On this day: a protest against communism

Ukrainians in Sydney, Australia march against Russian communism on the 28th of June, 1953. This image appeared in The Canberra Times the following day.

More Ukrainians died under Stalin’s rule than the entire death toll of the Holocaust, with ethnic Ukrainians singled out by Soviet authorities for a genocide barely recognised by the world until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukrainians demonstrating against Russian Communism in Macquarie Street, Sydney. Just come from a Ukrainian Orthodox Church service at St. Andrew's Cathedral and were heading towards the

On this day: Magdeburg in Ruins

This image of the German city of Magdeburg was taken on the 29th of May, 1952, seven years after the end of the Second World War.

Trapped behind the Iron Curtain, as the city was occupied by the Soviets at the end of the war (and the region turned into East Germany), very few of the city’s pre-war buildings were ever restored. Many were left in their bombed state or simply abandoned for years before being pulled down.

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Magdeburg, Blick auf die zerstörte Altstadt

On this day: the death of a prima ballerina

Maya_Plisetskaya_-_1974Plisetskaya performing in Carmen (1974)

As Carmen in 1974.

Soviet ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, one of only a handful of dancers in history to hold the title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta, died on the 2nd of May, 2015.

Born into a prominent family of Lithuanian Jews, Plisetskaya completed her ballet training in Moscow, first performing at the Bolshoi Theatre at the age of eleven.

Maya Plisetskaya Grand Jete Ballet Vintage

Despite being one of the most respected dancers in history, she was treated badly by the anti-Semitic Russian authorities. For the first sixteen years of her career she was banned from leaving the country.

Her father was executed during the Stalinist purges, and her mother, a famous Lithuanian film actress, spent several years in a gulag in Kazakhstan.

Maya Plisetskaya Ballet Vintage

Plisetskaya followed in the footsteps of another great Soviet ballerina: Galina Ulanova, and took over her position as the Bolshoi’s star dancer upon Ulanova’s retirement. Plisetskaya was a member of the Theatre until 1990.

Succumbing to a heart attack, she was eighty-nine at the time of her death.

On this day: a nuclear disaster in the USSR

This is the first picture taken of the destroyed nuclear reactor in Chernobyl (Chornobyl in Ukrainian), Ukraine. 27th April, 1986.

Taken from a helicopter flying over to assess the damage, the image is foggy because of radiation.

This is 4pm, fourteen hours after the explosion that immediately killed two, and would be directly responsible for the deaths of another twenty-nine people in the days to come.

27th-april-1986-the-first-photo-to-be-taken-of-the-chernobyl-chornobyl-reactor-at-4pm-14-hours-after-the-explosion-this-was-taken-from-the-first-helicopter-to-fly-over-the-disaster-zone-to-evaluat

On this day: Russia’s mass deportations of the Baltic peoples began.

Estonian children who had been forcibly deported to Siberia by Russian authorities. 1952.

Estonian children in Siberia in 1952

Operation Priboi (“Coastal Surf”) was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.

Over 70% of the deportees were women and children under the age of 16.

On this day: the end of the Winter War

Finnish_ski_troops The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Finnish ski troops in 1940.

The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Despite being victorious, Finland was still required to hand over some of their land to Russia at the end of the war.

The invasion of Finland was deemed illegal by the League of Nations, and was the cause of Moscow’s expulsion from the League in December of 1939.

The style of hybrid warfare used by the Kremlin in Finland has been replicated a number of times since, most recently in Ukraine.