СССР на стройке

UdSSR im Bau 

USSR in Construction 

URSS en construction


Moscow: Gosizdat, 1930-1941 and  1949

415 x 298 mm.

published in 133 issues.


USSR in Construction was a propaganda magazine whose principal mission was to promote a favourable image of the Soviet Union abroad. Published montly between 1930 and mid- 1941, it was intended both for foreign distribution and distribution within the Soviet Union where it performed a related function of encouraging enthusiasm and support for state politics and practices. Initially it appeared in four separate editions - German, English, French and Russian; later, in 1937 a fifth edition in Spanish was added. The magazine was conceived in the spirit of the first Five-Year Plan as an optimistic chronicle of Soviet achievements. Founded on the initiative of the writer Maxim Gorki, the magazine was intended to gain friends for the Soviet Union abroad and thus formed part of an aggressive foreign policy. The first few issues featured a variety of articles on state projects, but after that each issue was devoted to a single theme. During the first Five-Year Plan, USSR in Construction gave particular emphasis to the huge industrial projects - electro steel plants, textile mills, hydroelectric stations, coal mines - as well as to the collectivization of agriculture. This coverage eventually expanded into special issues on the different republics and autonomous regions, accounts of building projects such as the White Sea Canal and the Moscow Metro, the rise of rail and air travel, features on raw materials such as coal, gold and timber, and themes of daily life such as children, sports, and old age. The format of USSR in Construction was modelled more closely on the German bourgeois illustrated magazines of the early 1920s as well as the leftwing German publication, the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (published by Willy Münzenberg beginning in 1925 on behalf of the Internationale Arbeiter-Hilfe, a Soviet-front organization that was directed by the comintern in 1921). After its demise, USSR in Construction resumed publication for one year in 1949 in three languages: English, Russian and French. It became a general feature magazine rather than one that focused on theme issues as it had done in its previous incarnation. It ceased publication with its original title at the end of 1949 and was reborn in March 1950 as SOVIET UNION.

Victor Margolin, The Struggle for Utopia, Chicago: Univesity Press, 1997. Chapter 5. Representing the regime: Lissitszky and Rodchenko, 1930-1941, pp.162-213.