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  • Writer's pictureSoviet Visuals

Mushrooms in the USSR

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

In the USSR, wild mushrooms were a much loved and affordable delicacy. There were lots of ways to use them in meals: mushrooms were fried, baked, grilled, added as a filling for pastries and dumplings, marinated, salted and served as a snack to ice vodka. Sometimes, rumours about poisoning would go around, but every mushroom picker knew the right method

to distinguish safe mushrooms from poisonous ones. Anthropomorphic mushrooms were the characters of Russian fairy tales. In a famous 1991 televised hoax, Soviet musician Sergei Kuryokhin and reporter Sergei Sholokhov stated that Vladimir Lenin was a mushroom.

Illustration from "Mushrooms of the USSR" guidebook, 1980

Still from "Morozko" 1964 Soviet romantic fantasy film based on a traditional Russian fairy tale.

Marinated mushrooms by Andreevsky forestry enterprise. Photo by Viktor Akhlomov, Vladimir region, USSR, 1974

"Edible and poisonous mushrooms of the Central Black Earth Region", book cover, 1986

"Edible and poisonous mushrooms" booklet, 1965

Pencil holder, 1978

“Mushroom picker guide for the Northwest and Central European part of the USSR", 1985

"Mushrooms are a miracle of nature" booklet, 1966

Desk lamp, 1970s

"Tale of Mushrooms" booklet, 1924

Still from the 'Lenin is a Mushroom' TV hoax, 1991

"When picking mushrooms, save the mycelium!" environmental poster, 1965

"Polissya Robinsons" film poster, 1934

New Year tree decoration, 1950s

"Mushrooms" poetry book for kids, 1930

"Mushroom pickers" painting by Tatyana Yeremina, 1953

"Mukhomor" ( Amanita muscaria) art group: Alexey Kamensky, Sergey Mironenko, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Vladimir Mironenko, Sven Gundlakh. Moscow, 1981

"We are coming, we are coming - we’ll exterminate the entire bourgeoisie”

1924 illustration from children’s magazine Murzilka.

Mushroom cloud from RDS-1, the first nuclear weapon detonated by the Soviet Union. Semipalatinsk Test Site, 29 August 1949

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