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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Stalin era building, May 1 International Worker's Day holiday congratulations; Moscow, 1953

Lower: Western advertising is introduced to Russia. A Cadbury's fruit and nut chocolate billboard in front of the same 1940s, Stalin era building; Moscow, 1995.

Image Correlation: The irony of history. The pictured building, which was constructed during the height of Joseph Stalin's rule, was used to project an image of a powerful communist utopia. Decades later, communism collapsed, only to make way for the very kind of capitalism it was said to be resisting.

Today, Russia is a major force in the globalization process. This has forced difficult choices amongst European Union countries, particularly Germany, in respect to the series of sanctions levied since the stand off between the two countries over the war in Ukraine.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Forward to Communism” with the communist party program in hand, Moscow, Casualty of capitalism.

Lower: A Soviet era pensioner struggles during the economic shock period of the 1990s with the abrupt introduction of Western consumerism overtaking communist central planning of the prior 70 years. The McDonalds sign reads " Taste of the Season"; Moscow, 1995.

Image Correlation: Two distinct economic systems prevailing in the same exact location, though years apart. This dichotomy amplified a social collision for certain segments of the population, particularly in the years immediately after the collapse of the Soviet system. As there was no guidebook provided for people accustomed to government subsidies, having to suddenly rely on individual economic incentive for many became overwhelming.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: May 1 Congratulations for International Workers Day; (Socialist Worker's Holiday) 1958

Lower: Soviet era and recently introduced Western values collide with Stalin in a tailor shop alongside a gambling and striptease casino, Gori, Georgia, 2009.

Image Correlation: Social values fluctuated greatly with end of the Soviet era. The idea of a communist utopia, free of inequality, greed and exploitation, was turned on its head with the rapid infusion of Western consumer culture and economic chaos that followed the collapse Soviet Union.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Soviet MiG-15, “The Jet that Shocked the West” 1950

Lower: Saakashvili Era Military Parade in Tbilisi, Georgia. During his 7 year rule (2004-2011), the pro-Western president showcased Georgia as the fastest growing post-Soviet democracy. Tbilisi, Georgia, 2007.

Image Correlation: The use of military might by both Eastern and Western oriented leaderships to project their ideological and political formidability. Despite existing in different eras, and under different ideological and political circumstances, the essential public relations strategy remains the same between the Soviet Union and capitalist independent Georgia.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Boys fantasizing about their future war stories, 1961.

Lower: A young boy’s military dreams; Tbilisi, Georgia, 2007.

For the young male, the fantasy for the glory days of war without yet having had the experience appears in several cultures worldwide. Here it is represented with Soviet era illustrations and through the eyes of a child at a Georgian military parade.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Glory to the Soviet Armed Forces; Moscow, 1968

Lower: All leaders become future history; the Putin era is not over; Tbilisi, Georgia, 2013.

Image Correlation: How Russian history from the early 21st century will be perceived in the distant future. Putin's administration is said to be heavily influenced by the Soviet past. The question then remains, what influence will Putin have on future Russian leaderships?

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Late Soviet period, Gorbachev political pin reads-"Perestroika, Glasnost"; or "restructuring and "public openness", 1988.

Russian military elite attending banquet in the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. Gagra, Abkhazia, 2005.

Image Correlation: Symbols from the late Soviet period above, coincide with a seeming perpetuation of the Soviet era in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, on the northwest coast of Georgia years later. Abkhazia was the second territory annexed by Russia after the 2008 war and has cultivated close ties against the rancor of the Georgian authorities.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: 50 years of the USSR Armed Forces, 1967

Lower: Former Russian base until 2001; Vasiani, Georgia, 2003.

Image Correlation: An extended generation of prevailing missile diplomacy between East and West is illustrated through a Soviet period magazine and 1960s postcard. While below, remnants from the Cold War remained until the withdrawal of Russian bases from Georgia started in 2005.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: End of WWII 1945, Victory Day (Soviet Perspective).

Lower: Protesters gather in front of Stalin's birthplace. Georgian signage reads "Down with capitalism, give factories to working people, give jobs"; Gori, Georgia, 2011.

Image Correlation: A postcard and black & white photo celebrating Stalin provides a perspective regarding the Soviet WWII victory, while the image below shows present day demonstration by protesters in front of his boyhood home; now a museum.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Glory to Soviet Soldiers, Moscow, 1966

Lower: A Russian bunker with a Georgian weapon in the foreground. At the border of Russian-occupied South Ossetia. Dvani, Georgia, 2011.

