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The Swiss authorities paid little attention to the Russian emigrants. It was only after the October Revolution that they became aware of Lenin’s significance.
Schweizer Illustrierte Zeitung, No. 50, 15 December 1917.
Swiss National Museum, Zurich
As of 1916, Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, 1870–1924) and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, lived in Zurich at Spiegelgasse 14 in modest accommodations.
Anton Krenn, around 1917. Gelatine silver print.
© Anton Krenn / Fotostiftung Schweiz
The October Revolution of 1917: The Bolsheviks had the assault on the Winter Palace re-enacted in order to create the impression of a mass revolt.
Assault on the Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, 1920s. Probably a theatrical re-enactment.
This image can be obtained through akg-images (www.akg-images.de) under the image number AKG76817.
After the October Revolution, about 8,000 Russian Swiss returned to their homeland. Many of them returned to a country they had never seen before.
Unknown photographer, 1920.
Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv, Zurich
Fritz Platten, Social Democrat who later turned Communist, took part in the peace conferences in Zimmerwald (1915) and Kiental (1916), where he got to know Lenin. Platten became a close confidant of Lenin and arranged his return to Petrograd (Saint Petersburg).
Fritz Platten, not dated.
Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Handschriften und Alte Drucke, NL 340 Platten, Fritz N.
The Komsomol was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It served to promote the young party elite and played an important role in the development of heavy industry.
Komsomol member, photo: Arkady Shaikhet, Balakhna, 1931.
© Shaikhet Family / Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / "Moscow House of Photography" Museum
Construction of the White Sea Canal, 1931–1933, was Stalin’s showpiece. It was built by tens of thousands of GULAG prison labourers. This edition features photographs of the White Sea Canal by Alexander Rodchenko.
USSR in Construction, vol. 12, 1933. Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / Grafiksammlung / Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.
© MAMM / Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow
Emperor Alexander III gave Dr. Johann Mezger a clock in the shape of a Fabergé egg as a gift. The precious items crafted by jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé were considered the epitome of magnificence and luxury.
Peter Carl Fabergé, table clock with Moser clockwork in the shape of a Fabergé egg, 1893. Saint Petersburg. Silver, nephrite, gilded.
Fondation Igor Carl Fabergé, Geneva
Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962) was probably the most influential Russian avant-garde artist and stage designer. In 1913, more than 800 of her works were exhibited in Moscow. In 1915, she left Russia.
Natalia Goncharova, Factories. Futurism, 1912. Oil on canvas. 102.5 x 80 cm.
© 2017, State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg / 2017, ProLitteris, Zurich
Sport was a popular theme in Socialist realism. The focus was not so much on the rivalry among competing athletes as on the Socialist Collective celebrated at parades.
Alexander Deineka, The Race, 1930. Oil on wood, 150 × 120 cm.
2016 © Archivio Fotografico – Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia / 2017, ProLitteris, Zurich
After the Revolution, artists designed plates featuring workers and symbols of Soviet advancement for the State Porcelain Factory. The red star stood for the path to the classless society.
Plate, Red Army, 1922.
Tsarenkov Collection, London
The ROSTA propaganda poster showed that workers were ready to join the Civil War at any time. These placard newspapers were mainly directed at an illiterate public.
Vladimir Lebedev, Vladimir Mayakovsky, One Must Work, the Rifle Is Right Here, 1920/21. Lino cut, painted, 77.7 x 56.5 cm.
© 2017, State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
Well-known artists like El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko worked for the propaganda campaign of the Soviet Union.
Alexander Rodchenko, Knigi (Books), 1925.
Russian State Library, Moscow. © A. Rodchenko & V. Stepanova Archive / 2017, ProLitteris, Zurich
The photographer Gustav Klutsis was famous for his photomontages. He saw himself as an artist in the service of the Soviet state. But, in 1938, in the course of the Stalinist purges, he was sentenced to death.
Gustav Klutsis, Under the Banner of Lenin for Socialist Construct, 1930.
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Plakatsammlung © ZHdK
Boris Iofan won the international architecture competition for the Palace of the Soviets. At a height of 450 metres it was to be the highest building in the world; in the end, only the foundation was ever built.
Boris Iofan, design sketch for the Palace of the Soviets, 1933–1934. Charcoal on paper, 186 x 203 cm.
Tchoban Foundation, Berlin