In 1960, Diafilm, a Soviet movie studio, released this filmstrip entitled “In the Year of 2017,” seen below. It shows images of what they believed the world would be like in 2017, after the Western imperialists were destroyed and the Soviet’s had perfected their knowledge of science and technology. There are atomic trains and flying power stations that control climate. It follows the story of a boy, Igor, and his family, as they travel, experiencing all the riches and achievements of the Soviet Union. I could go on and on about what is in all the frames, but I’ll let y’all explore the various options for viewing the different slides.
Some of the predictions are relatively accurate. You see in one frame, Igor talking to his family in some type of video chat, coming from a cruise ship on the Black sea, which foreshadows the development of Skype, FaceTime, and other video chatting features. This article shows all the slides with descriptions in English.
As I thought about how this type of technological based propaganda would come about, I thought of all of the efforts by the Soviet Union that were put into the space program, “the space program embodied the strength and weaknesses of the Soviet approach to technology.” The Soviet’s were the first to send a human to space on April 12, 1961, making them confident in their technological abilities and national abilities.
I found this propaganda to be so interesting, not only because it’s 2017 currently, but because of how effective this type of propaganda must have been to promote Soviet nationalism. This showed the Soviet people, and possibly the rest of the world, how highly the Soviet’s thought of themselves and their technological capabilities, making the Soviet people feel as though their country was on a long road to prosperity while they were in somewhat turbulent times. “The two decades after the Khrushchev’s removal were a marvel of contradictions — economic decline amid apparent prosperity, détente and confrontation, harsh repression and a burgeoning human rights movement,” this shows what place the Soviet’s were in during the time this filmstrip was made (Freeze 434-435). I also just find it so interesting to see how people envisioned the future and how different it is from what the future is actually like. People are constantly looking forward to the future and how great it will be with awesome technology and happier lives, but it is never what it is made out to be and history does not erase itself. Since it is 2017, we know what 2017 is like and that this is not accurate. The West is not destroyed and the Soviets have not taken over and neither has their technology. There is still turbulent relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, largely due to what happened in the 1960s and the Cold War.
https://vk.com/album2118125_239615536 (full film strip here. not in video form)
Freeze text: Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: a history. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1997. Print.