Item #1996 [SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]
[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]

[SOVIET UNION CONQUER THE FAR EAST] Severnaia magistral’ [i.e. The Northern Highway]

Item #1996

N.p.: Stroisviaz’ DVK, VSK i YaASSR, 1932-1933. 34 leaves with photographic illustrations mounted. Album size: 29x42 cm. In contemporary cloth binding fastened with twisted cord. Very good. Water stains and some soiling on the outer edge. One of the photos lost two fragments – definitely, there were portraits of executed people.

An exceptional photomontage heavy weight of an album, propagating one of the Stalinist constructions in the Far East. Work in extreme northern conditions on the development of
territory, the extraction of gold, ores and coal, as well as the development of infrastructure were carried out mainly by prisoners. However, the project was flawlessly presented as a heroic exploit of ordinary Soviet people. Natural sources of the territories “were accepted into service for the second five-year plan”. Some statistics on them are published, including 25 million quintals of fish per year. Capacity of gold diggings were defined by an uncertain word “significant” because Soviet gold deposits began to be tracked down and developed just before it. However, it was the main persuasion to send thousands of people (free and convicted) to this region.
The photomontage “Everything – Because of Socialist Raising of the Far East Region” features early pictures of Kherpuchstroi, one of the Soviet campaigns on the region's development started thanks to discoveries of wealthy gold deposits. One of these places was located near the village of Kherpuchi (Khabarovsk Krai). The montage includes airplanes, a railway of the Suchansk coal mines, transportation of timber, workers’ dwellings raised in the middle of nowhere, as well as Dalzavod [the Far Eastern Shipyard]. This pre-revolutionary enterprise was nationalized and continued to specialize in shipbuilding under Soviet rule. In 1931, the company began building and completing construction of ships and submarines for the Pacific Fleet. One of the particularly interesting photomontages is named “Tungusic People Are Building Socialism”. It shows representatives of Negidals, a small indigenous community in the Russian Far East. According to the pictures, they were introduced into socialism and formed a local collective farm. Evenks, Yakuts, Korean and Chinese people of that region were challenged to join the socialist competition and that is the topic of another photomontage. The album was produced after Soviet authorities launched the construction of a telephone telegraph line along the Northern parts of the Far East Region and the Yakut ASSR in 1932. It was stated as a necessity for the second five-year plan.

The date is shown in the composition that isn’t fully preserved by today. Lost fragments of this picture most likely included portraits of local officials that hadn’t survived the Purge. Only one portrait was left in that leaf. Also, some portraits of officials are preserved on the last leaf. For the Northern Telephone Line, expeditions were sent to different settlements in the Khabarovsk Krai: Ayan, Kerchi, Chumikan, Nikolaevsk, etc. Photographs depict views from shore of the Sea of Okhotsk and the rivers flowing into it, as well as impassable taiga, frozen rocks and other hardship that builders had faced. Permafrost cramped the works, and water made it difficult to dig the soil. “Cargos were carried by horses, reindeers, sled dogs and people themselves [statistics on all the methods were also added into one photomontage]. They were building bridges over rivers, and dragged poles over mountain peaks. They installed telephone poles manually, strengthening the stability of the line in every possible way”. Documentary alternates with optimistic retelling of builders’ leisure time, their
bread-cooking sessions in handmade clay ovens and creation of a wall newspaper.

In 1936, the construction of the longest telephone line from Moscow to the Far East (more than 9000 km) was completed. This album most likely contains statistics related to the Far Eastern part of the whole line. Photomontages show illustrative statistics on length of the line, scale of the felled forest, number of poles installed, number of insulators, length of underground and underwater cables, length of equipped trails and bridges. The album itself is likely to be a maquette of a never finished print album, under the same title. The structure of the album, the quality of the photomontages and the layout differ this piece the from the usual ‘presentation’ type of party photo-album, that would be given on a special
occasion to a local authority. The fact that album has included the repressed people (torn out) might explain, why ‘Severnaia magistral’ never was printed in a book form.

Price: $9,500.00

Status: On Hold
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