The General Idea of the Creation of
the Museum of the USSR
The evanescence of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics into the Lethean stream,
likely to be compared in the World history with the Rome Empire dissolution, has come as
one of the most important events of the 20-th century.
What kind of historical phenomena was the USSR? Was it a Society used to believe in
Communist ideals and its leaders and to live in self-isolation from the other entire
World? Was it a Nation used to combine more than hundred nationalities? Was it a State
with the huge territories, super military power and extreme range of violence? Was it a
Country with great achievements in the nuclear and space programmes, war industry and
How can one just imagine the dreams and achievements, trials and delusions of hundreds of
millions people, who lived in the USSR? How can one feel and realize their enthusiasm,
conformism, fear, crimes and victims? How can one evaluate the prize they have paid for
their passion to Communism?
What image does appear today in one's mind and in society as a whole in connection with
the abbreviation "USSR"? How will the USSR be represented in the minds of the
future generations? Can it be true that the name and image of the USSR used to activate
such intensive and complicated emotions - will be washed out and become insensible in
dozens of years?
The books, films and documents just alone can hardly give the entire, historically
adequate, documentary precise and humanly understandable answer to the question "What
kind of Society, Country, State was the USSR?"
The creation of the Museum of the USSR is probably one of the few ways to help to get the
proper answer. "The USSR - is our everything" as one could say, rephrasing the
famous saying about Alexander Pushkin. If "our everything" drops into the Letha,
it would be as bad, silly and immoral, as to save only the critical articles about Pushkin
instead of his portraits and works. On the contrary, "the USSR" should be
somehow identified, should become observable, visible and imaginable, by that shaping up
the right image of the USSR.
There seems to be no examples of similar Museums worldwide. Rather distant ones are
"The Holocaust Museum" in Washington, "The S.Wisental Center" in
Los-Angeles, "The Yad-Vashem Museum" in Jerusalem whose mission is supposed to
create a visual image and to keep up a historic memory about the millions of people, who
have become the Nazi's victims due to there definite ethnic origin.
In 1987 the similar task of creating of a national museum, archive and library to keep up
a historic memory and visual image about the millions of people who became the victims of
the social and political repression in the USSR was set up by "The Memorial",
but unfortunately not implemented onwards. Since that time the entire historic period has
been completed. At the moment the actual task is supposed to be the creation of the
integral museum image of what was included in nearly centenary period of the USSR
The creation of the Museum of the USSR is a task for the enthusiastic co-operation of
professionals, civil society and state bodies (not only from Russia, but also from the
former USSR Republics). To implement the project the initiative Board of Trustees of the
Museum of the USSR, including public and state chambers, should be organized.
The first step for the implementation of the above idea would be the fortnightly
exposition of the exhibition "The idea of the Museum of the USSR". The
exhibition will be held from 21 of May to 4 of June 1999, by the initiator of the project,
that is "The Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center "Peace, Progress, Human
rights". On this exhibition we suppose to present not concrete subjects or projects
(models) of the Museum of the USSR, but just the "signs", symbols of a number of
topics and scenarios of the future display.
The task of the exhibition is to initiate the first general discussion of the idea and to
wake up the public initiative for realizing several steps. They include: preparation and
opening in Moscow in 2000 a long-term and perennial exhibition of "The Museum of the
USSR" in a well equipped hall, as well as organization of the Board of Trustees of
the Museum of the USSR. Should these steps be passed, it would become possible to build a
special exhibition ground for "The Museum of the USSR" display of the order of
The curator of the exhibition "The idea of the Museum of the USSR" will be Yuri
Zlotnikov, an artist.
The Jackson Foundation and Branch Office of Andrei Sakharov Foundation in USA sponsor the
Director of "The Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center"
P.S. My special acknowledgment is paid to architector Alexander Brodsky, whose
architectural project of "The Museum of the USSR" seems to me surprisingly
strong and precise metaphor of dropping the Empire into the Lethean stream, being the
incentive origin for the creation of the Museum.