In November 1985, President Reagan arrived in Geneva, Switzerland for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. They met on the 19th and the meeting proved historic. The anniversary inspired me to look for some photos of Russians during that period of time. I came across a wonderful album on Flickr that belongs to Konstantin Rybitzev who grew up in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. His magical Russian family photos are generously designated for sharing through the Creative Commons License. The ones featured below span 20 years — 1969 to 1989; however, there are other historic family photos dating back to the 1930s.
Russian Family Photos
As I looked through these photos I reflected on those Cold War years that marked my coming of age. A few years ago, I remarked to my daughter Juliette that I couldn’t believe styles from the 80s were making a comeback. She replied, “Well, it was 30 years ago.” Indeed it was, but of course, sometimes, it feels like yesterday.
It was like when we celebrated 50s Days in high school and college. The closest we’d ever come to touching that era was through its music and fashion. A superficial poodle skirt, a black leather jacket. We’d never truly be in character because we’d never understand the nuances of the age. We could pretend, but living through it was to be fully alive during a time that would never be again.
The truth is I am haunted by the 80s. Haunted by the Cold War. Haunted by the fact that it came and went and I did not make the most of it. I went to college and earned a degree and then quickly toiled away paying off student loans. The moments I was fully alive in that era were rare because worry over money and love chipped away at me a little bit every day. I see now that for the most part I’ve grown nostalgic not for what I experienced, but for what I missed. I am grateful for photographs taken during this period of time. It doesn’t matter if they are of complete strangers or of me and people I knew. I cherish them all. They help me experience in some small ways all that I missed when I was looking down instead of up.
Look up, kids.
Anyway, enjoy these Cold War family pictures. If you like this post, please share it on social networks so others can see these beautiful Russian family photos. Also, you may be interested in a post I wrote back in 2011, My Perestroika and The Rise of Soviet Nostalgia.