Image Correlation: A Mid-1960s Soviet military parade in Red Square offers an idealized image projecting a feeling of camaraderie and unity while, decades later, two former Soviet peoples turn their guns on each other as Russian and Georgian forces face off over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: 1917 October Revolution commemoration postcard and a newspaper clipping describing the Gorbachev-Bush/Baker-Shevardnadze meeting at the Helsinki Summit in September 1990

Lower: Russian checkpoint, South Ossetia-Georgia border, 2005.

Image Correlation: The fluid, ironic nature of history as former allies become enemies and old antagonisms reappear in different forms. The upper images represent two pivotal eras in Soviet history: the October revolution, which created the Soviet Union, and the 1990 US-USSR talks, which help set the groundwork for the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Pictured in the newspaper clipping is Eduard Shevardnadze, foreign minister under Mikhail Gorbachev and later the president of post-Soviet Georgia. Years later, the close history shared between Georgians and Russians would be tested as Russia and Georgia faced off over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Three years after the lower photo was taken, war broke out over the contested region. The Russia-Georgia conflict was one of a series of clear illustrations of the reemergence of US-Russia geopolitical tensions, as the United States supported Georgia in the 5-day conflict.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Glory to the armed forces, 1975 and 40 Years USSR (rear); 1957

Lower: Billboard reads “Putin Our President”; Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, 2006.

Image Correlation: An iteration of history (upper) reflects the vestiges of a former empire, which have since reappeared in modern times with emblems of a reinvigorated Russian nation (lower).

This billboard appears in South Ossetia, a territory recognized by the Western international community as part of Georgia. However, Russia has openly supported the independence of the territory and even went to war to maintain it in August 2005. Since then there have been rumors of a full Russian annexation of the region.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Ukraine, October Glory (1917 Revolution) – 1963

Lower: Citizen registering to vote in Ukraine with passport document. May ,2014.

Image Correlation: The patriotism once encouraged by the Soviet system reemerges in the form patriotism for one's independent, former-Soviet state. The pictured elections followed months of protest and upheaval in Ukraine, which led to the ousting of a pro-Moscow leadership and the eventually election of a pro-Western administration opposed to Moscow.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Original WWII era Soviet Map approaching Kiev; 1952 card -“For Peace”.

Lower: Central Kiev protests, 2005

Image Correlation: The concept of peace and optimism through the eras. In different contexts, times, and manifestations, the hope for peace prevails.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Global Provocation; October Glory (Ukrainian) 1980.

Lower: Georgia aspires to join NATO; Tbilisi, 2007.

Image Correlation: Metaphorically, Putin provokes Obama alongside an orange and black St. George ribbon associated with Soviet WWII war veterans, which has since been adopted by pro-Russia separatists as a symbol of military valor in eastern Ukraine.

The 1980s Ukrainian postcard represents the idea of "friendship between nations". That idea was tested by Georgia and Ukraine's bid to join NATO and the resulting tensions with Russia, represented in the lower photo.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: War Is Over? - Glory to the Great October, 1965

Lower: Property owners cut off by Russia's expansion of South Ossetia's borders into Georgia proper. The expansion happened during the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. South Ossetia ABL (Administrative Boundary Line), 2013.

Image Correlation: A 1980s newspaper featuring images of the highest ranking Soviet awards; Order of Lenin, Order of October Revolution, Red Banner of Labor displays next to the headline, War is Over? Below, razor wire demarcates property as a result of a military campaign to further annex deeper into Georgian territory as unstable borders and unresolved Russia-Georgia policy issues continue into present times.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: No Tolerance for Weaponry, “Peace”; 1961

Lower: European Union-Georgian-Russian-South Ossetian negotiations in no-man's-land between Georgian-Russian annexed borders; Ergneti, Georgia, 2011.

Image correlation: An early 1960s call for peace through arms reduction on a Soviet postcard (upper) amplifies the irony of an intractable situation over 50 years later. “Peace” negotiators take place in the lower photo while the unresolved aftermath of the Georgian-Russian war of 2008 perpetuates unstable on-the-ground conditions.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: Postcard-Glory Soviet Armed Forces, 1965, document-the Commemorative Medal-50 years Liberation of Ukraine; Crimea Map; 1955.

Soviet Era Tribute; Samegrelo, Georgia, 2000

Image Correlation: Elements of the current Ukraine conflict have historic attributes stemming from decades earlier, as the justification for each side’s present directives find their justification in different interpretations of a shared history. The now gone Soviet era mural (lower) found in a remote region of Georgia attests to the permeation that the former empire once attained. The historic precedent, which can remain invisible, runs deep in the collective psyche and becomes the fulcrum for determining which alliance a region moves towards; sustaining relations with Russia or moving towards the Western driven market.

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Postcards from the Soviet Union
Moscow, Russia
By Steve Weinberg
16 Apr 2015

Upper: A New? Cold War (German) Putin-Merkel standoff, 2015.

Lower: Brezhnev statue with original period artefacts relocated to an outlying park after collapse of the Soviet Union; Moscow, Russia, 1995.

Image Correlation: Poignant news dispatches describing incessant military escalations between Russian and Ukrainian forces have inadvertently upset the post-Cold War international order amongst American, European Union and Russian governments. History is currently being choreographed towards an open-ended denouement while Putin and Merkel seem to spar amidst strands of artifacts from the Berlin Wall and a monument to honor Soviet "hero-pilots." Could the frozen Moscow park during winter imply a reoccurring cold war scenario upon the world once again?

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Armenians in Baku Games 13
Tsakhadzor, Armenia
By lordcob
15 Apr 2015

Taekwondo champion Armen Yeremyan, takes a break in the restaurant of the high-altitude training centre in Tsakhadzor, Armenia. He sits with his with his trainer, and his Iranian sparring partner. Armen used to be good friends with a Taekwondo athlete who plays for Azerbaijan until his friend told him that he was forbidden to speak with him. These days, when they meet at international competitions, they merely nod at each other.

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Armenian 'Genocide' Survivors 100 Yea...
Yerevan
By Lorenzo Perrelli
14 Apr 2015

Armenia

April 24, 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. This collection of footage interviews some of the few remaining survivors of the genocide from their homes in Armenia. The interviews come at a time when Armenia and Armenians around the world are preparing to commemorate the centennial of the genocide. The commemoration is being help with the hope of keeping the fragile memory of the genocide alive and gaining recognition of the tragedy from Turkey and the international community.

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Armenians in Baku Games 08
Abovyan, Armenia
By lordcob
14 Apr 2015

Sambo champion Ashot Danielyan, during a training for Baku with the Armenian National Team in Abovyan, Armenia. Ashot was born in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. During a recent medal ceremony in Moscow, his Azerbaijani opponent squatted in protest during the national Armenian anthem. Sambo, a mixture of judo and wrestling is common in post-Soviet countries and has its origins in the Red Army.

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Armenians in Baku Games 09
Baku, Azerbaijan
By lordcob
13 Apr 2015

Greco-Roman wrestler Arsen Julfalakyan is served lunch during a training camp in Yerevan.In addition to sports, Julfalakyan is also completing a PhD in International Relations and speaks four languages, including Turkish. He is boycotting the European Games in protest at Azerbaijan'€™s human rights record. In addition, he has bad memories of his previous visit to Baku in 2007 where security was too overbearing, and the audience hostile.

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Armenians in Baku Games 04
Yerevan; Armenia
By lordcob
10 Apr 2015

Armenian shooters train at a range in Yerevan underneath a poster of Nagorno-Karabakh surrounded by photos of war veterans. The region is currently a de-facto independent state, not recognised by any countries in the world and supported by Armenia. The territory is considered by the international community as part of Azerbaijan.

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Armenians in Baku Games 01
Yerevan, Armenia
By lordcob
03 Apr 2015

Albert Azaryan, 86, observes one of his pupils at his eponymous gym in Yerevan, Armenia. Azaryan is a sporting legend of the Soviet era, in a time where it was harder for smaller republics of the Union to shine. Thanks to the strength he gained working as a blacksmith in Kirovabad (currently Ganja, Azerbaijan), he was the first gymnast to win two consecutive medals for rings. The incredible contortion of his signature ‘Azaryan cross’ move has never been copied, though many try.

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Meskhetian Turks: 70 years of exile
Sajavakho-Chokhatauri-Ozurgeti-Kobuleti
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

During the Second World War, the Soviet Union deported around 100,000 Muslims from southern Georgia to the remote republics of Central Asia. The vast majority of them were from the Turkic Meskhetian ethnic minority, also known as Meskhetian Turks.

While no official reasons were given for their deportation, many researchers argue that under Joseph Stalin’s rule the Soviet government was suspicious about the Meskhetian Turks of the mountainous Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakhet bordering Turkey, an undeclared ally of Nazi Germany.

Within a few days in November 1944, tens of thousands of people had to collect their belongings and move to Central Asia in cargo trains, with many of them dying during the trip that lasted for several weeks. They were settled in the Soviet Union’s central Asian republics during the harsh winter, in settlements from where they were not allowed to leave.

In 1956, three years after Stalin's death, Meshkhetians were granted the right to settle anywhere in the Soviet Union, except for Georgia. More than 60 years after their deportation, a few families managed to return to their homeland.

