Soviets Invade Afghanistan

Soviet tanks and soldiers in Afghanistan

Soviet tanks and soldiers in Afghanistan

In the 1970s, Afghanistan was in turmoil.  Over a short period, the government violently changed from a monarchy in 1975 to a new Soviet-friendly government in 1978.  The new leader,  Nur Mohammad Taraki, gained the support of Leonid Brezhnev and the Soviet Union.  However, Afghanistan is an unstable country and Taraki was soon overthrown and executed by Hafizullah Amin, who became the new leader of the socialist republic (1980: Invasion of Afghanistan).  The Soviets saw Amin as a threat to socialism in Afghanistan, especially given the lack of popular support for the government, and the media called him deceptive and an enemy of the revolution (Petrov).  Amin had been a key member of the Taraki government and the two had a close relationship during the revolution, but their relationship became tense after they rose to power.

The Soviet invasion route to Kabul

The Soviet invasion route to Kabul

On Christmas Day 1979, Soviet troops invaded the country of Afghanistan in South Asia in order to prop up their ally.  They claimed that Afghanistan was under the pressure of imperialism and need support to further to April Revolution (Petrov).  The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan was threatened and requested support from the Soviets, so they obliged.  Two days after the Soviets invaded, Amin was ousted and Babrak Karmal was flown in from the Soviet Union and installed as the new leader (1980: Invasion of Afghanistan).  One aspect of the Soviet invasion that the new Afghan government used as a positive consequence was the return of Afghans to their home country (Statement).  However, the new government still did not have the popular support necessary

The invasion into Afghanistan started a war that would last almost a decade.  It cost the Soviets many lives, resources, and extreme amounts of money to fight a protracted war in the mountainous country.  The war gave further enraged the religiously motivated anti-Soviet and anti-government forces in Afghanistan, known as the mujahideen, a group in which Osama bin Laden got his start and the Peshawar Seven rose to prominence.  The mujahideen eventually gained the financial support of the United States and other foreign powers, making the job of the Soviets even harder.  Afghanistan became a furnace in which the Soviets burned up military supplies, resources, and revenue to continue a war that it would ultimately lose.  The Soviets withdrew in February 1989 and Afghanistan thrown into an internal civil war for several more years before the rise of the Taliban established a stable government.  The Afghan war proved to be a major blow to Afghan to Soviet military and weakened its esteem in the international community.

Mujahideen fighter with an American supplied FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missile.  These were used to shoot down hundreds of Soviet aircraft

Mujahideen fighter with an American supplied FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missile. These were used to shoot down hundreds of Soviet aircraft








Mujahideen in Afghanistan

Mujahideen in Afghanistan








Seventeen Moments: 1980: Invasion of Afghanistan,

Statement by the Government of Afghanistan:

A. Petrov, On Events in Afghanistan:


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Dubcek’s Socialist Dilemma

An unarmed student confronts the Soviet tanks in Prague.

An unarmed student confronts the Soviet tanks in Prague.

After the Second World War, Czechoslovakia became a communist state under the influence of the Soviet Union and Moscow.  Czechoslovakia had been an independent state until the start of the Second World War, when it came under German influence.  So, the Soviets imposed their will on this relatively Western-cultured country, but de-Stalinization led to changes in the Czechoslovakia.  These changes culminated in the rise of Alexander Dubcek, the Slovak party leader, to the position of First Secretary of Czechoslovak Communist Party on January 5th, 1968.

Dubcek was a reform-minded career politician who had gained the support of the large opposition to the previous First Secretary, Antonin Novotny.  Dubcek and his allies began the period known as the Prague Spring, seeking to reform the Czechoslovak socialist system to promote economic growth.  This wave of liberalization gained steam and

Alexander Dubcek, "I am with you, be with us!"

Alexander Dubcek, “I am with you, be with us!”

support amongst the people and soon was out of the control of Dubcek.  When he was instructed by high-ranking members of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union to stop the reforms, he refused to use oppressive measures to regain control.

