"Release 10 Billion": On the Issue of Financing Soviet Holidays and Anniversaries

Print PDF

УДК 930.85

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-2-529-539

Elena V. Barysheva

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russian Federation

"Release 10 Billion": On the Issue of Financing Soviet Holidays and Anniversaries


The article, based on the materials of the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History and the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, explores the history of financing Soviet state holidays, beginning with the first anniversaries of the October Revolution. The Bolsheviks, realizing the importance of public holidays as an effective tool for legitimizing Soviet power and promoting new spiritual values, allocated significant amounts for their organization even during the economically difficult period of the Civil War. In the early years of the Soviet power, the decoration of cities and demonstrations was rather ascetic, and the money allocated for the holidays was to be used to maintain the authority among the Red Army soldiers. Later, the decoration of cities for the festivities on November 7 and May 1 became more varied. Preparation began in advance, decoration of cities and columns of workers was paid for by the city and district party organizations and by the trade unions. In 1925, among the anniversaries that were planned on a grand scale, was the 20th anniversary of the 1905 Revolution. The article shows how the issue of its financing was resolved. Subsequently, the economic support of festive events, primarily on November 7 and May 1, was assigned to the enterprises. At the same time, the question of expediency of such significant expenses on decorating cities, holiday stands, and columns of workers has been repeatedly raised not only by the holiday organizers, but also by the demonstrations participants. They said that some institutions and senior executives got carried away by enthusiasm for anniversaries, ceremonies, and banquets. The Decree of the Politburo of the Central Committee “On Anniversaries” (1928) peremptorily prohibited organization of anniversaries and celebrations without special permission. In 1938, the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks “On Prevention of Spending Unnecessary Funds in Celebrating May 1, 1938” finally determined the procedure and sources of financing of the Soviet state holidays. This Decision became the basis for all subsequent decisions on financing holiday events.


Historical sources, Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI), Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI), Soviet holidays, financing of holidays, economic situation, attitude of the population, Resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee "On Anniversaries".

Download the article: barysheva_doi


BARYSHEVA, E. V. Oborotnaya storona sovetskogo prazdnika 1920-30kh godov: 7 noyabrya glazami sovremennikov [Reverse side of the Soviet holiday of the 1920s-1930s: November 7 in the eyes of contemporaries. In Russ.]. IN: Dialog so vremenem, 2017, no. 59, pp. 81-99.

DYACHENKO, V. P. Istoriya finansov SSSR (1917-1950 gg.) [History of the finance of the USSR (1917-1950). In Russ.]. Moscow, Nauka publ., 1978, 493 p.

ILYUKHOV, A. Kak platili bol'sheviki. Politika sovetskoy vlasti v sfere oplaty truda v 1917–1941 gg. [How the Bolsheviks paid: The policy of the Soviet government in the sphere of labour remuneration in 1917-1941. In Russ.]. Moscow, ROSSPEN publ., 2010, 415 p.

KOVALENKO, D. A. Oboronnaya promyshlennost' Sovetskoi Rossii v 1918-1920 gg. [The defense industry of Soviet Russia in 1918-1920. In Russ.]. Moscow, Nauka publ., 1970, 411 p.

KOCHESHKOV, G. N., LYUBIMOVA, E. A. Ekonomicheskii aspekt sovetskikh prazdnikov 1917–1927 gg. (po materialam Yaroslavskoi gubernii) [The economic aspect of Soviet holidays 1917-1927 (Based on materials from the Yaroslavl province). In Russ.]. IN: Yaroslavskii pedagogicheskii vestnik, 2014, no 1, vol. 1: Humanities, pp. 250-253.

MATYUGIN, A. A. Rabochiy klass SSSR v gody vosstanovleniya narodnogo khozyaistva (1921-1925) [The working class of the USSR in the years of the national economy restoration (1921-1925). In Russ.]. Moscow: Izd-vo Akad. nauk SSSR publ., 1962, 364 p.

PAVLYUCHENKOV, S. A. Voennyi kommunizm v Rossii: vlast' i massy [War communism in Russia: The power and the masses. In Russ.]. Moscow, Rus. knigoizd. tovarishchestvo-Istoriya publ., 1997, 270 p.

PAVLYUCHENKOV, S. A. Rossiya nepovskaya [NEP Russia. In Russ]. Moscow, Novyy khronograf publ., 2002, 468 p.

KHODYAKOV, M. V. Den'gi revolyutsii i grazhdanskoi voiny. 1917-1920 gg. [Money of the revolution and the Civil War: 1917-1920]. St. Petersburg, Izd-vo S.- Peterb.un-ta publ., 2019, 312 p.

About author

Barysheva Elena Vladimirovna, PhD in History, associate professor, Russian State University for the Humanities, department of theory and history of the historical science, head of the department, Moscow, Russian Federation, +7-910-417-05-32, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Submitted 14.07.2019, published (for Citation):

BARYSHEVA, E. V. “Otpustit' 10 milliardov”: k voprosu finansirovaniya sovetskikh prazdnikov i yubileev ["Release 10 Billion": On the Issue of Financing Soviet Holidays and Anniversaries. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2020, no. 2, pp. 529-539. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-2-529-539

You can read completely article in the russian historic-archival magazine “The Herald of an Archivist”. Read more about terms of subscription here.

Полностью материал публикуется в российском историко-архивоведческом журнале ВЕСТНИК АРХИВИСТА. Ознакомьтесь с условиями подписки здесь.