* Russian boys clothes -- play activities toys








Russian Boys' Clothes: Play Activities--Toys


Figure 1.--This is a 1938 studio portrait of two Russian brithers with their stuffed animals which they obviously cherish. One boy has a teddy, the other a puppy. Notice the bangs. This was a very common hair style fir Russian boys dating back to serfdom. Their names are written on the back, but we can not understand the cyrillic writiing. Click on the image to see the writing on the back. .

We see some images of toys in the Tsarist era. Children were some rimes picy=tures with toys in studio photography. This convention seems less commom than in the West. And of course it was almost all the prosperous upper and middle class in the cities. The toys we do see are the same as those in the West. Russia was still a largely agricultural society with a large, rather poor rural population. We have no idea about toys the large number of children in the countryside played with. Many may have been home made. Neither do we know much about the toys that Russian children played with during the Soviet era. We suspect that many were the same as this familiar to children in the West. The few toys that we do see are simolar to those in the West. The same reason that there are relatively few Russian snapshots means that that Russian children had relatively few toys and we have very few images of the toys that they did have. The generally low incomes did not permit parents to purchase toys to the same degree as the West. Nor were toys during the Soviet period available in the same quality or quantity as in the West. Since the fall of Communism, Russia has increasingly participated in general European trends. This is especially the case of the prosperous sector of the major cities. Russian has continued, however, to be a realatively poor country compared to Western Europe. The economy is almost entirely based on the export of saw materails, especially oil and gas--an anomoly for a major country. This is especially the case for a major industrial country. As a result, income and consumption levels are below the more prosperous European countries which of course affects toys the children play with.

Chronology

Russia is a large country in both area and population. Generally speaking the larger the population, the larger the photographic record. But the mumber of people is only one part of the equation. Economics is another part of the equation, meaning how much of the population could aford to have a studio portrait made or purchase a camera for famiky snapshots. And here Russia falls behind most of Europe, especially Western Europe which was strongly benefitted by capitalist economics. Much of the Russian population was poor. Thus the photographic record is much more limited from whay one might expect from such a large country. We have found quite a few studio portraots of well to do people during the Tsarist era unto the 1910s. This did not change with the Revolution (1917). Russia continued to be very poor. Far fewer Russians had cameras than in most other countries. We see some studio pprtraits, but realtively few family snap shots. Thus we have less information about toys than might be expected for a coyntry with such a large population. Ot is the family snapshot that is a trasute trove of information about toys. We see some images of toys in the Tsarist era, mostly from studio portarits. Children were sometimes pictured with toys in studio photography. This convention seems less commom than in the West. And of course it was almost all the prosperous upper and middle class in the cities. Russia even in the early- and mid-20th century was still a largely poor society with a large, rather poor rural population. But even in the cities, industrial workers were paid a fraction of wages of Western workers. We see some images like the boys here with theirvstiffed animals (1938). This has all affected our ability to acquire information on Russian toys. We see toys similar to western toys, esoecially the inexpensive toys which viurtually anyone could afford. This was a change from the 19th century where a large portion of the Russian population could not affird any store bought-toys for their children.

Economic Factors

The same reason that there are relatively few Russian snapshots means that that Russian children had relatively few toys and we have very few images of the toys that they did have. The generally low incomes did not permit parents to purchase toys to the same degree as the West. Nor were toys during the Soviet period available in the same quality or quantity as in the West. Since the fall of Communism, Russia has increasingly participated in general European trends. This is especially the case of the prosperous sector of the major cities. Russian has continued, however, to be a realtively poor country compared to Western Europe. Russia's economy tiday is almost entirely based on the export of raw materails, especially oil and gas--an anomoly for a major country. This is especially the case for a major industrial country. As a result, income and consumption levels are below the more prosperous European countries which of couese affects toys the children play with. All this despite the gact that they were extremely wasteful in the use of metal, largely because of the absence of the profit mechanism. There was no incentive to effiently use resources.

Individual Toys

The Russian toys we do see are the same as those in the West. We do not see ,anu of the more expensive toys, especially metal tools. The Soviet emphasis was on heavy imdustry. As a result, limited amounts of metal were divered to cinymr goods either for adults or children. We have no idea about toys the large numberr of children in the countryside played with. Many may have been home made. Neither do we know much about the toys that Russian children played with during the Soviet era. Realtively few families had cameras. Thus most of the photographs we have are studio portraits. We have realtively few family snapshots where we can see children playing with their toys. We suspect that many were the same as this familiar to children in the West. The few toys that we do see are similar to those in the West. We see stuffed animals. Teddies seem popular. And of couse dolls for the girls. We think a lot of toys like electric train sets and bicycles that required industrial production were kess common un the West--basically the kid version of notable Soviet shorrtage of consumer goods.






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Created: 5:27 AM 9/5/2004
Last updated: 10:52 PM 4/17/2020