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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nikola Mihov was a prominent Bulgarian army commander at the turn of the XX century. A career officer who managed to stay clear of politics in the turbulent 1930s, he ran the country's Military Academy till 1941. In 1942 he became a defence minister in Bulgaria's Nazi-allied government. In the summer of 1943 General Mihov was appointed as one of the three regents to the boy King Simeon after the death of his father King Boris.

Just over a year later, after the Communist takeover of Bulgaria, Nikola Mihov's fate took a dramatic turn – he was arrested, taken to the Soviet Union for questioning, then returned, put on show trial in Sofia and executed together with 96 other statesmen and prominent Bulgarians. They were all shot and buried in a mass grave on 1-2 February 1945.

Lyudmila Doytchinova was Nikola Mihov's niece. She remembered vividly the day her uncle vanished.

 

Filmed in Sofia, 2008

Published in YOUR STORY

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In the Kremlin, 1980s

Kostadin Chakarov (on the right of this image) was an advisor and personal assistant to Todor Zhivkov, who ruled Bulgaria between 1954-1989. He remembers the rituals of that time and the legacy of the 9 September 1944, the day of the Communist takeover in Bulgaria.

What are your memories of the 9 September before 1989?

Споделете вашите спомени.

Published in YOUR STORY

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?

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

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Photography: © Grigory Rudko

A dacha colony just to the south-west of Moscow, in Soviet times reserved for writers and artists. Today the complex is popular with bankers and others who can afford to live there.

© Velislav Radev

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)

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