Due to his inaction, the Soviets decided to intervene themselves.  According to an editorial of the time, entitled, “Defense of Socialism is the Highest Internationalist Duty,” the Soviets became involved at the behest of the Czechoslovaks, in order to oppose the threat to “the constitutionally established state system by counterrevolutionary forces that have entered into collusion with external forces hostile to socialism.”  This same article upheld that the majority of “Presidium of the C.C.P. Central Committee” opposed these “counterrevolutionaries.”  This article reveals a lot of the one-sided and biased view of the Prague Spring from Moscow.  Thus, in mid-August 1968, the Red Army invaded Czechoslovakia to restore order, tanks sweeping over the unarmed demonstrators and student protestors.  The Prague Spring was crushed by the brute force of Soviet military might.

praga11 praga1 Following the Prague Spring and the Soviet intervention, Czechoslovakia was made into a federated republic composed of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic, in an attempt to stabilize the country and maintain socialism.  However, the ghost of the Prague Spring haunted the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic into the 1970s and 1980s, with the rise of democratic opposition parties.  Eventually this opposition, led by prominent activists such as Vaclav Havel, ousted the Communist from power and established a new government for Czechoslovakia with free elections.  In what became known as the “Velvet Revolution,” Czechoslovakia voluntarily split into the modern independent countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  The roots of that revolution and the Havel’s movement began in the Prague Spring of 1968.



Pravda Editorial:

Seventeen Moments, Crisis in Czechoslovakia:

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The Reds and the Hydrogen Bomb

In August 1953, only six months after the death of Stalin, the Soviet Union tested a nuclear weapon in Kazakstan.  This weapon was the first hydrogen bomb developed by Igor “The Beard” Kurchatov, Stalin’s hand-picked head of the Soviet nuclear program that started in 1943.  The Soviets had detonated their first successful atomic bomb in August 1949, starting the infamous nuclear arms race of the Cold War with the United States.

Sakharov (left) and Kurchatov, the Soviet bomb makers.

Sakharov (left) and Kurchatov, the Soviet bomb makers.


The bomb test in seven years later was 18 times more powerful, but weighed less physically.  The key to the new hydrogen bomb was  “layer-cake,” the idea of a Soviet scientist named Andrei Sakharov.  His new idea was to layer uranium with tritium and deuterium, in order to create a thermonuclear explosion.  A thermonuclear explosion is caused by the energy from the fusion of hydrogen atoms.    However, in order to create the conditions necessary for hydrogen fusion, a nuclear explosion from the fission of atoms must be initiated in order to create the pressure and high temperatures needed to force the fusion of hydrogen atoms.  Essentially, the hydrogen bomb’s trigger is an atomic bomb, like the ones used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In October 1953, the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) reported on the nuclear tests and confirmed their success in an article.  It declared very little about the test themselves, only say “They fully confirmed the calculations and assumptions of the scientists and engineer-designers.”  The majority of the report focused on the need to maintain a Soviet nuclear arsenal in the face of aggressive American rejection of arms reduction.  The TASS report claims that “The Soviet Union considers it its most important task to see that atomic energy is put at the service of the cause of peaceful progress.”

In another article from Izvestia, this time from early September 1953, discusses John Foster Dulles’ speech to the American Bar Association in Boston.  It attacked Dulles for his stance of the U.N. Charter in reference to weapons of mass destruction.  The article stated that Dulles sought to change the U.N. Charter in order to protect an American nuclear monopoly.  However, the article was clear to point out that the U.S. no longer had a monopoly on WMDs, since the Soviets now had their own thermonuclear weapon.  At the end, the article gives support to the USSR by saying, “the Soviet government has repeatedly proposed to the governments of other countries that armaments be considerably curtailed, the use of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction banned and strict international control over this ban established within the framework of the U.N.”

Despite their claims of seeking arms reduction, the Soviet nuclear program continued to grow, even after Stalin’s death.  In the name of the “people’s security,” the Soviets built bigger and bigger bombs, and more and more of them.  In October 1961, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated, the “Tsar Bomba” (a 50-megaton bomb) was tested in Novaya Zemlya.  The “Tsar Bomba” was 1,350–1,570 times the combined power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or 2,000 times as powerful as the August 1949 Soviet bomb.

