• Steven Heller

Smoking Out the USSR

I’ve reviewed many examples of Russian and Soviet Era visuals from the lads at !PRODUCTIVE ARTS! in Bratenahl, OH. But my favorite collections they have assembled over the years are the cigarette packages, labels and boxes from Moscow Leningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Baku and Ukraine (for domestic and export use). Brands include those for Moscow Metro, Mosselprom, May Day, Epokha, Stakhonovite,

Herzegovina Flor, the 1923 All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, Burlak, Northern Palmyra, Revolutionary Youth, etc. The boxes were produced at state-owned tobacco factories (for example, “Glavtabac,” or the “State Tobacco Trust”). Two of the boxes were also produced by the “Trotsky” factory (1920s).

!PRODUCTIVE ARTS! also has a collection of 575 pieces of Soviet candy and produce packages. Take a puff and put your eyes on this candy. For a nation of nationalized industry, they certainly did not produce generic products. (See even more here.)

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