August 01, 1997

Moscow 1947

The year is 1947 and the whole country is celebrating  Moscow’s 800th anniversary. The air is thick with promises and grandiose plans for a bright new future. An anniversary coin featuring Moscow’s legendary founder, Prince Yuri Dolgoruky, has been minted for the occasion, and a pompous monument in his honor is also in the works. Multiple exhibits have been opened, where the curious visitor can witness the ambitious plans for Moscow’s reconstruction. Everything from blueprints of future Moscow skyscrapers  to new models of the Soviet Moskvich car is on display.

Meanwhile, kolkhozniks (collective farm workers) from the surrounding regions are still delivering their produce to the capital on carts: the famous “red caravans”  heaped with vegetables. City streets are filled with cars bearing the logos of Moscow enterprises, while shop windows are bare and dejected. At times, shelves are completely empty,  as the Communist party stockpiles food in warehouses in preparation for a currency reform of the undervalued ruble, to be announced in December.

Times are hard in the Soviet Union. Only two years have passed since the end of the Second World War, but the Cold War is just heating up. Two years after Moscow’s 800th anniversary, the first Soviet nuclear bomb would be tested at the Semipalatinsk firing grounds.

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