This mythical creature of the Soviet kids’ childhood, something between a Centaur and a bicycle, has come into being within a Soviet manufacturing industry driven by an overpowering desire to “give all the best” to children. Most brilliant minds of the Soviet scientists were working on the creation of the ideal cross-breed. The mutant was officially labeled a “Pedal Horse” and its large-volume production was finally kick-started by the end of 1950s. It became very popular quite fast as it was really exciting to own a “real” horse that could move around in the street, a horse more real than a wooden rocking horse.
Earlier this year, a unique in its peculiarity museum was opened in Novosibirsk, the Siberian capital of Russia. Privately owned, this museum offers an insight into the days long gone, yet longing to be remembered: a collection of the Soviet everyday artifacts; simple things that still matter.
Please welcome our new author Maria Yukhimenko, who has visited this place and and prepared this report exclusively for the realussr readers.
The museum occupies a 1917 villa and is opened by appointment only. The story goes that a long time ago this building was used as an NKVD headquarters (the KGB predecessor, that is). Well, it certainly feels like it – the atmosphere is gloomy enough: dark rooms, high stud ceilings, squeaky wooden floors.
However, it turns out to have quite a bit of character…
Just like children anywhere in the world, the Soviet kids needed toys to play with. Certainly the range of toys designed and produced was an enviable one, by some standards. However, the aesthetic appearance of toys was not a priority for Soviet designers — toys had to be functional and educational. Anything beyond that, like pleasant looks, was not considered to be important and, moreover, it was seen as an unnecessary indulgence. The lack of competition from the imports due to the planned economy and severe shortages of quality products in the shops actually resulted in the very poor delivery and limited variety of toys. The Soviet parents were able to get only these kinds of toys as imported toys were literally impossible to buy.