What Russia was like in 1971 (PHOTOS)

Brezhnev’s stagnation, relative stability and no changes. What else this year meant for Russian and Soviet history, what people looked like and what was happening on the streets of the USSR.

This time is often referred to as the Era of Stagnation, which happened when Leonid Brezhnev was in power - the late 1960s, 1970s and up to the mid-1980s, when perestroika took over. Academic and dissident Andrei Sakharov referred to this as “relative material well-being and mass indifference.” Gulags and mass killings were gone, people didn’t risk their lives anymore. However, there was still no freedom of speech and people could be punished for being in opposition.

The Space Program was still on the agenda and the USSR conducted 92 space launches in 1971, working on Lunar and Mars exploration. However, the Soviet Union was not at its highest industrial pace anymore and the quality of high-technological production was deteriorating. The country did, however, have a certain economic stability, thanks to oil production and export. At the same time, people’s lives were not improving.

Leonid Brezhnev’s meeting with East Germany’s leader Erich Honecker. Another famous photo of them kissing was later enshrined as an art piece on the Berlin Wall

The Soviet interplanetary station Mars 3 launched on May 28, 1971

An oil worker posing in Siberia

Gas pipes

The USSR national hockey team, who became world champions in 1971

Gorky (now Tverskaya) Street in downtown Moscow. The banner says ‘Glory to the Communist Party’

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of World War II beginning, a memorial complex was opened in the Brest fortress

A war participant waving during the Victory Day celebrations

The 1970s marked the rise of unofficial Soviet art

Pictured: people attending a one-day exhibition of artist Oleg Tselkov, who later was forced to leave the USSR

The Soviet space control-monitoring ship ‘Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin’ was launched on water in 1971 and was the world biggest research ship at the time

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of Russia’s most famous dissident authors

His book about the Gulag was the first to be allowed by Soviet authorities. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Prize and, in 1974, was forced to leave the Soviet Union.

Workers at a Soviet car production factory

Apartment building construction

Pedestrians enjoying a spring day in Moscow

The Physical Culture Parade on the Red Square

The Soviet Union’s chess champion, Leningrad student Irina Levitina pondering her next move

Morning in a Soviet collective farm

The Labor Day parade on the Red Square

The Russian Orthodox Church Council waiting for a new patriarch to appear

Famous Soviet actor Yury Nikulin talking on the telephone in his apartment

Two female workers at a synthetic fiber plant. Another five-year plan for the Soviet economy had just started 

Two men at a banya, a timeless Russian leisure

A soccer game between USSR and Spain in Moscow

Two workers washing the Lenin’s portrait at a collective farm

Workers on a break enjoying the first snow

The U.S. human rights activist Angela Davis (right) meeting Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (left), who was also the Soviet women’s committee head

Mali leaders S.Jomban (left) and K.Karamoko attending the 1971 May Day demonstration on the Red Square, in Moscow

A couple enjoying the White Nights in Leningrad

A boy playing soccer in a Moscow courtyard

People busy on subbotnik, an unpaid weekend work for cleaning the streets after winter

A celebration of a soccer tournament final game in the Urals

Ballerinas having a break during their training class

The 1970s saw the mass emigration of Soviet jews into Israel

Pictured: Famous biologist Boris Zukerman and friends posing before his departure.

A Soviet TV show filming

People enjoying the summer on the bank of Siberian Irtysh River

Girls posing on a swing in a park

Students learning in a school

A father and his sons decorating the tree on a New Year’s Eve

A couple strolling outside an apartment block in Moscow

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