Tsar Bomb in comparison to other nuclear weapons

Tsar Bomb in comparison to other nuclear weapons








TASS article:

Izvestia article:

Citizen Kurchatov:

17 Moments:


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The Gold is Back in the Red Army

The Red Army's top commanders at the start of the war

The Red Army’s top commanders at the start of the war

When the Red Army was first formed in the years following the Revolution of 1917, it defied many precepts of a modern, European military.  Lenin wanted “the standing army to be replaced by the arming of the entire people,” and this “people’s” militia become the Red Army (The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution). This army was far less stratified than the Imperial Army had been, when the officers were Noblemen and the enlisted soldiers .  The Red Army was free of the Western rank structure and elected it “commanders” at various levels.

During World War II, the Soviets introduced epaulettes and authoritarian ranks to the Red Army (Establishment of Military Ranks).  This was an attempt to re-energize the officer corps and reinstate their authority.  The Red Army had been devastated by the Great Purge of the late 1930s, leaving officer corps shrunken and weak.  Many of the highest ranking and most experienced officers had been killed off during the purge, which left the Red Army unable to resist the advancing Germans in the opening years of World War II.  Some officers, following the 1939-1940 “Winter War” with Finalnd, were released from prison camps and allowed back into the army, but a vast majority of commanders still had little experience (Freeze, 37Smilie: 8).  The ranks and uniforms that were brought into the Red Army were very similar to those seen in the Russian Imperial Army.  As seen in the portrait below, Georgii Zhukov looks more like a Field Marshall of the Russian Imperial Army, than the head of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.

Georgii Zhukov, Marshal of the Union, in 1945

Georgii Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union, in 1945

Tsar Nicholas II (Left) with King George V of the United Kingdom, 1913

Tsar Nicholas II (Left) with King George V of the United Kingdom, 1913

Marshall of the Soviet Union Georgii Zhukov was appointed to his position at the head of the Red Army in 1943.  He was born as a poor peasant, before being conscripted into the Imperial Army and fighting in World War I.  He joined the Bolsheviks and fought in the Russian Civil War.  He was a military professional who remained in the Army through multiple conflicts and used military education to his advantage.  He is often credited with the successful defense of Stalingrad and the counteroffensive that led to the sacking of Berlin in 1945.


Moscow, June 24, 1945. Zhukov gallops onto Red Square to greet the victorious Soviet Army.


Pavel Korin: Marshal Zhukov (1949)









The Red Army that Zhukov led following World War II looked much like a more conventional military.  From the uniforms to the portrayal of the Imperial military heroes, the army was transformed from the “militia” it had been in 1917.  The great Russian military heroes of the Empire were revived as models of Russian strength and heroism.  Red Army officers began to receive benefits for themselves and their families, along with their “prestigious” uniforms, which began to separate the officer corps from enlisted troops.  With exception of the role of Military Commissars, the Red Army looked and operated much differently after the Second World War than they did before.



Seventeen Moments: Epaulettes Back on Uniforms 

Seventeen Moments: Establishment of Military Ranks

Vladimir Lenin: The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution

Gregory Freeze: Russia: A History, pg. 378, 380.


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The Great Fergana Canal and Uzbekistan


Uzbeks working on the irrigation canal


In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of workers began working on massive irrigation projects in Uzbekistan.  The purpose of this construction was to cultivate and water agricultural fields in Uzbekistan, in order to grow crops, especially cotton.  Cotton requires large amounts of water in order to produce enough product to yield a significant amount of cotton, hence the need to build long irrigation canals.

The Great Fergana Canal project began in mid-1939 as part of this movement.  Newly collectivized Uzbek and Tajik peasants were used as the labor force.  The project was hailed as, a “people’s construction project,” by the Soviet propaganda, denoting that the the canal was to be built by local volunteers.  According to Nikolai Mikhailov, the peasants undertook the project on “their own initiative.”  Unlike many other Soviet projects of the era, there was little emphasis on the use of mechanized vehicles, such as tractors.  The workers manually dug trenches to bring water from the Syr-Darya River to the cotton fields of the Fergana Valley.  It took approximately 160,000 workers 6 weeks to build 170 miles of canal, bring water to what had been “desert” before (Mikhailov).