Some Meskhetians moved to Azerbaijan in 1958, in the hope of being as close to Georgia as possible. The very close similarity between the Meshkhetians’ language and customs on the one hand, and the language and customs in Azerbaijan on the other, helped them to blend in the Azerbaijani society easily.

Others went to Russia in the 1970s, while a small group of them managed to settle in Western Georgia in 1977. In the beginning of the 1990s, several groups of Meskhetians living in Uzbekistan moved to Turkey due to ethnic violence in the Fergana Valley. In 2004, a few thousand Meskhetians emigrated from Russia to the USA, where their number has grown to nearly 18,000 since then.

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Shirinbeili, azerbaijan
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

Rana Rajabova, a 24-year-old bride form the Azerbaijani village of Shirinbeili, prepares herself for her wedding. Rana'€™s grandparents, natives of the Arali village in Georgia'€™s Adigeni region, were deported to Uzbekistan during the Second World War.

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Kutaisi-Baghdati-Abastumani-Benara, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

Meskhetian elders gather after their Eid-ul-Fitr (Ramazan Bayrami) prayer in Abastumani, Georgia. Most of them were teenagers when they were deported from Georgia in 1944 but they were able to return after more than 60 years.

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kant, kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

Two girls whirl under plates of sweets during a wedding ceremony in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. According to tradition, this ritual brings prosperity to the new couple's life. The plates are usually layered with candies, cookies, apples, and a piece of butter bread called Kete topped with a lit candle.

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Октябрьская, Kant, Kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

One of the groom'€™s best men dances with knives around the bride, jokingly asking gathered people: "€œshould we cut bride's tongue or head?"€ The regular answer is "tongue," which implies that the new wife and daughter-in-law should be obedient. The best man then takes the piece of folded cloth off the bride'€™s head using the knives, signifying that she is officially married.

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Октябрьская, Kant, Kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
17 Oct 2014

Portraits of Abdullah Gamidov, his wife Khalida, and her father Zia Chumidze lie on the checkerboard in the Emil Gamidov'€™s house in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. Zia Chumidze died while fighting on the frontline during the Second World War.

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abastumani, georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Ali Mekhriev poses next to the remains the mosque in Abastumani, Georgia. The mosque has been used as a cowshed for the past few decades because returning Meskhetians do not have the means to rebuild it. They conduct religious services at home.

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nasakirali, georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

A Meskhetian woman stands outside her house in the village of Nasakirali, Georgia. The Soviet government deported around 100,000 Meshkhetians from Georgia during the Second World War, but some managed to return to their native areas in the 1970s.

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Istanbul, Turkey
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Meylan and Jihangir’s' (left and middle) grandparents were deported from Georgia to Central Asia, but they had never met until they both moved to Istanbul to study at Boğaziçi University where they became friends with Kagan from Turkey (right). The three often meet and chat in the campus park, which overlooks the Bosphorus ,or play basketball.

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abastumani, georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Salim Khamdiev, originally from the village of Abastumani in Georgia, was 14 when he was deported to Uzbekistan. It was after more than 60 years of exile that he was able to return to his hometown.

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medrese, azerbaijan
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

A man from the Meskhetian community gathers donations on Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of fasting, at the mosque in the village of Medrese, Azerbaijan.

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kant, kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Ramzila Partova, a woman from the displaced Meshkhetian community, wipes her teary eyes on her daughter's wedding day. Kant, Kyrgyzstan

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Medrese, Azerbaijan
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Khalisa Sardarova, 16, serves tea to her future father-in-law (left, holding a cell phone) under her father's supervision. Usually, the groom'€™s father visits the future bride's family a few months before the wedding. During that time, the bride becomes part of her future husband's family but the groom cannot see her until the wedding day. Medrese, Azerbaijan.

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Kutaisi-Baghdati-Abastumani-Benara, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

With the help of his old tractor, Alikhan Kuradze pulls a carriage filled with his family's belongings as they move to Abastumani, Georgia. It took the 76-year-old and his family almost seventy years to achieve their lifelong dream of returning to their native village. In 1944, Kuradze was nine years old when he was deported to Central Asia.

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Октябрьская, Kant, Kyrgyzstan
By TemoBardzimashvili
16 Oct 2014

Emil Gamidov, 70, walks out of the room in his house in Kant, Kyrgyzstan as his wife holds the portraits of her parents, who were deported from Atskuri village in Gerogia. Gamidov was only three years old when he was deported from Georgia to Kazakhstan. Many years later, he moved to Bishkek to pursue his graduate studies. He still lives in Kyrgyzstan.