A Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 1: Women of Russia

1962, 36 min., color, DVD

Women in the Soviet Union: A Socialist Alternative

Rent or Buy small A Visit to the Soviet Union, Part 1: Women of Russia focuses upon Moscow and the work, housing, education, child care and medical facilities available to women in a socialist society. Harvey and Alice Richards wrote, filmed and produced this documentary at the height of the cold war when visiting the Soviet Union was rare for Americans. The purpose of the film was to offer positive images and information about the USSR by documenting the remarkable advances achieved in the conditions of women and children in a socialist society. Cold war propaganda and hostility made it difficult to present pro socialist ideas. The film production was arranged by the Soviet Women’s Committee as part of ongoing relationships that Harvey and Alice Richards had created by hosting several visits to the San Francisco Bay Area by Soviet Women in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.  The Soviet Women’s Committee provided interpreters, transportation and arrangements to create the itinerary of visits to hospitals, work places, homes, schools, and day care centers that are featured in the film.

This film, and Part 2: Far From Moscow, remained obscure for decades as the Cold War climaxed with the collapse of the USSR.  Yet the power of 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 years since these clips were added to YouTube, there have been over 600,000 views of these clips around the world.  Surprisingly, over 400,000 of these total views were of the Women of Russia clip alone. A wide ranging debate ensued on the channel comment section that continues to this day, showing the intense interest that still exists for creating independent social networks for women and children in the modern world.


About the Harvey Richards Media Archive: The Harvey Richards Media Archive contains a treasure of images of the political and social justice upheavals of the 1960s on the west coast and of the devastating impact of capitalist resource exploitation in western forests, and mines among other subjects.  All of his 22 films are available for streaming, downloading and as DVDs. The interest and demand for his images has continued to grow along with the interest in the legacy of the 1960’s political and cultural upsurge. Estuary Press is the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive video and photo image collections.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way by Nina Serrano and Heart Suite, a trilogy of three books of poetry by Nina Serrano. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of the social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, paulrichards@estuarypress.com or visit estuarypress.com for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com

Topics: children’s health and recreation, schools, mothers, and grandmothers in Moscow in the Soviet Union, 1960s.

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