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Back In The U.S.S.R.: The Soviet Union In Color In 1963

Pretend you’re rummaging through an old steamer trunk in a dusty antique store somewhere. Inside the trunk, hidden amidst some old Frank Sinatra LPs and a stack of fading “National Geographic” magazines, you find a cardboard box.

You open the box and discover a stack of photographic slides wrapped in a yellowed newspaper dating to 1963. Holding one of the slides up to the light, you can just make out what appears to be Moscow's Red Square. You’re intrigued. You buy the slides for a few dollars, take them home, load them in your slide projector, and voila! That’s how we’d like to think these 24 photographs of the Soviet Union were discovered. But the truth is, we don’t know much about them.

Here’s what we do know: 1) The photographs were taken in 1963. 2) They’re in sumptuous color. 3) They mostly depict street life in the capital, Moscow, with a few from Ukraine. 4) They’re in excellent condition. 5) They were first published on the website Vintage Everyday, which agreed to share them with RFE/RL but didn’t really know anything else about them.

Here’s what we don’t know: 1.) Who took the photos. 2) The identities of the people in the photos. 3) Where we can get more.

If you know anything else about where these photos were taken, or can provide any more context, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful glimpse into Soviet life in the early ’60s. -- Grant Podelco

(Originally published April 24, 2013)