Archive photos of Labor Day in the Soviet Union

RIA Novosti archive, N. Maksimov
The history of Workers’ Solidarity Day

The May 1 holiday in Russia provides a splendid opportunity to enjoy the coming spring. / 1917. May 1. Public celebration on Mariinsky Square, St. Petersburg
The history of Workers’ Solidarity Day (also known around the world as May Day, or International Workers’ Day) dates back to July 1889, when a congress of the Second International urged “the entire international proletariat” to commemorate the struggle of American workers in Chicago who fought for better labor conditions.  / 1917. May 1. Public celebration on Palace Square, St. Petersburg
In the Russian Empire, May 1 was celebrated for the first time in 1890. Seven years later the day acquired political meaning and was accompanied with mass demonstrations of workers. / 1917. May 1, Public celebration on Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg
There were public demonstrations of workers in 1901 in St. Petersburg, Tbilisi and Kharkov. Participants chanted slogans: “Down with the monarchy!” / May 1 in St. Petersburg, Palace Square, St. Petersburg
Only after the 1917 revolution Labor Day was  celebrated openly and on a grand scale. The head of the fledgling USSR Vladimir Lenin participated in demonstrations and parades, giving speeches on Red Square.    / Vladimir Lenin giving a speech. May 1, 1920, Moscow
In the 80s this day was dedicated to international workers’ solidarity. / Vladimir Lenin on an official laying of a monument “Free labor” in Moscow, May 1, 1920
During the Soviet era, May 1 was celebrated in Russia as International Workers' Day with massive Communist Party rallies / Bicycle race, May 1, 1934, Cheboksary
Organized columns of workers paraded in the streets of towns and cities, with music and political slogans relayed through loudspeakers. /  Panoramic view. May 1, 1930 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg)

Platforms were set up near the main administrative building from where war veterans,  stakhanovites and the Communist Party heads gave speeches / Parade on Red Square, Moscow, May 1, 1938, Military dog handlers on bicycles
The main parade was on Red Square in Moscow. It was broadcast on central TV with footage from events in other big cities. The last official International Workers’ Day was held on 1 May 1991 / May 1, 1958, Murmansk
In 1992, the name was changed to Spring and Labor Day, but it still remains a national holiday. / May 1 demonstration in the streets of Moscow, 1960

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