End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

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 Miri-i-Arab Madrasa 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!'

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

End of Soviet Power, Bukhara 1995.

Photography © Velislav Radev

Published in Red Square

Rare footage from Crimea, 1988.

Shot by British tourists from the town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

Transferred from film Agfa Moviechrome 40 Super 8.

© MyCentury.tv

Published in Red Square

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.

001 Tatars 1989
002 Tatars 1989
003 Tatars 1987
004 Tatars 1987
005 Tatars 1987
006 Tatars 1987
007 Tatars 1987
008 Tatars 1987
009 Tatars 1989
010 Tatars 1989
011 Tatars 1989
012 Tatars 1989
013 Tatars 1989
014 Tatars 1989
015 Tatars 1989
016 Tatars 1989
017 Tatars 1989
018 Tatars 1989
019 Tatars 1989
020 Tatars 1992
021 Tatars 1992
022 Tatars 1992
023 Tatars 1992
024 Tatars 1992
025 Tatars 1992
026 Tatars 1992
027 Tatars 1992
028 Tatars 1992
029 Tatars 1993
030 Tatars 1992
031 Tatars 1993
032 Tatars 1993
033 Tatars 1993
034 Tatars 1994
035 Tatars 1989
036 Tatars 1992
037 Tatars 1989
038 Tatars 1989
039 Tatars 2004
040 Tatars 2004

Photography: © Oleksandr Klymenko

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.

Published in Red Square

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.






Published in Red Square

Soon after the introduction of martial law in Poland in December 1981 the new military leader General Jaruzelski received a warm welcome in Sofia from Bulgaria's leader Todor Zhivkov and his entourage.

Chairing a military council after the takeover, and consolidating all powers of Communist Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski intended to crush the Solidarity trade union. For ordinary Eastern Europeans military rule in Poland was presented as a necessary measure to 'protect Socialism' across the block.

With permanently damaged eyesight from his time in the Siberian Gulag (1940-42), Jaruzelski was forced to wear sunglasses most of the time, and they became his trademark.

Alongside Mikhail Gorbachev and East Germany's Egon Krenz, Wojciech Jaruzelski was the last surviving leader of a Warsaw Pact Communist state. He died on 25 May 2014 in Warsaw.

 Are you in this film? Do you remember that visit?

What's your memory of Poland's martial law?

We'd love to hear from you.


Скоро след въвеждането на военно положение в Полша през декември 1981 новият ръководител генерал Войчех Ярузелски пристига в София.

Поемайки изцяло контрол над Полша целта на Ярузелски е да унищожи независимия профсъюз Солидарност, изпраща в затвора лидера му Лех Валенса. Властите в Източна Европа представят военното положение в Полша като 'наложителна мярка за защита на социализма'.

Поради увреденото си в сибирския Гулаг зрение (1940-42) Ярузелски е принуден почти постоянно да носи слънчеви очила, които стават негова запазена марка.

Заедно с Михаил Горбачов и Егон Кренц, Войчех Ярузелски беше един от тримата останали живи бивши ръководители на комунистическа страна от Варшавския договор.Той почина на 25 май 2014 във Варшава.

Бяхте ли там през 1982? Спомня ли си някои от семейството Ви това посещение?

Какво знаете за военното положение в Полша 1981-1989?

Ще се радваме, ако споделите тези спомени.

Published in Bulgaria
May Day 1986

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.

Published in Bulgaria

May 1985 2

Bulgaria's Communist leader Todor Zhivkov at a traditional parade on the day of the Cyrillic alphabet and Bulgarian culture in Sofia, 24 May 1982.

Carefully rehearsed and meticulously orchestrated, the parades in front of the embalmed body of the ex-Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov were also an indicator of the place in the hierarchy of each member of the party nomenclatura.  While teachers, pupils and students waved obediently at Number One and his lieutenants, others were trying to spot who was in and who was out on the tribune.

There were several of these parades each year, all the way to the end 1989. Even the day dedicated to letters and culture was no exception from the military discipline of marching past Sofia's Mausoleum.

Converted from 16 mm film.
All rights to use purchased.

Published in Bulgaria

Watched closely by the Kremlin elite, the Yugoslav Communist leader Tito receives the Order of Lenin. It's an unusual piece of visual history - the renegade Marshall had to embrace Soviet customs to receive Moscow's highest award: from the 'brotherly kisses' to laying a wreath at Lenin's mausoleum.

Moscow and Belgrade fell out after after the Kremlin gave orders to crush the Prague Spring in 1968. The moment here shows their reconciliation, and this visit to Moscow in 1972 comes only months after the Soviet leader Brezhnev's visit to Belgrade.

Grudgingly, Moscow acknowledged Yugoslavia's right to chose its own way. This is the time of détente between East and West, when Tito's role in the Non-Aligned Movement became more important for Moscow than what kind of socialism he chose for Yugoslavia. It's time to bury the hatchet.

Converted from 16 mm film, silent.

Published in Balkans


Thanks to Mehmed B. for this find

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria