Walking around Moscow it’s impossible not to see gift shops without souvenirs from the Soviet period of Russian history. Russians are very fond of their past and even well-known around the world for the Soviet reminiscents and symbolics. Understanding Moscow’s and Russian culture is impossible without understanding the country’s past. Here are some things that you can find in gift shops while visiting Russia, whose history goes way back to the Soviet Union.
Olympic bear - a classic example of late Soviet memorabilia
Soviets were really proud of all their accomplishments. They still praise them a lot in Russia, nowadays. In 1980 Moscow hosted the XXII Summer Olympics. The symbol of the Olympics was the so-called Misha (Olympic Bear). During the closing ceremony, the 6-meter tall bear waved to the audience and flew away with a bunch of balloons. This bear became the symbol not only of the Olympics but also of Russia. There are a lot of souvenirs somehow representing this event.
Communist memorabilia depicting Soviet leaders
Soviet Leaders didn’t have a limit on their rulings, most of them stayed on the reigns till their deaths. They had to be respected and praised by regular working people. It was forbidden not to look up to or respect the ruler. Every household or at least public place ought to have the leader’s portrait. Therefore, rulers portraits now are pretty popular souvenirs. You can find them in different forms in different places. Do you want a “matryoshka” ( Russian doll that opens up and has smaller dolls inside) with Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Leonid Brezhnev? That’s totally not a problem for the Russian gift shops market. However, there are less extravagant gifts. It’s more than real to find some retro socialism posters or t-shirts with Soviet symbols - the hammer and sickle.
Young Pioneers USSR memorabilia
Being a Pioneer in the Soviet Union was very honorable and praised. All of the middle-schoolers were looking forward to becoming one. The Pioneer Movement is similar to scouts' organizations with communist ideas in mind. Pioneers had to always wear the red tie and pioneer's badge with Soviet symbols with their school uniform. Sometimes they would also wear a special field cap. Pioneers were an inseparable part of USSR culture. They were shown in many popular movies and cartoons like Cheburashka and Crocodile Gena.
Back to USSR Soviet Union memorabilia for sale
Some of the things from Russian gift shops are actually a vivid representation of Soviet reality: they remind of some household things people used to do only then and only there, some traditions and fun activities that were popular in the area. For example, you can come across “avos'ka” - a string-bag people in Russia used for groceries, a Rubic's Cube that Russians used to solve for fun, variety of glass-holders. You can even still buy “Krasnaya Moskva” (Red Moscow) - the most popular first Soviet-made perfume. Visit Izmailovsky Souvenirs' Market to find all of these things and more.
Soviet Union memorabilia - a full guide