Badge awarded to NKVD Guards at the Great Fergana Canal


The famous “horns” of the Fergana Canal, calling workers to dig












The construction of the canal had some negative aspects.  It contributed to the degradation of Aral Sea, which has caused many ecological issues since the Soviet era.  Also, there was the presence of guards from the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), represented by the badge above.  The fact that there were NKVD guards at the work sights casts doubts of the amount of “volunteers” that were part of the 160,000.

The construction of the Great Fergana Canal was an impressive operation.  It used the “enthusiasm” of workers to rapidly build a long irrigation canal.  This allowed the Fergana valley to be better irrigated, therefore created more farm land, and allowed cotton production to flourish.  Despite the doubtable “volunteer” status of these workers, there is no doubt that the project was completed quickly and had benefits for the locals and the Soviet Union as a whole.



Seventeen Moments in Soviet History:

  • Pictures –
  • Nikolai Mikhailov: Uzbek Land and People –
  • 1939: Great Fergana Canal –

Freeze, Gregory L.. Russia: a history. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.


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Dissolution of the Church


Demolition of the Annunciation Church in Leningrad, 1929

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet state fluctuated between tolerant and actively antagonistic.  In 1918, the state instituted stringent restrictions and penilties for the Church.  An additional law was passed in 1929, which further tightened down on the religious institutions.

The 1929 law created a “war on the church” and increased the brutality and violence with which previous laws were enforced.  The law encouraged activists to act against the church as a whole, not just the hierarchy that had previously been the subject of anti-religious action.  Church buildings themselves were dismantled or converted for other purposes, such as housing and storage.  In particular, the church bells and holy objects were confiscated and melted down for their metal.  This caused a lot of resistance among villagers, especially in the rural regions, where the clergy had stronger control.


Russians dismantling church bells







One other departure from the trappings of of Russian society involved the work week.  The industrializing country had a major plan to increase productivity.  This led the Soviets to increase the number of days worked a week in order to increase productivity, but also to stop people from wanting to attend religious services on Sundays and religious holidays.  Instead a new schedule was mandated and revolutionary holidays created as days of rest.  This policy was known as nepreryvka.  However, while the factories were open all the time, the machines were more prone to breakdown and problems.  In 1931, Stalin abandoned the continuous work week, in favor of a six-day work week.


On Easter Day Nobody Skips Work! (1929)










17 Moments in Soviet History:


Freeze, Russia: A History, chapter 10 and 11



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The Muslim East and the Soviet Conquest

Maks Penson: City Square and Lenin (1925)

Maks Penson: City Square and Lenin (1925)

The Muslim dominated regions in the southern portion of asiatic side of the Russian Empire continued to be subjugated to the new regime that came to power in October 1917.  An interesting aspect of the eastern/Muslim role  in the October Revolution is the limited amount of control they exercised over their own nationalities.  Also, it is interesting to see their role in the Soviet system and how the eastern nations factored into their local governance in the early 1920s.

The predominately Muslim countries of Central Asia had been ruled and colonized by the Russian Empire since the 18th century.  The Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Azerbaijanis, Tartars, and Turks became intermingled with ethnic Russians and Slavs.  This interaction led some Eastern intellectuals to the cause of Jadidism, which called for reform in the social structure and education based on the Western model.  Many of these individuals would later become the leaders of Bolshevism in Central Asia.

After the October Revolution of 1917, a Soviet made of Russian soldiers and workers who lived in Central Asia rose to power in the area.  The Soviets tried to get the Muslims and ethnic minorities to buy into the revolution, offering autonomy and self-determination, as well as free practice of religion.  After Central Asia was conquered by the Red Army, the Russian Soviet government established the Turkestan, Bukhara, and Khorezm Republics.

