Open Storage of the Museum
of contemporary history of Russia

Europe’s political scene was much like a game of chess during the 1920s. On one hand there was the new state of the USSR, which struggled against capitalism. On the other hand were the capitalist countries, which did not like the communist ideology. The USSR fought a civil war for five years (1917-1922), during which the communists fought against the supporters of the fallen state.

The Soviets not only fought their foes with arms, but with the power of language as well. The central idea of Soviet propaganda was naturally the opposition of the two worlds – Proletariat vs Capitalism. All the placards, caricatures and other art forms inculcated the idea that the capitalist world was the enemy while the Soviet state was the saviour.

The carved mammoth bone chessboard “The Capitalist World and Soviet Russia” is one of the unique artefacts of Soviet propaganda. Vasily Petrovich Gurev, a master of the Kholmogorsky school of carving, made this chessboard in 1927 as a gift to the fifteenth congress of the Communist Party from the Archangelsk woodworkers.

Set the figures from the world of labour and the world of Capital. You will see who each figure was and why they were considered to be the best ally or worst foe by the Soviet ideologists of the late 1920s.