Soviet Orphanage Scene (about 1970)

Figure 1.--The early Soviet success in the Sace Race were matters of immense pride to the Russian people. This little Russian boy shows off his Yuri Gargaran doll at school Note the books about Gagaran in the background. The CCCP on the doll's helmet of course means USSR.

A Russian reader sent us this charming photograph of a little Russian boy and his Cosomnaut doll. We attemted to date the portrait and assess the clothing. Our Russian reader tells us that we were wrong in our assessment.

HBC Assessment

The little Russiab boy here wears long stockings here, not tights. Obvious because of the wrinkles. A rather bizarre mixture of the conservative beige long stockings and the sailor blouse with the "mod" plaid shorts that don't harmonize well. I think this boy is about 5 or 6 years old. Strange slippers also. HBC at first thought this was a school scene, probably Kindergarten, but on reconsideration it was probably a snapshot taken at home. This probably explains the slippers. It was quite common for children to wear slippers at home. Yuri Gagaran was the first Soviet Austrnaut, the first person in space and the first to go into earth orbit. He made his record setting flight in 1961. Thus we are guessing that the photogreaph here was taken un 1961 or 62.

Russian Reader's Assessment

No, this is not right. I would guess the photograph was taken about 1970. First - this boy wears tights, not long stockings. Wrinkles - they are because tights are of a greater size. And this "strange" mix of bigger tights, sailor blouse and "scottish" shorts, to say nothing of slippers is because it is not a home photograph. The photograph ws taken in an orphanage. It is clear as day. I know this practice - when there were one "nice" outfit for boys and one for girls to take pictures. Usually clothes in orphanages in USSR were terrible, especially in small towns, but for pictures there was a on the special outfit for their portrait. For example, there was one "nice" dress, and all girls of one age, one by one, put this dress on and been photoed. Boys - just the same.


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Created: 4:34 PM 6/5/2007
Last updated: 12:10 AM 6/8/2007