Solidarité Ukraine
INED Éditions. Sound Archives, European Memories of the Gulag

Visible signs of Soviet progress

The representation of Soviet achievements is not always dominated by the colossal proportions of Gulag projects or major industrial complexes of the Stalin era. More modest works also contributed to building progress, as can be seen from these little Soviet oases in the middle of the taiga.

The NKVD propaganda album these photos are taken from (see “Initial housing for peasants exiled to the North”) vaunts Soviet success by contrasting the organised chaos of 1930 with the happy completion of the new village at the end of the decade.

The village institutions shown (school, hospital, club, shop, factory, etc.) provide the necessary framework for the smooth running of these deportee villages, built from scratch. The way they are paired in this album is further evidence of what success meant to the authorities of the 1930s.