Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Soviet photographs from 1918
Date (inclusive): 1918
Collection number: 97.R.36
Getty Research Institute
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California 90049-1688
Abstract: A collection of 595 photographs and film stills from 1918 depicts Soviet social programs and key battles of the Civil War.
Language: Collection material in English
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Soviet photographs from 1918, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 97.R.36.
Acquired in 1997.
Processed by Annette Leddy in 1998, with the translations and assistance of Katya Yudina and David Woodruff.
Khronika no. 1 (1918), Getty Research Institute, Research Library, ID no. 1548-537.
Biographies of people featured in Soviet photographs. Please note that several sources were used to compile these biographies.
Great Soviet Encyclopedia was used, it is noted after the entry, since the information it offers is sometimes incomplete.
Avtonomov, Aleksei Ivanovich (1890-1919) WWI participant on Caucasus front. Joined Soviets in 1917. In February 1918 appointed Commander of Southeastern Revolutionary
Army; in May 1918 removed from command by decree of Third Congress of Soviets. Sent to Northern Caucasus to serve in Civil
War. Died there, presumably of typhus. (
Bonch-Bruevich, Mikhail Dmitrievich (1870-1956) Tsarist military officer who joined Red Army, becoming Chief of staff of High Command of military, second to Trotsky. In
March 1918 made head of Supreme Military Council. After 1923 engaged in scholarship in area of geodetics.
Bonch-Bruevich, Vladimir D. (1873-1955) Founding member of Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, later close associate of Lenin. Administrative officer in Soviet
government 1917-1920. Remainder of career spent in academic or publishing pursuits.
Bukharin, Nikolai Ivanovich (1888-1938) The party's leading theoretician and economist, a Left Communist. In 1918 opposed Brest-Litovsk. In 1920s supported Lenin's
New Economic Program. 1924-27 joined Stalin in the Politboro as one of the top leaders. Expelled from Politboro 1929. Executed
in 1938 after show trial.
Dybenko, Pavel Efimovich (1889-1938) Member of Military Revolutionary Committee that created the October Revolution. Played key role in the Civil War, 1918-1920.
Tried in May 1918 and acquitted of the surrender of Narva to the Germans, which occurred when he was People's Commissar for
Naval Affairs. Red Army commander from 1928 until 1938, when he was executed in Stalin's purge of the military.
Iaroslavsky (pseud. of Gubel'man, Minei Izrailovich) (1878-1943) Soviet publicist, historian, journalist. Took part in October Revolution attack on Kremlin. Became first commissar of Moscow
Military District. In 1918 a Left Communist closely associated with Bukharin. In 1920, a member of the Central Committee of
Russian Communist Party. Throughout 1930s edited and published official party histories.
Kamenev, Lev Borisovich (1883-1936) On Central Committee of Russian Communist Party, Editor of
Pravda, Chairman of Moscow Soviet, 1920-1925. Joined with Stalin and Zinoviev in opposition to Trotsky, a position he later reversed,
after suppressing the indictment of Stalin in Lenin's “testament.” Executed after Stalin show trial, 1936.
Karakhan, Lev Mikhailovich (1889-1937) A leader of October Revolution. November 1917-18 was secretary to Soviet delegation at negotiations leading to Brest-Litovsk.
In 1918-20 was Deputy People's Commissar for foreign affairs. Served as ambassador abroad to various countries. (
Krasikov, Petr Ananevich (1870-1939) After 1917, Chair of committee to combat counterrevolution and profiteering. Managed department of religion under People's
Committee of Justice. In 1933-38 was Vice-Chairman of Supreme Court of USSR. (
Krylenko, Nikolai Vasilevich (1885-1938) Supreme Commander-in-Chief and People's Commissar on Military Affaris, 1917-1918. Chief state prosecutor for major political
trials, 1918-1931. Commissar of Justice, 1931-36. Arrested in 1937 and shot without trial.
Malkov, Pavel Dmitrievich (1887-1965) In 1917 took part in storming of the Winter Palace. In 1918, was Commandant of Moscow Kremlin. 1920-22 served in Red Army.