This subjugation by the Russians and the lack of self-determination and platformnational unity with in the Republics, led the Congress of  the Peoples of the East to declare a Muslim Jihad against the colonialism and imperialism of the Russian Soviet.  They claimed the Russians had an “appearance of democracy,” but that the “policies proved useless” for the masses.  The Congress also made many demands about taxes, irrigation, land reform, and ensuring cultural tolerance.  This turned into a rebellion where armed bands of Basmachi fought the Red Army in a guerrilla war until they were almost fully subdued in 1922, ending the civil war.

Here’s  link to video portraying the Congress:

This is a link to another video of Central Asia in the 1920s:

The second video is interesting because of its portrayal of the Muslims worshiping and the Communist rhetoric regarding “liberation from slavery.”  I think this shows the connection between the religious and political struggle in Central Asia, the struggle for national self-determination without the absence of Communism.



Encylopedia Britannica, Activities of the Jadid Reformers

Seventeen Moments in Russian History, The Muslim East, 1921:

Minutes of the Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East:



Maks Penson: City Square and Lenin:

Baku, Congress of the Peoples of the East, 1920:



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The October Revolution and the Smolny Institution


Bolshevik troops march to the Smolny Institute, in 1917

In October 1917, the Bolsheviks started their revolution to overthrow the Provisional Government in Petrograd.  With Vladimir Lenin at the front, the Bolsheviks (meaning “majority”Smilie: ;) led peasants and workers in a revolution to establish a socialist society and in the end, establish the Soviet Union.  The main goals of the revolution are summed up by the words, “Peace, Land, and Bread.”

There were many factors that caused the October Revolution.  The Bolsheviks focused their propaganda on the anti-war notions and their distrust of the government.  Therefore non-support for the war played a pivotal role in gaining followers and launching the revolution.  The Kornilov Affair, when General Kornilov attempted to end the dual power system, caused an upsurge in support for the Bolsheviks and the rival of the revolutionary spirit.  The Bolsheviks chose revolution in order to bring about political change and redistribute land and food in a Socialist Russia.


The Smolny Institute

During the October Revolution, Lenin used the Smolny Institute as the Bolsheviks’ headquarters after he came out of hiding.  The institute, established in the early 19th century, served as Russia’s first all-girls (daughters of aristocrats) educational facility.  It was the assembly point for leaders of the revolution, such as Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Anatoly Lunacharsky,  Alexandra Kollontai.

The institute had various political committees operating from it, such as the Petrograd Soviet, Central Executive Committee, Bolshevik committees, and the Military Revolutionary Committee, which led the October uprising.  In December 1917, Louise Bryant described the militaristic security of Smolny, including machine guns, stacks of rifles, canons, and armored cars.  Her description reveals how important the building itself was to the revolutionaries, who seemed to regard it as sacred place due to its role in the October Revolution.

Lenin addressing the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, declaring victory

Lenin addressing the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, declaring victory

The Smolny was also the location used by Lenin to make the proclaimation of Soviet power during the revolution.  Kollontai wrote that the most memorable moment of her life was when Lenin announced, “All power has passed to the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers and Workers’ Deputies.”  Thus, the institute became a symbol of the Soviets’ authority and the start of the Soviet Union.

The Smolny Institute was the nerve center of the October Revolution.  Its role as a central location for the Bolshevik leaders allowed them to discuss the course of the revolution and take action.

Here is a link to a news reel on the October Revolution and the Smolny Institute:


Sources:, pages on Kornilov Affair, Formation of the Soviets, and Bolsheviks Seize Power.

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. Print.

Six Red Months in Russia (191Smilie: 8) by Louise Bryant (-1936) New York: George H. Doran Company, 1918.

Alexandra Kollontai, Reminiscences of Vladimir Ilyich LeninLenin at Smolny,” glossary for terms, such as Bolshevik and October Revolution.


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Bloody Sunday – The Start the 1905 Revolution

"Bloody Sunday" depicted in a 1925 film called "9th of January"

“Krovavoye Voskresenye” or “Bloody Sunday” depicted in a 1925 film called “9th of January”

On January 22nd, 1905 (Old Style: January 9th), Russian demonstrators marched to petition Tsar Nicholas II for political and economic reform.  The demonstrators, members of the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers, peacefully marched towards the Tsar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.  The demonstration and march was unsuccessful, as the Tsar failed to receive the petition.  An even more fateful and provoking turn of events came when military units were given the order to fire on the workers, killing hundreds and wounding many more.  This event would become known as Bloody Sunday.

