Thursday, 30 November 2017

Novosibirsk Time Capsule: We Believe that You Have Settled on the Moon and Mars

The 1950s and 1960s were full of hope. 

Europe, the United States, and Japan were successfully recovering from the devastation of the Second World War; Independence movements in Asia and Africa were succeeding; and the scientific advances in the Soviet Union were promising a bright future for everyone. Anyone living through those times would have taken progress for granted, like the young people who wrote these letters.

Letters to the People of the Future

A group of youngsters gathered at the Novosibirsk House of Culture on 4 November, 1967 and wrote letters to the people of the future. The letters were then put into a vault in a wall; to be opened in 2017 to celebrate the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The vault was opened yesterday.

On 3 November, 2017, the letters were opened in the presence of former and current employees of Electrosignal, the Novosibirsk mayor, Anatolia Loktya, and deputies. The first letter reads:

До Октябрьской революции наш район представлял собой отсталую окраину города Ново-Николаевска <…>

В районе работали три частных мелких предприятия, было три начальных школы и ни одного лечебного учреждения. А сейчас это передовой промышленный район <…> Вырос наш район и в культурном отношении: в районе работают 28 образовательных школ, 4 техникума и три института, в которых учатся 40 тысяч детей колхозников, рабочих и интеллигенции. Есть у нас хорошие больницы, прекрасные кинотеатры, клубы и библиотеки»

(Until the October revolution, our district was a backward part of the city of Novo-Nikolaevsk...

There were only three public utilities in the district, three primary schools, and no healthcare centre. But now, it's an advanced, industrialized district... Our district has grown on the cultural front: We have 40,000 children of kolkhozniki, workers, and intelligentsia studying in 28 schools, four technical training centres, and three institutes. We have good hospitals, beautiful movie theatres, clubs, and libraries.)

Another one is full of hope:

  «Дорогие потомки, сегодня у вас необыкновенный день — столетие советской власти. Мы горячо поздравляем вас с великим и славным юбилеем. <…> Мы знаем — наше время интересно, ваше — ещё интереснее. Мы строим коммунизм, вы живёте при коммунизме.

Мы верим, что вы превосходно оборудовали нашу прекрасную голубую планету Земля, освоили Луну и высадились на Марсе, что вы продолжаете штурм космоса, который начали люди первого пятидесятилетия, и ваши корабли давно уже бороздят Галактику.

(Dear people of the future, you have a special day today, the centenary of the [establishment of the] Soviet Union. We warmly congratulate you on this occassion... We know, our time is interesting, but yours is more interesting. We have built communism, and you are living under communism. 

We believe that you have masterfully outfitted our wonderful blue planet, the Earth, explored the Moon and landed on Mars, that you are continuing the exploration of space started by the people of the first half of the century and that your starships have been long prowling the Galaxy.)

With my limited Russian language skills, I could read only these two fragments. I am sure there are many more. Plan to go through them in future.

Right now, all I can say is that reading even these snippets made me immensely happy today.