Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic 1986: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series

In the mid-1980s the Soviet press agency Novosti released a series of small books looking the USSR's 15 republics. Each book dealt with a republic's history, culture, development, industry, agriculture, etc. They provide a fascinating look at the Soviet Union's accomplishments and plans. The series was known as the "Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union".

Over the coming months we will be taking a look at these books and the republics. The books will be slightly edited for length and repetition in some cases and the photographs and illustrations will be dispersed more evenly throughout the text.

In our two most recent posts in the series we looked at the Armenian and Azerbaijan SSRs in 1987. Written by journalist Mikhail Shimansky, this booklet looks at the Byelorussian SSR in 1986.

This installment begins with an overview of Byelorussian history and geography and then details the remarkable development and growth of the republic in the wake of the terrible devastation of the war and the Nazi occupation.

The people of Byelorussia endured unimaginable brutality and fascist depravity. Here one of the most infamous massacres, the slaughter of the inhabitants of the village of Khatyn, is looked at as well the monuments raised in its memory. One of the greatest accomplishments of Soviet socialism was the rapid rebuilding of cities, factories and the economy in the wake of what the Soviets called the Great Patriotic War. This recovery has few parallels in history given the scope of the destruction and the loss of so many citizens. The Byelorussian SSR saw nearly one-third of its population killed -- over 2,200,000 people. As is noted "Byelorussia's human losses were more than double the USSR's average and greater than in any of the 61 countries which fought in the Second World War."

Among other things profiled is the gigantic Minsk Tractor Factory that we looked at before in our post:  The Minsk Tractor Plant USSR 1970s  - Technology, International Ties and Lives of the Workers

Also notable is the look at the Berezina Biosphere Reserve as well as at the traditional folk art of the rushnik and the photo of the Yalinka puppet theatre. 

(click on scans to enlarge)

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