Father Gapon, leading the demonstrators in St. Petersburg

Father Gapon, leading the demonstrators at the Narva Gate

This tragic event occurred despite the seemingly supportive attitude towards the Tsar held by the demonstrators.  These workers were not hardline Marxist revolutionaries, but rather pro-government, who were unarmed, carrying Orthodox crosses, religious icons, and singing patriotic songs.  These protesters believed that the benevolent Tsar, whom they called “our father,” would listen to his people and enact the necessary reforms.  However, the Tsar did not receive their petition, and popularity of the Tsar amongst worker was instantly shattered and set off the Revolution of 1905.


Father Georgii Gapon, founder of the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers

The Assembly of Russian Factory Workers, founded the by a Russian Orthodox Priest named Georgi Gapon, which was initially approved and financed by the police, became an organization for both Marxist-leaning leaders and a grass-roots workers’ movement.  In December 1904, several members of the Assembly were dismissed from the Putilov factory, which sparked Father Gapon’s petition, a large workers’ strike, and the unification of workers behind Gapon’s cause for the rights of workers.

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich



A New York Times article on January 23rd, 1905, describes the story of Bloody Sunday.  The Times cable puts the blame for the massacre on Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, the uncle of Tsar Nicholas II.  The article describes Russian troops being positioned around the city at strategic points, “as if to resist an invading army.”  Workers marched alongside their wives and children, with Father Gapon at the front with the petition.  On the orders of the Grand Duke, soldiers fired volleys into the crowd of protesters.  The casualties figures given in the article are much higher than others, with thousands of demonstrators killed and thousands more wounded.

The Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1905 was a complex and tragic event.  The motivations for the incident involved Marxist ideals, loyalist intentions, religious incentive, civil rights, and misjudgment on the part of the tsarists to fire on the crowds.  It led to the workers turning away from the Tsar as their protector, and seeing him as a more adversarial figure.  The implications of this go well beyond the deaths and outrage of workers, but led to the 1905 revolution and the events that began to destabilize the Russian autocracy.




Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Bloody Sunday,” accessed September 08, 2013,

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Nicholas II,” accessed September 08, 2013,

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. Print.

“Gapon, Georgi Apollonovich.” Glossary of People:. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2013.

Special Cable to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. 1905. “PEACEABLE MEN SHOT DOWN.” New York Times (1857-1922), Jan 23, 1.


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Church of the Resurrection – Prokudin-Gorskii



This color photo of this spectacular church in Kostroma was taken in 1910 by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii.

My name is Connor Williams and this is my first blog post for my 20th Century Russian History class at Virginia Tech.  Here we go…

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii traveled around the Russian Empire taking COLORED photographs of pretty much anything.  Yes, COLORED photographs, tons of them (which wasn’t cheap), decades before colored photography in the West.  His project was bank-rolled by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (reign 1894-1917), the last in the line of Romanov rulers who governed Russia for hundreds of years.  He used a brilliant technique of taking multiple photos with different colored filters and then overlaying the photos to a high resolution, highly detailed picture.


The church today, with the frozen Volga in the background.

The photo I chose to write about was taken by Prokudin-Gorskii in 1910, named “Church of the Resurrection in the Grove (from the other side).”  Located in Kostroma, a city that sits on the bank on the Volga River where it meets the Kostroma River, the church is known for onion domes, bright colors, and interior frescoes.  Built in 1652, the church is a prime example of 17th century Russian architecture, with the intricate and decorative designs on the outside of then building and familiar multiple domed towers.

Komstroma was of particular importance to the Romanovs, especially the Ipatiev Monastery (a Hypatian monastery) and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin which Prokudin-Gorskii also photographed in 1910.  There is even a monument to Mikhail Romanov in the city square.  Mikhail and his mother once took refuge within the monastery, just before he became Tsar in 1613.  The structures of the monastery have a very similar appearance to the Church of the Resurrection.



Photos and image information: Library of Congress,

More background history:


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