Memory and Memorial: April 24 Atop Tsitsernakaberd

In 1967, Yerevan gained a number of public statues and memorials. This year marked 50 years of Soviet Armenia, and an obelisk devoted to the anniversary rose along the curves of Saralanji Avenue in commemoration. In the neighboring Victory Park, devoted to World War II remembrance, Mother Armenia also raised her sword in 1967. These…

Remembering Stalin in Russia and the South Caucasus

In the spring of 2013, major news outlets in Russia, the Caucasus, and the U.S. were abuzz with the news about “Stalin’s long shadow” (NYT), alarmed that “Stalin lives on” (Tert), and that he is “more popular in Russia now than at the end of the Soviet Union” (HuffPost). These articles referred to a survey,…

A Lost Soviet Armenian Film

During Soviet times, the cinema industries of Georgia and Armenia proved to be veritable powerhouses not only within the USSR but internationally as well.  Great filmmakers such as Tengiz Abuladze, Sergei Parajanov, Artavazd Peleshyan, and Otar Iosseliani and performers like Sofiko Chiaureli and Frunzik Mkrtchyan effectively put the Caucasus on the map as a major…

Political Posters Continued

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University, founded in 1959 on Herbert Hoover’s ideas on American government and enterprise, is a remarkable resource for giddy scholars everywhere. Besides enabling research in the social sciences, the Institution also has a rich archive, the gem of which (to me!) is a collection of more than one hundred thousand…

The Mother of All Statues

“Heavy Metal Motherland.” Historian Nina Tumarkin coined this term in The Living and the Dead to describe the woman-as-nation statues that rose across Soviet republics during and after World War II. Best known and often recalled are Kiev’s “Mother Motherland” (1981) and Volgograd’s “Motherland Calls” (1967), two gargantuan figures crowning memorial centers to the Great…

40th Anniversary of an Armenian Soccer Victory

40 years ago today in 1973, history was made in Armenian soccer/football. On that day, in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the Armenian football team Ararat smashed one of the strongest teams in the entire USSR – Dynamo Kiev from Ukraine. Levon Ishtoyan kicked two goals and Armenia won the Soviet Cup 2:1. The monumental…

Soviet Armenian Political Posters

Within the past year, I have come across several Soviet Armenian political posters online.  They seem unique and possess a sort of style all their own, reflecting the distinct culture and atmosphere of Armenia and the region in agitprop art.  These are fascinating pieces of history that shed light on life inside the Soviet Armenian…