Tag Archives: soviet union
October 12, 2012

Off to the ‘Stans

Just a super quick note before I head off to the airport. For the next three weeks I will be traveling around Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. So after a few years of being stuck stateside, I will finally have some new content and photos for this blog.

(Courtesy WikiTravel)

December 6, 2011

POTD: Russian State Duma

Although the Soviet Union fell nearly 20 years ago, symbols of the regime still remain throughout the former USSR. This hammer and sickle adorns the Russian State Duma (the lower house of the federal legislature) building in Moscow. This building formerly housed Gosplan (State Planning Committee), the agency responsible for economic planning in the Soviet Union, which included the infamous five-year plans.

December 5, 2010

POTD: Metekhi Church of Assumption in Tbilisi

Metekhi church

Metekhi church

The Metekhi Church of Assumption was originally built by the Georgian king St Demetrius II circa 1278–1284. It was later damaged and restored several times. Throughout its existence it has served as army barracks, a jail, and theater until 1988, when the Soviet government allowed the building to once again be used as a church.

December 2, 2010

POTD: The last Karl Marx monument in Moscow

In Teatralnaya Square, directly across the street from the Bolshoi Theatre stands Moscow’s last remaining monument to Karl Marx, which was erected in 1961. The inscription reads “Proletariat of all countries, solidarity!” (aka “Workers of the world, unite!”) While the Communist Party still occasionally rallies around the monument, some have suggested replacing the monument with, among other things, a bronze statue of Vladimir Putin.

November 28, 2010

POTD: Nikolskaya Tower at the Kremlin in Moscow

Nikolskaya tower at the Kremlin

Nikolskaya tower at the Kremlin

This is the Nikolskaya Tower (Russian: Никольская башня) which is situated on the eastern wall of the Moscow Kremlin. It was originally built in in 1491, rebuilt in 1806, and restored in 1816 after the top of the tower was blown up by the retreating French army in 1812. The towers were originally topped by gilded two-headed eagles that symbolized Tsarist Russia, however these were replaced by red stars representing the Soviet Union in 1935.

Russia, unfortunately, is not a country that you can jet off to for last minute holidays. Trips there require advance notice, as you must acquire a visa from your nearest Russian embassy or consulate. A trip to Russia is well worth the time and money, however, and remains one of my favorite places that I have visited in my eight years of international travels.

November 23, 2010

POTD: Checkpoint Charlie Sign

checkpoint charlie

checkpoint charlie

This is a copy of the famous sign that once stood at Checkpoint Charlie, a border crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. The checkpoint remained in use until October 1990, when Germany was reunified. Checkpoint Charlie remains a major tourist destination, however, and a replica of the Allied checkpoint guardhouse was erected at the original site.

I visited Berlin for the first time in December 2009 and would highly recommend a trip there if you are interested in Cold War history. Despite the cold weather, I loved visiting during the winter. Flights to Berlin are relatively cheap at that time, and you can always warm up with some glühwein or jagertee.

November 20, 2010

POTD: Sculpture of Soviet soldiers in Kiev

Sculpture of Soviet World War II soldiers near the Rodina Mat monument in Kiev.

November 19, 2010

POTD: Soviet decorations in Pripyat

These decorations were hung on the lampposts in Pripyat in preparation for the 1986 May Day parade that never occurred due to the explosion at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

November 12, 2010

POTD: Communists near Red Square

Yes, they still exist, and occasionally hold small rallies. Photo taken in the summer of 2003.

November 4, 2010

POTD: “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” in Moscow

Worker and Kolkhoz Woman

Worker and Kolkhoz Woman

Designed in 1937 by Vera Mukhina, the “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” is a 78 foot high stainless steel sculpture that crowned the Soviet pavilion at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. The sculpture currently resides at VDNKH in Moscow and is one of my favorite examples of socialist realism. This photo was
taken in 2003 while the sculpture was undergoing restoration.