End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.
The 16th century Miri-i-Arab Madrasah defaced before its extensive renovation. It closed in 1924 and it was used as the city’s children’s library. The Madrasah re-opened in 1946 as part of Stalin’s post-war concessions to the region.
The Miri-i-Arab Madrasah was the only Islamic spiritual educational establishment in the Soviet Union.
The Austrian writer and soldier Gustav Krist was captured on the Eastern Front in WWI and ended up in Soviet Turkestan. Later on he returned to the area and in his 1937 book 'Alone Through the Forbidden Land' he recounted his visit to Bukhara - the ancient city known as Bukhara the Holy:
…The Russians were reluctant to rob it completely of an impressive epithet and is now entitled Bukhara the Noble. You may here see the Red Star or the portraits of Lenin in queer juxtaposition with the ancient text books of Sharia Law and commentaries on the Quran. The Madrasah Mir Arab is a typical example. The narrow cell of the Imam has shelves along the walls, laden with sacred books in Arabic and Kufic script, above which hangs a poster in Uzbeg which screams: 'Proletarians of all Lands Unite!'
Photography © Velislav Radev
18th May 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the entire nation of the Crimean Tatars. On this day in 1944, on Stalin's orders, they were forced to leave their homes by the Black Sea and were dumped onto the steppes of Central Asia and other places far from home.
As the USSR was collapsing, the Tatars started returning to Crimea, longing for their ancestral land. The authorities did not allow them to settle down properly and the Tatars set up camps across the peninsula. The Ukrainian photographer Oleksandr Klymenko had the rare opportunity to capture their first steps back home.
Photography: © Oleksandr Klymenko
A piece of visual history - the first photo album of the Bulgarian capital after the Communist takeover in 1944.
Most of the over 100 photographs were taken by Architect Nikolay Popov and Pencho Balkanski, both established internationally in the 1930, with exhibitions in Vienna and Belgrade.
(more to come)
Сталинское выселение народов: воспоминания очевидцев
70 лет назад - 23 февраля 1944 года в 02:00 по местному времени - на Северном Кавказе началась операция 'Чечевица' по депортации чеченцев и ингушей. Всего в 1944-м году было выселено на восток около 873 тысяч человек, а к октябрю 1948 года - 2 млн 247 тысяч. В ходе депортации и после нее погибли тысячи людей.
Российский журналист и фотограф Дмитрий Беляков в течение двух лет встречался на Северном Кавказе с участниками тех событий. Результатом этих встреч стал специальный проект - серия фотопортретов, а также свидетельства очевидцев и жертв переселения. Би-би-си публикует фрагменты этих рассказов.
This is how Chechen schoolchildren imagine the deportation of their entire nation 70 years ago.
On 23 February 1944 Soviet security forces moved into the area, and loaded hundreds of thousands of Chechen and Ingush people onto lorries, and then cattle trucks. They were moved from their homes to Central Asia and Siberia. About 700,000 people were affected across the North Caucasus, and nearly half of the deportees that freezing winter were children.
It's estimated that 170,000 to 200,000 of the Chechens alone lost their lives. That's over a third of the total Chechen population. The Chechen and Ingush who survived only started returning to their homeland after the death of Stalin in 1953.
To this day the foreign trucks used in the deportation are deeply ingrained in the collective memory – and they're shown in the drawings here. The Chechens were rounded up and loaded onto Studebakers, which were produced and supplied by the US. They were then packed into the freight carriages of trains.
48 years ago, at dawn on 21 August 1968, the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (except Romania) crossed the borders of Czechoslovakia and toppled the government of Alexander Dubček. His attempts to reform the Communist regime and aspirations of a Socialism with a human face inevitably put Prague on a collision course with Moscow. The orders from Moscow were brief - the status quo had to be preserved at any cost, the Prague Spring was doomed and the tanks rolled in.
Do you remember the Prague Spring?
Five nations sent their troops, including Bulgaria. Most of the Bulgarian soldiers went via the Soviet Union, where they were briefed. Only a few of them knew the exact destination, though they were all told that their mission was to stop a counter-revolution and prevent a West German invasion. The Bulgarian soldiers stayed in Czechoslovakia till October.
Навършват се 45 години от най-мащабната операция на български войски след Втората световна война, при това не на учение, а инструктирани за бойни действия. Призори на 21 август 1968 г. войските на страните от Варшавския договор (без Румъния) навлизат в Чехословакия. Това е краят на Пражката пролет и на опитите на тогавашния водач на Чехословакия Александър Дубчек за реформи и 'социализъм с човешко лице'.
Бяхте ли с набори 1948-1949 в Чехословакия през лятото на 1968? Знаете ли нещо от вашите родители за тези събития?
A piece of visual history – Bulgaria's leader Todor Zhivkov lays a 'time capsule' in the foundations of a Communist monument in the Bulgarian mountains.
From the original booklet for the opening of the Buzludja Memorial Complex, summer of 1981 .
As Communist Bulgaria entered the last decade of the 20th century, it prepared to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of Bulgarian statehood with suitable pomp.
One of the highlights of the celebration was the opening of a giant complex in the mountainous area of Buzludja – it was here that the foundations of Bulgarian socialism had been laid in a humble meeting back in 1891. It was later to be transformed into Lenin's model of Communism.
Buzludja was a feat of mountain engineering. The construction which included soldiers and unpaid workers, even helicopters, lasted 7 years, costing the Bulgarian state a staggering amount of money.
After the collapse of Communism in 1989 the memorial complex was abandoned, and left unmaintained. It's now partly derelict, but is still of huge importance to the successor to the Communist party, which often brings its followers to this isolated corner for morale-boosting gatherings.
The 1st May 1986, and as every year tens of thousands of Bulgarians mark Labour Day by marching past their Communist leaders in Sofia. Unknown to them, just four days previously a fire at Chernobyl had brought about world's worst nuclear disaster.
By the 1st May the fallout had reached Bulgaria. The rain falling on everyone here was highly radioactive, but the nomenclatura seem oblivious to the danger in the air.
Were you there that day? Do you or your family remember these events? We'd like to hear from you.
Първи май 1986. Десетки хиляди българи отбелязват в София "Празника на труда" с традиционен парад пред комунистическите ръководители на страната. Манифестиращите не знаят, че само четири дни по-рано пожар в Чернобил е предизвикал най-тежката ядрена авария в света.
На 1 май радиационният облак достига България. Дъждът, който вали над парада е силно радиоактивен, но на трибуната сякаш не осъзнават опасността във въздуха.
Бяхте ли там? Спомня ли си някои от семейството Ви за тези дни? Ще се радваме, ако споделите тези спомени.
Juris Podnieks was a Latvian film director. He graduated from the Moscow VGIK film school in 1975 and worked at the Riga Film Studio.
Over 3 years Podnieks filmed his documentary 'Hello, do you hear us?' as the Soviet Union was collapsing. It showed civil unrest in Uzbekistan, survivors of the earthquake in Armenia, striking workers in Yaroslavl, former residents returning to Chernobyl.
Juris Podnieks, 1990, 51 minutes
More on Juris Podnieks (1950 - 1992)