In 1923 was transferred to economic managerial work. Retired with pension in 1954 and wrote memoirs. (
Muralov, Aleksandr Ivanovich (1886-1937) In October 1917 was Chair of Aleksin district committee. 1920-23 Chairman of Moscow Council of National Economy. USSR's People's
Commissioner of Agriculture 1933-36. (
Muranov, Matvei Konstantinovich (1873-1959) Member editorial board of
Pravda. Member of Central Committee, 1917-23. In 1922-34 member of Central Control Commission. In All-Russian Central Executive
Committee from 1934-37. Retired 1939. (
Nogin, Viktor Pavlovich (1878-1924) Important right-wing Bolshevik. In 1918 Commissar of Trade and Industry. Resigned from Central Committee in 1919 along with
Zinoviev because no other socialist parties were allowed. Later in charge of textile industry. Died during surgery for stomach
Podbelsky, Vadim Nikolaevich (1887-1920) Took part in October Revolution. Served as People's Commissar of Post and Telegraph. Helped suppress counterrevolutionary
rebellions in Moscow and Iaroslavl. (
Podvoisky, Nikolai I. (1880-1948) In 1917 member of Military Revolutionary Committee. Took part in seizure of Winter Palace in October Revolution. Held military
posts in civil war and government posts afterward, until sinking into obscurity.
Rakovski, Khristian Georgevich (1873-1941) Doctor and diplomat. In 1918 elected chairman of Ukrainian Council of People's Commissars and member of Central Committee
of Russian Communist Party. Later expelled as Trotskyist and died in concentration camp.
Rogov, Mikhail Ivanovich (1880-1942) 1917-1918 was deputy Chairman of the Moscow Soviet. In 1929 was Deputy People's Commissar of Finance for USSR. Member, Central
Executive Committee of USSR, 1934-37.
Sereda, Semen Pafnut'evich (1871-1933) People's Commissar of Agriculture, 1918-21. 1922-27 Deputy Chairman of Supreme Council on National Economy. 1927-30 Chair
of Council of People's Commissars. Member Central Executive Comittee. (
Shlikhter, Aleksander Grigor'evich (1868-1940) 1917-1919, People's Commissioner of Agriculture and People's Commissar of Foodstuffs. 1927-29 People's Commissar of Agriculture
of Ukrainian SSR. 1926-37 was candidate member of Politboro of Central Committee.
Skliansky, Efraim Markovich (1892-1925) 1917-18 Deputy of People's Committee for Naval Affairs. March 1918 member of Supreme Military Council. 1918-1924 Deputy Chair
of Revolutionary Military Council. 1924 directed work of Supreme Council on National Economy. Drowned while on official business
in USA. (
Skobelev, Mikhail D. (1843-1882) Russian general, famous for his role in Russia's expansion into Central Asia in the 1870s and his victories in the Russo-Turkish
War of 1877-1978.
Steklov, Yuri M. (1873-1941) Held prominent posts in Russian government. Wrote on history of socialism. Died in one of Stalin's purges.
Sverdlov, Iakov Mikhailovich (1885-1919) Chairman of All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets. Key figure in organization and administration of Bolsheviks.
Maneuvered to exclude all government parties not agreeing with Lenin. August 1918-March 1919, consolidated organizational
structure of party on principle of centralism. Began amassing files on party workers. Died of Spanish flu.
Trotsky, Leon D. (1879-1940) Orator, writer, and military leader. Joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 and played a key role in the October revolution. Commissar
of War, 1918-1925. Leader of the left opposition in the Soviet Communist Party in mid-1920s. Expelled from USSR by Stalin
in 1929. Assassinated by Stalinist agent in Mexico, 1940.
