A Digital Archive of Soviet Children’s Books Goes Online: Browse the Artistic, Ideological Collection (1917-1953)

  • 2017-09-27
  • Open Culture

At both a geographical and historical distance, the Soviet Union doesn't look like much of a place for kids. If you grew up during the Cold War in, say, the United States, you might well have the impression (of which The Simpsons' "Worker and Parasite" remains the defining crystallization) of a gray, harshly utilitarian land behind the Iron Curtain concerned with nothing more whimsical than bread lines and production quotas. But if you grew up in the Soviet Union, at least at one of the right times and in one of the right places, you might feel a now much-discussed nostalgia, not for the economic difficulties of your Soviet childhood, but for the sensibilities of the vanished society you grew up in. An online interactive database called Playing Soviet: The Visual Languages of Early Soviet Children’s Books, 1917-1953 provides a kid's-eye view into the early decades of that society.