1962, 33 min., color
Ordinary People in the Soviet Union: Tashkent and Irkutsk
After filming in Moscow, Harvey and Alice Richards took “A Visit to the Soviet Union” to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the capital of one of the USSR’s republics. During the Soviet period, the status of women in Uzbekistan improved greatly through education and vocational opportunities that were open to them. The last stop on the filming trip was Irkutsk, on the shores of Lake Baikal, Siberia, the deepest fresh water lake on earth. Women in Siberia were interviewed at schools, hospitals and work places. In all of these locations, Soviet Women’s Committee sponsored tour and supplied representatives to accompany the film crew and provided translation services. A Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 2: Far From Moscow presents this footage showing the faces and circumstances of women and children in the Soviet Union outside of Moscow and Sochi.
A Visit to the Soviet Union remained obscure for decades as the Cold War climaxed with the collapse of the USSR. Yet the ideas of socialist cooperation to elevate the conditions of women and children remained strong even through the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of the socialist block into capitalist powers such as modern day China and Vietnam. When this web site was created in 2011, film clips from all 22 of Harvey Richards documentaries were placed on YouTube to make them available for those interested in this collection. In the two years since these clips were added to YouTube, there have been 250,000 views of these clips around the world. Surprisingly, over 170,000 of these total views were of the Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 1: Women of Russia clip alone. A wide ranging debate ensued on the channel comment section that continues to this day, showing the intense interest in the history of the Soviet Union.
Topics: Russia, Soviet Union, women, healthcare, childcare, Pioneers, 1960s.