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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands -- A Trip to the Soviet Far East, 1973

May Day Festival 1973

At the end of the Second World War with the defeat of Japan the Soviet Union took full control of Sakhalin Island (which is the largest island in Russia) and the Kuril Islands in the northern Pacific. These became important to the USSR both economically and militarily.

Published in 1973 this postcard folder has a variety of views of the islands as well as of its major city, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk which had around 100,000 inhabitants at the time. The cards are in Russian and were aimed at a domestic audience. Much of the islands were off-limits to non-Soviet citizens.

The cards show some of the area's exceptional natural beauty as well as unsurprisingly focusing on the fishing and maritime industry. The photo of Gagarin Park in the center of the city is remarkable.

One of the photos is of the region's Orbita Station. Orbita Stations were part of the Soviet Union's remarkable technological achievement of building the world's first national satellite TV network in 1967. It allowed people living throughout the Soviet Far East to receive live television signals.

Sadly the region has seen a massive rise in crime, inequality and environmental degradation due in large part to the penetration of multinational and oligarchic business interests after the overthrow of socialism and the restoration of capitalism.

We have translated all the card descriptions from the original Russian.

Monument to V.I. Lenin / Festive demonstration on V.I. Lenin Square

Order of Lenin on the banner of the Sakhalin Region /

Stella with the text of the Decree on the award of the Order of Lenin to the region

City Executive Committee

Gagarin Park

Sakhalin autumn

On the Pacific coast / City of Korsakov, New House of Culture "Ocean"

Festival of the Peoples of the North

Orbita Station / Fishing flotilla near the island

Boiling Lake, Kunashir Island

Fish wealth of Sakhalin

"Poachers" / Spawning



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