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In 1960, V. Strukova and V. Shevchenko wrote a story, illustrated by L. Smekhov, about the Soviet Union in 2017. The date was not fortuitously chosen– it marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution that brought the Communists to power. The authors believed that people in 2017 would be fortunate to live in a world liberated by Soviet science, where the climate could be controlled, the flow of the northern rivers could be controlled, and Alpha Centauri was a flight destination. The Moscow-based newspaper The Moscow Times described as follows Strukova and Shevchenkos’s story: “A hundred years ago, the men and women who brought Communism to the Tsarist Empire had big plans. Decades into that experiment, the U.S.S.R. was leading the world’s ‘Space Race’ and it seemed there was nothing the country couldn’t do. In 1960, the Soviet movie studio ‘Diafilm’ released a filmstrip titled ‘In the Year 2017,’ by V. Strukova and V. Shevchenko, depicting a vision of the U.S.S.R. set 57 years in the future.
While the story, with illustrations, is essentially a pro-Soviet science fiction tale written for school children, it still expresses the boundless hope for the future that filled the cultures of both the Soviet Union and the United States at that time. All dreams were possible, and given time all would come true.
This historical piece however does illustrate again the tragic but consistent failure of communism and socialist thought, wherever it has been tried. The Soviet culture of Russia dreamed big, and did accomplish much, but they were crippled by a political and economic system that guaranteed bankruptcy, leading to the collapse of that system well before its 100th anniversary.
It is a continuing tragedy that so many people today continue to believe in that system, even after so many failures.