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  • Soviet Visuals

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Soviet Caucasus was home to many health resorts. A region with natural, ethnic and culinary diversity, it lured vacationers and tourists from all across the country. At the same time, freedom-loving highlanders and commercially minded traders exploiting gaps in the planned economy often created headaches for Kremlin leaders.




Intourist travel booklet, 1931



Circus hippopotamus trainer Stepan Isakyan with his hippo at the Black Sea, 1967


Train number 3/4 "Caucasus" Kislovodsk - Moscow,1977

Dzhigits galloping through the mountains. Photo by Yuri Abramochkin, Dagestan, 1968

"We will defend the Caucasus!" WWII poster, 1943

"Micromotor" Tbilisi plant. The best assemblers in the factory shop with product samples and the USSR quality mark" Photo by Givi Kikvadze and Felix Krymsky, Georgian SSR, 1976

"Batumi under construction" painting by Khasan Inaishvili, Georgian SSR,1980

Soviet army in the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, 1990

Intourist travel booklet, 1931

Young couple in Tuapse (a town in Krasnodar Krai situated on the northeast shore of the Black Sea, south of Gelendzhik and north of Sochi), 1987

"Greetings from Grozny!" postcard, 1960

Residential buildings in Yerevan. Photo by Dean Conger, Armenian SSR, 1974

"USSR Ministry of Culture sanatorium, Sochi" postcard, 1955

Holidaymakers in Dombay. Photo by Boris Ushmaykin,1970

Barbershop, Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, 1978

A scene in cabaret. Painting by Lado Gudiashvili, 1920s

"Adygea" hotel, Maykop, 1970s


"Travel the Caucasus Mountains" poster, 1947

Black sea beach. Photo by Carl De Keyzer, Sochi,1988

"To the peoples of Caucasus" Soviet propaganda poster, 1920

Panorama of the city of Baku, Azerbaijan SSR. Photo by Yevgeny Khaldey, 1962


  • Soviet Visuals

Spending roubles in the USSR was in most cases a challenge rather than pleasure. Shortages of many staples, hour long lines, and the sale of scarce items from under the counter became the gloomy signs of the time. The exception were well-stocked hard currency shops, but the overwhelming majority of Soviet people had no access to them. On the other hand traditional bazaars offered good quality costing an arm and a leg.

Kitchen accessories department at a Soviet store, 1980s


Queue for "Greenpeace Breakthrough" record outside "Melodiya" record store, Moscow, USSR, 1989

"Sale of mushrooms on the Danilovsky collective farm market" Photo by B. Anthony Stewart, Moscow, 1959


"Queue" painting by Vasily Kolotev,1985


"It is impossible to walk around the city. Everyone asks where I got my glasses. - And where did you actually get them?" cartoon from "Krokodil" satirical magazine, 1953


Customers of "Beriozka" hard currency store. Photo by Boris Losin, Leningrad, USSR, 1965


Kamchatka crab stall in Magadan,1990


Happy visitor of a liquor store redeeming his ration coupons for vodka during the anti-alcohol campaign, 1980s


"Beriozka" hard currency store, Moscow, 1970s


Seller at Kuznechny food market. Photo by David Turnley, Leningrad, 1991



  • Soviet Visuals

Toys reflected the Soviet world in miniature. They captured the mind of kids at a very early age and continue to trigger feelings of nostalgia in many adults after the collapse of the USSR.

Kalashnikov toy assault rifle,1980s


Nevalyashka roly poly doll, 1950s


"Snow White" toy laundry set for girls, 1990


At a toy store, 1966


Space toys, 1960s


Remote control rocket launcher toy, 1970s


Boy with a toy car,1974


Mechanical 'bear with bottle' toy, 1950's


Wind up robot toy, 1980s


"Potato Toys” book cover, 1931


Cipollino doll, 1950s


"Little doctor" toy set, 1970s


"I want to be a cosmonaut," 1968


1960-1980s toys from collection of Sergei Romanov


Toy Store “Detsky Mir”, Dzerzhinsky Square, Moscow, 1983. Photo by Masha Ivashintsova