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How a French winemaker sent a thousand bottles of champagne to Soviet designers for the New Year, what the Tsvetaev family’s Christmas tree smelled like and where a cotton Christmas tree toy in the form of a radish came from in the Gulag History Museum.

The funds of Moscow museums contain many items related to the New Year and Christmas. Read about the most interesting exhibits in a joint article by and the Mosgortur agency.

Space Museum. A bottle of special champagne

In 1957, when the first artificial satellite appeared on Earth’s orbit, not all earthlings believed in further success in space exploration. One of the skeptics, a French winemaker named Henri Maire, even argued with the Soviet consul that humanity would never see the other side of the moon. The Frenchman put a thousand bottles of champagne on the line. Just two years later, he had to admit defeat.

In October 1959, the Soviet automatic station “Luna-3” flew into space, which sent the first images of the back side of our planet’s natural satellite to Earth. Having learned about this, the winemaker decided to give a well-deserved prize to the winners. He turned to the USSR embassy in France and asked for the names of those who prepared the Luna-3 for the flight. Due to the strict secrecy of the Soviet space program, he was denied this information and was advised to send the bottles to the address of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

The package from the French winemaker arrived at its destination safe and sound, and soon the champagne was transferred to the Special Design Bureau (OKB-1). On December 31, 1959, at a festive meeting with the OKB employees, Sergei Korolev handed the people responsible for the launch of Luna-3 two bottles of the French drink each. “To bring home in the evening for the family New Year’s celebrations French champagne, received as a gift for the moon, – you must admit, not everyone is given,” he recalled in his book “Rockets and People. Fili – Podlipki – Tyuratam “Soviet scientist Boris Chertok.

Today one of the bottles is on display at the Museum of Cosmonautics. The daughter of Sergei Korolev Natalia donated it to the museum collection in 2019. Discover other interesting stories about the exhibits can be found at the online exhibition “Museum of Cosmonautics in Detail. Storytelling on behalf of the exhibits ”.

House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva. New Year’s letters to relatives

In the Tsvetaev family, Christmas and New Year were among the most beloved holidays. Waiting for the cherished days began immediately after the first snow. Anastasia Tsvetaeva recalled:

“An irreplaceable tree! In the snow – almost brighter than the sun – the illuminated hall, running down the steep stairs, past the amber slits of the covered humming furnaces – we whirled, repeating the suddenly flashing word. How it crunched with the hidden radiance of its multi-colored “r”, “g”, “d”, with its “tv” branches. The tree smelled of tangerine, hot wax, and a long-extinct, forever, grandfather’s cigar.

For those whom it was impossible to congratulate personally, the Tsvetaevs wrote letters. The House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva contains a message that 15-year-old Marina Ivanovna sent in December 1907 to her great-uncle and aunt, Elena and Ivan Dobrotvorsky.

“How are you doing there? Are they covered with snow? Today Ilyusha and I bought a Christmas tree, a little bald on one side, but still bearable. We put it in our room, or rather in the one where our bookcase is. Will you have a Christmas tree? Does Andrey skate a lot? Aren’t those who meet him scared? We often remember you here and sincerely envy you … I sincerely wish you happy holidays and all the best for the New Year, ”wrote Marina Ivanovna.

The Dobrotvorskys lived in Tarusa, where the head of the family served as a zemstvo doctor. By the way, it was at the invitation of Elena Alexandrovna and Ivan Zinovievich that the Tsvetaevs first visited this town, which played a major role in the life of Marina Ivanovna.

You can learn more about the celebration of the New Year and Christmas in the Tsvetaev familyat the New Year’s exhibitionf “Moscow – Snow – Christmas”, which is open on the website of the House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva.

Museum-reserve “Tsaritsyno”. Three Porcelain Snow Maidens

One of the most valuable New Year’s exhibits in the museum’s collection is the work of the famous artist Alexandra Shchekatikhina-Pototskaya “Snow Maiden”, created in 1923. Alexandra Vasilievna studied in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg at the drawing school at the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of Arts with Nicholas Roerich and Ivan Bilibin (he later became her husband). The artist created sketches for costumes for Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, for the operas The Snow Maiden by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Rogned by Alexander Serov, for Russian Seasons by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris. According to the sketches of Alexandra Schekatikhina-Pototskaya, paintings of many products were made at the State Porcelain Factory (formerly the Imperial Porcelain Factory) in Petrograd, but the artist was best known for agitation porcelain.

The sculptural composition based on the fairy tale play by Alexander Ostrovsky “The Snow Maiden”, created by the sculptor Nina Polynskaya in the early 1950s, looks miniature in the photograph, but in reality its height is about half a meter. Polynskaya collaborated with several porcelain factories (Dmitrovsky, Dulevsky, Riga, Gzhel) and worked in both small and large forms. According to art critics, in the works of Nina Pavlovna one can find the influence of Meissen porcelain sculpture, the art of the Italian Renaissance and Russian ceramics of the Art Nouveau era.

