18 August 2011

Russian International News Agency Releases 100 Previously Unseen World War II Images

Children take shelter drawing an air raid, near Minsk, 1941, part of a largely unseen Russian archive. Now, the Russian International News Agency has an enormous archive of photographs spanning many decades, many of which have never been seen before.  It has recently committed to making part of this archive open to the public and to this end has started a project known as Eternal Values.

Above, citizens of Leningrad leave their houses after a particularly brutal bombing raid in 1942. This year the first batch (featuring Russia during the Second World War) was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for the world to share. The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, uploaded one of the pictures to Wikimedia Commons himself.  It is hoped that many thousand more will join them in the near future.

A mechanic inspects a plane while a young soldier uses a stencil to add another kill star  to its side, taken on the southwestern front in 1942. This remarkable collection is now available to be used, copyright free, by anyone. Here, we present a cross section of these pictures which give an incredible insight in to a country in a state of total war.  Many more can be found here.

September 1941 and as the war progresses, universal conscription means that women as well as men must undergo military training. Here a group of new recruits march through the streets of Moscow.

April 1942 and Leningrad is under siege.  People must dispose of the bodies of their loved ones as best they can.

Yet despite the siege there must be some light hearted moments.  Here, sailors of the Baltic Fleet play with two year old Lucy, who had recently lost her parents in a bombardment.If Lucy is still alive she will be seventy years old.

In 1941 the whole country began to fully mobilise.  Hundreds of thousands of young men were expected to go away for their military training. Many would never return to their families.

Everyone, even the young, were expected to play their part. Here, teenage students at an industrial school make shells for the army in 1942.

A Yeremenko was a battalian commander in this war. Here he is shown leading his men in to battle.

The Ukraine was hit exceptionally hard by the German onslaught.  Here, in 1941, a bewildered old man sits in the ruins of his village - attacked and estroyed by the German army.

Each section of the Soviet military had a political department.  Here the head of that section within the Central Sniper School inspects the young women who have recently been through training on the eve of their departure for the front lines in 1943.

The Red Army on the March - September 1943. They would soon be on an offensive which would take them to the heart of Nazi power in Berlin.

Communication was a vital part of the war effort. On the 1st Byelorussian Front, 48th Army, 1944. The army's newspaper Slovo Boitsa correspondent First Lieutenant Zinoviy Shkapenyuk records a report of the Sovinformburo news agency.

Propaganda too played its part. Kazan Cathedral in Leningrad was used as a facade for these massive posters in October of 1941. The Great Patriotic War would be won at all and ay costs.

Training or in the case of the Voroshilov Regiment above, retraining, was often brief. Then it was off to war where life expectancy was very short.