What Russia was like in 1962 (PHOTOS)

Yury Gagarin and Nikita Khrushchev

Yury Gagarin and Nikita Khrushchev

Valery Shustov/Sputnik
Stalin's cult of personality was already debunked, the first man had just flown to space and the country was in the midst of the Khrushchev Thaw with hopes of a new, better life.

Below is one of the most iconic photographs of the Khrushchev Thaw - school students release pigeons into the sky after their graduation party.

And the next photo perfectly illustrates what the country looked like - the construction works here and there and new apartment building blocks neighboring old houses that soon would disappear.

Summer is here!

Nikita Khrushchev on his tour to Bulgaria, where he found out about the U.S. rockets in Turkey which caused the Cuban Missile Crisis a couple of months later.

And below is Khrushchev and cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev greeting Muscovites after the successful orbital flight of the Vostok-3 spacecraft. 

On December 1, 1962, Nikita Khrushchev visited an exhibition of avant-garde artists from the New Reality studio at the Manege in Moscow and criticized the abstract art in obscene terms…

Cars riding right on the Red Square in Moscow.

Tourists in Leningrad, the cultural capital and main tourist attraction city, taking pictures with The Bronze Horseman monument to Peter the Great.

Yury Gagarin at the shooting of the New Year show.

Since the late 1950s, the USSR supported relations with Africa: Below are foreign students photographed at the Moscow State University.

“Our truth”: A foreign student reading a Pravda newspaper.

The early 1960s marked the end of the country’s biggest library construction - the Lenin library’s new buildings opened their doors.

Generation of the 1960s and the cultural boom. Pictured L-R: Minister of Culture Ekaterina Furtseva, poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, sculptor Ernst Neizvestny.

Skiing was one of the most popular winter sports in the USSR and everyone was good at it - and still many retired people in Russia actively ski during the winter.

At the gates: kids playing hockey in Leningrad.

At a school lesson. 

Ballet class at the Moscow Pioneer Palace.

Summer holidays in Siberia.

The legendary Artek pioneer camp in Crimea.

A luxury car toy at a Soviet kindergarten (pictured with a portrait of Nikita Khrushchev).

Many people volunteered to help construct the new apartment buildings - the khrushchevkas.

While parents were busy constructing a new country, even very small kids spent their days in nursery school.

Below, powerlifter Yury Vlasov (who later would become one of Arnold Schwartznegger’s idols) sets a new record.

A ZiL truck on the conveyor line at the automobile Likhachev Plant (in 1962, the plant even commissioned a sports car!).

Shopping Soviet-style.

At sculptor Lev Kerbel’s studio. He was first of all famous for his monuments of Vladimir Lenin, as well as Karl Marx and Yury Gagarin.

May parade in Moscow.

A chess nation. Nona Gaprindashvili (on the right), mentioned in Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ TV series, is fighting for the world championship.

Chess was played in many Soviet houses.

Valentina Tereshkova training (next year, she would become the first ever woman in space).

In 1962, great children writer Kornei Chukovsky was awarded the honoris causa Doctor of Literature at the Oxford University in the UK.

Cleaning Moscow Metro’s Arbatskaya station.

Students on their way to agricultural works.

Romance of the Thaw.

People strolling past a pharmacy on a Moscow street.

Holiday fireworks dedicated to the anniversary of the 1917 Revolution.

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