Day of International Solidarity of the Working Class, or Labour Day — was celebrated in Russia on May, 1st from 1919 to 1990. A public holiday for each every city, every township or village had a parade organised: flags were carried, posters and banners were up, kids had red ballons and portraits of the governing men were on display. The attendance usually was compulsory, but judging by the photographs now, I don’t think anybody minded: it looks like people had fum there. By May the weather was usually sunny and crisp, and this holiday was a little more that a propagandist activity: it was a unifying event. Please read on to see some faces behind the crowd.
The compulsory two years of military service was a rite of passage for every Soviet guy. When one turned eighteen — unless for sickness or injury — it was time to be called in for the military life — two years in the barracks. Usually away from home, this period of time was meant to train and educate the men should there be a war. It included physical training, political orientation, current affairs, weaponry and so on — a good many posts can be written on life in the army! Today, however, we want to take a different look on this subject. The guys usually bonded well and during their spare time created so called “Discharge Albums” — like scrapbooks, they were full of photos, songs lyrics, quick notes from the buddies etc. This particular one has a very neat selection of wee hand drawn episodes of the army realities.
1953 was the last year of long and terrifying governing of Stalin. In January the huge country although accustomed to repressions shuddered from the new horror – this time the enemies-saboteurs were Kremlin doctors of a Jewish origin. The commenced persecution also applied to ordinary doctors. Soviet people who believed to the politically edited stories broadcast in the media were scared to be patients of Jewish doctors. On March, 5 of 1953 Stalin passed away and the case of Kremlin doctors was dismissed. Humiliated, maimed doctors were released. However this was only the beginning of the political repressions of the Jewish specialists and today we would like to introduce you to a striking example — the story of my family.