Work and Play Behind the Iron Curtain

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Nevalyashka Dolls, produced from 1958. Courtesy GRAD and Moscow Design Museum
‘It’s Time for a Grand Housewarming’, poster for a 1959 Soviet documentary on the new urban reforms. Courtesy GRAD and Moscow Design Museum
Pyramid Packaging for Dairy Products, (2009 replica), produced from 1959, Courtesy GRAD and Moscow Design Museum
‘Elektronika TS-401 M’ Television, produced since 1984, Courtesy GRAD and Moscow Design Museum
ZIL workers adding the finishing touches to a limousine, 1940s, Courtesy ZIL and GRAD
ZIL Refrigerator, 1950s, Courtesy ZIL and GRAD

As part of this exhibition of quirky objects produced in the Soviet Union, kids aged five to nine can find out about life in the USSR from the gallery's curators and take part in drawing activities and treasure hunts (Saturdays 10.30am-1pm). The show features 50 items produced between the 1950s and the 1980s that will be catnip to retro design fans: pleasingly boxy TV sets, a pyramind-shaped milk carton, weird plastic dolls and large-scale models of cars and military vehicles. Remarkably, many of the products were manufactured by a single factory ZIL, located just outside Moscow. They became part of everyday life for everyone from high-ranking officials who swanned around in the limos it churned out, to everyday Eastern Bloc Joes, whose apartments were kitted out in what would become beloved design staples like the Chaika vacuum cleaner and the Vyatka scooter.

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What happened to the other eastern European countries including east Germany? Were they not behind the iron curtain? Obviously no one would bother to visit this exhibition called e.g. "ZIL's manufacture in USSR 1950-1980" but is it an explanation? This is the clear example of how works Russian propaganda.