that would have spoiled the upcoming snowman competition. Way to go, Santa.

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Another great one…here, Santa has an old-style radio hanging from his neck, and is holding a Christmas tree with a big red star on the top, thus proving that Santa is a true Bolshevik.

Update: Here are two more, sent to me by Csaba, a friend of mine from Hungary. These are scans of cards that his father sent to him and his brother when he was in the USSR.

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In this New Year’s card, Santa appears to be coaxing a snake out of a box labeled “1989.” This particular snake is also wearing a crown, and batting its eyelashes, which makes me think that the snake is flirting with Santa. Definitely one of the oddest New Year’s cards I’ve ever seen.

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This card is definitely geared towards children. There are a variety of children’s cartoon/fairy tale characters following Santa’s sleigh, which is apparently pulled by a mere boy and his pony rather than a group of reindeer. (Poor Rudolph, methinks he got the pink slip from the human resources department at the North Pole!) I’m not really sure what that boy is holding in his hand, but it looks like a glowing feather of some sorts. Also, what is Puss ‘n Boots holding hands with? Is that an orange wearing an ushanka?
Honestly, wouldn’t you love to receive some of these holiday cards?

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8 Responses to Soviet Christmas and New Years cards

  1. From mark:

    those postcards are awesome.
    merry christmas, comrade!

    Posted on December 24, 2005 at 6:00 pm #
  2. From El Capitan:

    I want them all. I’d frame them for my office. I just love how different they are compared to our own. I’d love to see some from 1991.

    Posted on December 29, 2005 at 7:14 am #
  3. From AuH2O:

    a simple thought from an old cheapskate downloading pirate … get microsoft home publishing, download the x-mas cards, buy some card paper, and matching size envelopes from office max (if you are unable to stride back into the office depot store again lol). you can use micro publising to insert and paste the card picture on the card paper and print a limited supply (yea ink cost money) to send out at your next holiday oppertunity.

    Posted on January 10, 2006 at 8:37 pm #
  4. From Jenya:

    hi hi. i know i’m kinda late on this but that glowing feather the boy is holder is from a fairy tale either about a griffin or a phoenix. i forget.
    and that round thing holding hands with Puss in Boots is kolobok it is a story about a couple who don’t have any children so they decide to make sort of like pastry as a child…
    i found this story translated into English.. http://www.rustoys.com/Kolobok.htm
    maybe someone will find it useful.

    Posted on April 26, 2007 at 3:12 am #
  5. From mia:

    Privet! 11th card: a Parisian mailwoman(?)-I don’t think it’s a Russian card to be honest… Santa and the snake: I assume 1989 was a year of the snake (Chinese Zodiak) and Santa is simply welcoming a New Year!!! And the last one: it’s all about the very famous Russian fairy tales: first is “Konyok-Gorbunok”, the boy is holding a firey Jarptica (Phoenix) feather. Then Ded Moroz and Snegurochka, then “Petushok-Grebeshok”, Lisa and Volk with Buratino (Pinocchio), then Masha and Medved, then Kot v Sapogax (Puss in boots) and Kolobok (a little round bread, escapes from his parents and gets in all kinds of trouble, ends up being Lisa’s dinner). S Novim Godom, s Novim Schastyem!!!

    Posted on December 27, 2007 at 2:38 pm #
  6. From Elena:

    Girl, you made me cry laughing at your comments about our fairy tale characters. Kolobok ” an orange in ushanka” was the best one. THANKS!

    Posted on April 20, 2008 at 12:11 am #
  7. From Maya:

    Santa holding Pentagon is actually holding the symbol of Russian post office. The French lady is not French and the arch behind her is not Paris’ triumph arch, it’s actually in Moscow and she’s just probably encouraging the exchange of New Year post card correspondence.

    Posted on January 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm #
  8. From Thomas:

    I am astounded at the American ignorance thats playing out on these pages – has any body of you been there in the Soviet Union at the time? Your half-wit knowledge is aquired half a world away – you have not an inkling of the spirit and values of those times. And dont even try to cover the moral high-ground about armies ‘crushing nascent democratic forces’ anywhere in the world, hippo – The armies of the ‘free west’ lay waste to the rest of the world.

    Posted on December 31, 2013 at 2:03 am #

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