As the USSR was busy rebuilding after World War II, an American Martin Manhoff landed in Moscow with a suitcase full of the latest photography equipment - and the skills to use it. Martin travelled throughout Russia by rail and was often accompanied by his wife Jan who recorded their memories in writing. 


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In 1954, two years after arriving, Martin Manhoff was expelled from the USSR for “spying”. After his expulsion to the US, the images Manhoff made lay hidden in a cupboard for more than 60 years. This year, after Manhoff's death, these crisp, colourful slides of Soviet life were re-discovered by a historian Douglas Smith. 

#1 A Night Shot Of Moscow

A Night Shot Of Moscow

That's the newly-constructed Moscow State University glowing on the horizon.

Douglas Smith Report

Helen McCaffrey 1 month ago

Amazing treasure

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#2 Schoolgirls At Kolomenskoye, A Former Royal Estate In The South Of Moscow

Schoolgirls At Kolomenskoye, A Former Royal Estate In The South Of Moscow

Any of these girls alive today would now be in their 70s.

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Sanchit Jain 2 months ago

I wish they are!

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#3 A Market In Crimea, A Few Years Before The Peninsula Was “Gifted” To Ukraine By Stalin’s Successor

A Market In Crimea, A Few Years Before The Peninsula Was “Gifted” To Ukraine By Stalin’s Successor

Jan wrote that the peninsula "had always been a resort area, and now when the happy workers get their holidays, the top ones get to come here."

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Lore B 2 months ago

This is how the farmer's market still looks in Romania

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#4 A Street In Central Kiev, Ukraine

A Street In Central Kiev, Ukraine

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Agnes Jekyll 2 months ago

Without the flags, it could look like Paris in the 40s

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#5 Flooded Streets In Kiev

Flooded Streets In Kiev

Jan described Ukraine as "a cleaner, more individual part of the Soviet Union... this area has certainly seen and known more than just Soviet rule."

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Kimberly Puchniarz 1 month ago

I love the automobiles!! If that's considered a "flood", can you imagine if any of them were alive today in any of the "flooded" states!!

#6 Babushka Dealings, Snapped Out Of The Window Of A Train

Babushka Dealings, Snapped Out Of The Window Of A Train

Jan said the train trips gave the Manhoffs their only chance to communicate with ordinary Russians "but here natural precaution prohibits anything but superficial talk."

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Izolda Bronstein 2 months ago

You still can buy a lot of things on the platform straight from your train. Usual are apples, smoked fish, vareniks and small pies with filling

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#7 A Rural Town Snapped From A Passing Train

A Rural Town Snapped From A Passing Train

As well as shooting images of city life, Martin, often accompanied by his wife Jan, travelled throughout Russia by rail. This image is one of several showing small town life far from Moscow.

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Silverlight Silverlight 2 months ago

Masha and the bear live here

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#8 A Parade Under The Walls Of The Kremlin

A Parade Under The Walls Of The Kremlin

When historian Douglas Smith discovered the images, he immediately realised he'd stumbled onto a rare treasure.

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Mixedupste 2 months ago

That architecture is impressive! Don't build them like that anymore

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#10 Ostankino Palace, In The North Of Moscow

Ostankino Palace, In The North Of Moscow

In Soviet days, many estates and palaces of the aristocracy were opened up as public parks.

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Kimberly Puchniarz 1 month ago

I love these photos!! A genuine look in the past. History!!