soviet moscow

USSR (now RUSSIA). Moscow. September 21, 1991. Soviet rock fans attend a concert. Half a million people jammed an airfield to see the Monsters of Rock concert featuring AC/DC, Pantera and Metallica at the Soviet Union’s biggest Western rock concert, touted as a gift to Russian youth for their resistance to last month’s coup.

Photograph: Massimo Alabresi/AP

USSR (now RUSSIA). Moscow. August 22, 1991. People step on the head of a statue of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka (predecessor of the NKVD and KGB), after it was toppled outside the organisation’s Moscow headquarters

Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Photograph of KV-5 prototype “Победа” shortly before it tipped over and exploded during pre-production trials, 1943. After the German seizure of Leningrad and subsequent two-pronged advance toward Moscow, Soviet industry went into overdrive, creating increasingly bizarre stopgaps as supplies of raw materials began to dry up.

The KV-5 was one of these. Intended to be a mobile artillery battery, it instead proved to be a massive failure. The first prototype, shown here, fell over during maneuver testing. Poor design of the ammunition storage racks caused the vehicle to explode, killing the crew as well as the photographer.

The second KV-5, “Родина” survived maneuver testing, but the recoil of the upper main guns broke the turret in half during weapons testing. By that time, 50 KV-5s had already been produced. Most saw success, laid on their sides, as roadblocks during the 1945 Battle of Moscow.