Version classiqueVersion mobile

From Communism to Anti-Communism

Andre Liebich
Svetlana Yakimovich

From the Revolution to the Comintern

After the Procession, Comintern Congress, Petrograd, July 1920

Lars Lih

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads in Russian and French: “Олимпиада в честь 2-го Конгресса” – “Olympiada” – [“The Olympic Games in honor of the 2nd Congress”]. Black and white photograph; 17.5 x 13 cm.

1By the time of this photo, the formal part of the events marking the opening of the Second Congress of the Comintern was over.

2The ceremonies had led delegates and participants from the Smolny Institute, a building that held the status of a revolutionary shrine, to the speeches in the Tauride Palace where the Congress formally began, to the procession toward the Field of Mars where delegates had deposited a giant wreath commemorating the martyrs of the Revolution. After these formalities, many of the white shirts that had been so prominent earlier on during the ceremonies, in a formal and quasi-military capacity, were now milling around in the warmth of a summer day. All the people here appear to be relaxing while waiting for the next episode in the well-choreographed festivities. There was to be a midnight show across the Neva on Vasilyevsky Island.

3The caption indicates that this photo represents a sports event, loosely described as “Olympic Games.” In fact, the Spartakiade, the Soviet alternative to the Olympic Games, was not created until 1928 and the Soviet Union first participated in the Olympic Games in 1952. There may well have been sports activities on the occasion of the Second Congress but, if so, this photo depicts spectators rather than athletes. The crowd may also have been waiting for a distribution of food and drink, as was common on such festive occasions, and a practice that was particularly appreciated at times of hardship, such as these.


Kevin J. Callahan, Demonstration Culture: European Socialism and the Second International, Leicester: Troubadour Publishing, 2010.

John Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed People, Unite! Proceedings and Documents of the Second Congress of the Communist International, [vol. 2, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time], New York: Pathfinder, 1991.

Alfred Rosmer, Moscow under Lenin, Introduction by Tamara Deutscher, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973 [1st French edition, 1951].


Volume papier
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search