Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

From Communism to Anti-Communism

 | 
Andre Liebich
, 
Svetlana Yakimovich

Soviet Life in 1931

Fishermen in Collective Farm, Novorossiisk

Hiroaki Kuromiya

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads in French and in German: “PRESSE-CLICHÉ No. 658789. Noworossiisk. Die Fischer der Kollektivwirtschaft NARIMANOW bereiten sich zum Fischfang vor”. [Purple stamp] UNIONBILD G.m.b.H. (…)” – [“Novorossiisk. The fishermen of the collective farm Narimanov prepare to fish”]. Black and white photograph; 17 x 23 cm.

1Communism emphasized collectivism. As in agriculture, in fishery and other economic activities too, collective efforts were regarded as inherently superior and productive. Fishing collectives were thus created en masse from the late 1920s onward. This collective is one such entity in Novorossiisk, situated on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea.

2Novorossiisk, established in what was known as Novorossiya and is now in the province of Krasnodar, was an important and strategic port in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Located in an inlet of the Black Sea it was one of the country’s very few ports that did not regularly freeze over in the winter time. The name (New Russian Town) long ruled by Ottoman Turks who fortified the city, fell into Russian hands only in the first half of the 19th century. The coastline was ceded to Russia after one of the numerous Russo-Turkish wars that marked the second half of the 18th century and continued throughout the 19th century and into the First World War.

3As was true of many other parts of the Soviet Union, especially Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus (where Novorossiisk is situated), the Volga regions, and Kazakhstan, Novorossiisk was severely affected by food shortages and famine in the first half of the 1930s. Under such conditions, fishing provided an essential resource to alleviate famine in Novorossiisk as elsewhere in the Soviet Union at that time. The famine may not have been as perceptible at the time the photo was taken as it was to be within a few years when it was to ravage the entire region.

4The seven fishermen in the photo are perfectly anonymous, as befits Soviet ideological precepts. Unlike several of the other pictures in this series, however, they are all male and appear to be of mature age. Unwittingly, the photo also suggests that they are not very familiar with their task. One man is looking to his neighbor in obvious bewilderment as to how to proceed. Nor do the others seem to be sure-handed with their nets. The legend on the photo specifies that they are only preparing to work which would conveniently explain away why there are no fish in their nets. The heavy clothes they are wearing may be due to the season but, in any case, are suitable for the early morning exercise in which they are engaged. The impression of early twilight is heightened by the colors of the photo, obviously gray even on a black and white background. One would expect a boat to be waiting to take the fishermen out to sea but there is none in sight. Perhaps the fishermen are expected to wade into the waters in the tall boots they are wearing.

Bibliographie

Charles King, The Black Sea: A History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Robert W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture 1931–1933, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Table des illustrations

Légende The back of the document reads in French and in German: “PRESSE-CLICHÉ No. 658789. Noworossiisk. Die Fischer der Kollektivwirtschaft NARIMANOW bereiten sich zum Fischfang vor”. [Purple stamp] UNIONBILD G.m.b.H. (…)” – [“Novorossiisk. The fishermen of the collective farm Narimanov prepare to fish”]. Black and white photograph; 17 x 23 cm.
URL http://books.openedition.org/iheid/docannexe/image/6630/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 315k

Acheter

Volume papier

Chargement

Unavailable