Events of 1918
||Invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Lenin's troops.
||Red Army formed with Trotsky as its leader.
||Brest-Litovsk treaty between USSR and Germany: Bolsheviks expelled from Ukrainian territory.
||Lenin issues decree on Removing Monuments Erected in Honor of the Tsars and Their Servants. Skobelev monument removed by May
||Transcaucasian Federation proclaims independence.
|April 29-Dec. 14:
||German-backed government rules Ukraine, led by Skoropadskyi
||First parade of Red Army on Khodynka Field. Inheritance abolished.
||Dybenko tried and acquitted.
||Decree creating food supply detachments.
||Czech rebellion begins.
||British landing at Archangel.
||Fifth Congress of Soviets.
||Uprising at Iaroslavl, ending in massacre.
||Left Socialist Revolutionaries revolt (during Fifth Congress)
||Lenin orders execution of ex-Tsar and his family.
||Compulsory military training introduced.
||Kazan goes to White Army.
||Red Terror begins; Red Army conscription begins.
||Red Army wins back Kazan.
||Official anniversary of Russian Revolution.
||Bolsheviks overthrow Ukrainian government.
||End of World War I.
||Admiral Sablin tried and sentenced to one year in prison for role in Socialist Revolutionaries' revolt.
||Rakovski established as head of Soviet Ukrainian Republic.
Scope and Content of Collection
Soviet photographs from 1918 convey the social upheaval of Russia during a transitional period when the new government was
instituting massive changes in social programs while fighting a civil war. Photographers and cinematographers employed by
the Photography and Film Committee of the People's Commissariat of Enlightenment recorded these images as they travelled through
Russia on propaganda trains, then sent their raw footage to the newsreel production studio in Moscow where it was compiled
and edited into films. A number of these images are stills from the first Russian weekly newsreel Kinonedelia (Film Week),
edited by the young Dziga Vertov in his first job in cinema.
The collection contains numerous views of mass events meant to show popular support for the leadership, such as Moscow street
demonstrations on May 1, August 11 and November 7. These feature workers marching with banners, military exercises, and major
figures such as Bukharin and Sverdlov addressing the crowds.
Images of civil war include views of monuments ravaged by bombing in Iaroslavl, Kiev and Kazan, and extensive coverage of
a major fire at a storage facility on the Moscow-Kazan railroad. There are also many views of Trotsky inspecting Red Army
troops, both at Kodynka field (Moscow) and elsewhere. Coverage of Trotsky's Kazan campaign is one of the collection's highlights,
with views of the leader traveling with sailors on the Volga, speaking to crowds in remote areas, and giving awards for distinguished
The photographs portray new social programs such as physical education camps for children, and legal institutions such as
juried trials. They also portray the dismantling, according to decree, of monuments to Alexander II, Alexander III, and Skobelev.
The Fifth Congress of Soviets is documented in views of delegates waiting to enter sessions, views of the arrival of key figures
such as Sverdlov, Bonch-Bruevich, and Trotsky, and views of Latvian soldiers standing guard following the Socialist Revolutionaries'
There are 595 photographs organized in rough chronological order. While most are 12 × 17.5 centimeters or smaller, a few are
Note: While nearly all English captions are translations of the Russian, where there is no Russian caption, an English one
has been provided if it was possible to identify the event or location.
Bukharin, Nikolai Ivanovich, 1988-1938—Portraits
Kamenev, Lev Borisovich, 1883-1936—Portraits
Krylenko, N.V. (Nikolai; Vasil'evich), 1885-1938—Portraits
Muralov, Aleksandr Ivanovich, b. 1886—Portraits
Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940—Portraits
Steklov, IU. M. (IUrii Mikhailovich), 1873-1941—Portraits
Sverdlov, IAkov Mikhailovich, 1885-1919—Portraits
Soviet Union—Red Army
Congress of Soviets (5th: 1918: Moscow)—Pictorial works
IAroslavl' (IAroslavskaia oblast', Russia)
Kinonedelia (Motion Picture: 1918)
Form and Genres of material
Film stills—Soviet Union
Vertov, Dziga, 1896-1954
Russian S.F.S.R.—People's Commissariat of Enlightenment
Great Soviet Encyclopedia, (translation of 3rd Edition, A.M. Prokhorov, Ed., 1976) New York 1979.
Jackson, George, Editor, and Robert Devlin, Assistant Editor,
Dictionary of the Russian Revolution, Connecticut, 1989.
Medvedev, Roy A.,
The October Revolution, New York, 1979.
The Russian Revolution, New York, 1990.
Revolutionary Dreams, New York; Oxford, 1989.