In 1929, first year of the Plan, the enthusiasm of the working masses was such that even an old specialist of ancient Russia, who spat out his spite for the Bolsheviks in 1918, had to recognize that the country was unrecognizable. Dr. Émile Joseph Dillon had lived in Russia from 1877 to 1914 and had taught at several Russian universities. When he left in 1918, he had written:

`In the Bolshevik movement there is not the vestige of a constructive or social idea …. For Bolshevism is Tsardom upside down. To capitalists it metes out treatment as bad as that which the Tsars
dealt to serfs.’

Ten years later, in 1928, Dr. Dillon revisited the USSR, and was lost in amazement at what
he saw: 

`Everywhere people are thinking, working, combining, making scientific discoveries and industrial inventions …. Nothing like it; nothing approaching it in variety, intensity, tenacity of purpose has ever yet been witnessed. Revolutionary endeavour is melting colossal obstacles and fusing heterogeneous elements into one great people; not indeed a nation in the old-world meaning but a strong people cemented by quasi-religious enthusiasm …. The Bolsheviks then have accomplished much of what they aimed at, and more than seemed attainable by any human organisation under the adverse conditions with which they had to cope. They have mobilised well over 150,000,000 of listless dead-and-alive human beings, and infused into them a new spirit.’

—  Ludo Martens, Another View of Stalin

the Growth of the Tsardom of Russia


In 1547 the 16 year old Ivan the Terrible, son to the Grand Duke of Muscowy, was wed to the Tsardom of Russia. This notion he borrowed from the Rus state which was destroyed by the Tatar Invasion of 1237. He would proceed to annex the Khanates of Astrakhan, Kazan and Sibir leaving only Crimea of what was left from the Golden Horde.

In 1721 Peter the Great proclaimed himself the Emperor of Russia to celebrate his victory in the Great Northern War. The Russian Empire thus entered European politics at the expense of the Kingdom of Sweden.

The last date on this map, 1725, is the year of his death.

The ivory throne of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia
Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Ива́н Васи́льевич; 25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Tsar of All the Russias from 1547 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 4,046,856 km2 (1,562,500 sq mi). Ivan managed countless changes in the progression from a medieval state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All the Russias.

Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan’s complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness. In one such outburst he killed his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich. This left the Tsardom to be passed to Ivan’s younger son, the weak and intellectually disabled Feodor Ivanovich. Ivan’s legacy is complex: he was an able diplomat, a patron of arts and trade, founder of Russia’s first Print Yard, a leader highly popular among the common people of Russia, but he is also remembered for his paranoia and arguably harsh treatment of the nobility.


LIST OF ROMANOV RULERS: #1 - Tsar Michael I of Russia (12 July 1596 - 13 July 1645)

“On these difficult days, a boy was brought on a sledge across the dirty March roads to the charred walls of Moscow – a plundered and ravaged heap of ashes, only freed at great cost from the Polish occupants. A frightened boy elected tsar of Muscovy, at the advice of the patriarch, by impoverished boyars, empty-handed merchants and hard men from the north and the Volga. The boy prayed and wept, looking out of the window of his coach in fear and dejection at the ragged, frenzied crowds who had come to greet him at the gates of Moscow. The Russian people had little faith in the new tsar, but life had to go on.”

28 October is the International Animation Day

Personally I love cartoons! When I was a kid we only had Russian (Soviet) cartoons on TV, plus a few from the Eastern bloc. To this day they’re my favourite. :)

Here are some of my personal favourites with English subtitles.

Last Year’s Snow Was Falling (1983)

The Mystery of the Third Planet (1981) (watch all 6 parts)

Vovka in the Never-Ever Tsardom (1965)

The Enchanted Boy (1955)

Prostokvashino (1978) (watch all 3 parts)

I hope you enjoyed these! What are your favourite Soviet cartoons?


LIST OF ROMANOV RULERS: #2 - Tsar Alexei I of Russia (29 March 1629 - 8 February 1676)

“His Imperial Majesty is a goodly person….of a sanguine complexion, light brown hair, his beard uncut, he is tall and fat, of a majestical Deportment, severe in his anger, bountiful, chastely uxorious, very kind to his Sisters and Children, of a strong memory, strict in his Devotions, and a favourer of his Religion.” - Samuel Collins of England, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich’s personal physician.


Marina Mniszech was a Polish noblewoman, a Russian Tsaritsa and a prominent warlord during Russia’s Time of Troubles. She was also known as “Marinka the witch” in Russian forklore. She was the wife of the first and second False Dmitriys, the claimants of the long murdered Tsarevich Dmitri Ivanovich of Russia. 

The portrait below shows the newly crowned Tsaritsa Marina in her coronation robes in 1606. The coronation took place in the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow and the crown of the Rurikid dynasty, the house of Tsarevich Dmitri Ivanovich, was placed on her (and her imposter husband’s) head. Marina’s husband, False Dmitri I, was shot to death after he tried to flee. Her reign as Tsaritsa lasted a mere ten months. After rejecting her title, her life was spared and sent back to Poland in 1608.

Her marriage to another imposter, False Dmitri II, was done in secret. This marriage would soon share the fate as her previous one. After the death of her second husband in December 1610, Marina Mniszech found herself a protector in the person of a Cossack leader and Marina’s third and last husband, Ivan Zarutsky, who would try to support the nomination of her son Ivan (born in January 1611) for the Russian throne. However, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia at the time, would later dub him a “little thief”.

In the summer of 1613, after having lost their supporters, Marina and Zarutsky fled to Astrakhan but with the election of Michael Romanov as Tsar, the citizens of Astrakhan wanted the pretender and his family gone from their city. In 1614 an uprising of townspeople was aimed solely at capturing the family. They fled into the steppes, to escape. The drawing is shown above of Marina and her three-year-old son battling the frigid weather while being on the run.

Near the Yaik River in May 1614, after failing to gather a support for a Cossack uprising, they would be captured by the Cossacks a month later and handed over to the new government. The little toddler was executed by hanging and one account even stated that due to the young boy’s light weight, his neck did not break during the drop but instead was slowly strangled to death. Marina died in prison shortly afterward.