But another vision of the image of the granddaughter of Santa Claus, more textbook, is the work of the artist Sofia Velikhova in 1956. The heroine is dressed in a white coat with golden snowflakes. This is how the Snow Maidens looked like, who could be met on New Year’s Eve in kindergartens and schools in the Soviet Union. Next to her are forest birds, hares and squirrels – a reminder of how kind and sweet the Snow Maiden is.

Museum of the History of the Gulag. Christmas tree toy “Radish”

In January 1937, Irkutsk mechanical engineer Lev Esterkes was arrested on suspicion of counter-revolutionary activities. In May, his wife Natalia gave birth to a son. Little Valera did not have time to get to know his dad – in October of the same year, Lev Abramovich was sentenced to capital punishment. Soon after the execution of the sentence, Natalia Alexandrovna was arrested. Together with her five-month-old son, she was placed in prison, and on December 10, 1937, she was sentenced to eight years in the camps. Punishment Natalia Esterkes first served in ALZHIR – Akmola camp for the wives of traitors to the Motherland, and in 1938 she was transferred to Kargopollag. During the years of imprisonment, Natalia Alexandrovna worked in a hospital.

Valera lived with his mother until the age of seven, after which he was assigned to a children’s home. Natalia Alexandrovna was able to pick up her son in 1945 – after her release, and in 1955 she was completely rehabilitated.

Many years later, an adult Valeriy Esterkes talked about preparing for the New Year in the camp.

“I remember how they made toys for the Christmas tree. Refined. Planes were cut out of X-ray films, some of them were hung up. Mom made toys out of cotton wool: mushrooms, radishes and painted them. I have one such radish in my Christmas tree decorations – I always wear it. “

Today this Christmas tree toy, made by Natalia Esterkes, is kept in the Museum of the Gulag History.

Memorial Museum of A.N. Scriabin. Composer’s postcard

At the beginning of 1904 the famous composer Alexander Scriabin left the Russian Empire and settled in Switzerland. The musician missed his family very much and often wrote letters to them. In the funds of the A.N. Scriabin keeps a postcard that the composer sent to his relatives on the eve of 1905.

In a postcard dated December 30, 1904 (January 12, 1905 – in a new style), which depicts one of the main attractions of Geneva – the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, Scriabin wrote: “Happy New Years to dear grandmothers and aunt and send my best wishes … I also congratulate Petya, Elena and children. I will write more soon! Your Sasha. “

He felt a special affection for his grandmothers Elizaveta Ivanovna and Maria Ivanovna and his aunt Lyubov Alexandrovna. In 1873, when the future composer was very young, his mother died of consumption. The father was a diplomat and did not visit home often, so all the worries associated with raising the child were taken over by his grandmothers and aunt. For this, the composer was very grateful to them and never forgot about them.

When in 1915 Alexander Scriabin became seriously ill, Lyubov Alexandrovna and Elizaveta Ivanovna took care of him until the last day of their lives. By the way, after the death of Alexander Nikolaevich, his beloved aunt became the first keeper of the composer’s museum funds.

The house where Scriabin lived: what the composer’s memorial museum consists of

Museum-apartment of I.D. Sytin. Printer’s calendars

It’s hard to imagine the New Year without a new calendar. In the collection of the I.D. Sytin has a collection of calendars created in the partnership of the famous publisher in the late 19th – early 20th centuries.

In February 1883, Ivan Sytin founded the partnership “I.D. Sytin and Co. “. One of the first ideas of the young company was to create a folk calendar.

“In a country like Russia, millions of people lived and died who had no share in the cultural heritage of mankind … They thought according to the calendar, they studied according to the calendar, they drew all their knowledge from the calendar, and the calendar gave them instructions for all occasions life “, – said Ivan Sytin in his book” Pages of the Experienced. “

For the release of its first calendar, Sytin’s publishing house had been preparing for five years. Especially for this, from abroad, the partnership ordered several rotary machines capable of handling the multimillion circulation of the future edition. Ivan Dmitrievich put forward such requirements to his products as cheapness, elegance and affordability.

The stake on a mass audience did its job: by the end of the 1880s, Sytin’s calendars took a leading position in the market. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ivan Dmitrievich’s publishing house produced 25 calendar titles, and their total circulation was more than 12 million copies.

And again on January 1st. How Ivan Sytin turned the idea of ​​the calendar Invented a tear-off calendar and helped vegetarians. Why else did Muscovites love Ivan Sytin

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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