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on land and sea

On Land and Sea – На Суше и на Море 1931




Historical significance

No. 30, October 1931

Complete edition, 18 pages

  • Avant-garde cover
  • Proletarian tourism
  • Readers’ Letters and a rude reply
  • The Foreign Journey of the Shock workers

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22 cm x 29 cm | Free worldwide delivery (unframed). If you want to buy this framed please contact us.

Proletarian Tourism

Artist's Signature

Artist’s Signature

This magazine was published by the Общество пролетарского туризма и экскурсий – The Association for Proletarian Tourism and Excursions. (APTE)

The avant-garde cover is a fine example of the graphic artist’s skill in catching the eye.  He or she is as yet unidentified but the signature is visible on the bottom right of the cover.  The ascending right to left gradient from dark to light, from black to red an white, works superbly as an allegory for the mineral mining suggested and its use to feed Soviet industry.  In the foreground, workers on a demonstration are holding banners with the following slogans:


Tourists!  All set out to find raw material for the machine tools of the five-year plan!

avant garde slogans

Proletarian Tourism Serves the Cause of the Working Class

Every Tourist is a Shock Worker!  Every cell of the Association for Proletarian Tourism and Excursions is a shock worker brigade


krylenkoThose slogans reflect the views of the President of the Association for Tourism and Excursions, N. Krylenko.  He thought that there should be no activity that is uncontrolled and unplanned.  He even tried to introduce a five year plan for chess playing.

He was an extraordinarily energetic man, who had been a revolutionary and subsequently Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army in 1917 and negotiated with the Germans.  He then followed parallel careers as Peoples’ Commissar for justice, Prosecutor General, and head of the Associations for Tourism and Excursions, Mountain Climbing and Chess.  He organised and led very significant expeditions to the Pamir mountain range (picture, left).  He was the State Prosucutor at the Shakhty show trial in 1928 and the trial of Russia’s Roman Catholic hierachy.

Krylenko was arrested in 1938 during the Great Terror.  He was afforded a trial lasting 20 minutes and immediately shot.

How to treat your correspondents

question and answerThe ‘post bag’ page of On Land and Sea published an enlightening question from readers  Alekseev, Ostrovsky and Pisarev and an answer from the editor of the magazine:

Question:  We are planning a trip on the following route: Moscow, Okhotsk, Cape Dezhnev, Bering Straits, Cape Prince of Wales, Nome, Sitka, Winnipeg, Vancouver – USSR.  Please tell us where we can get maps of Alaska and Canada, how to get in touch with scientific organisations, how to get food, passports valid for foreign travel and a cine-camera for the journey.

Answer:  In organising a trip like this the APTE will not offer any kind of assistance.  The only way this can be viewed is as pointless wandering around.  Nobody will give you either a task, the food, or the passports.  We advise you to organise, during your yearly work holiday, a trip to some interesting part of the USSR.  In organising such a trip the APTE will cooperate with you fully.  For assistance refer to the Moscow District Soviet of APTE in Stoleshnikov Per, 16.


The Voyage of the Shock Workers

A group of shock workers were awarded a foreign holiday, and there is a lengthy and interesting article about their visit to western Europe on board the ship ‘Ukraina’.  They started in Leningrad, then sailed to Kiel, where the author is amazed by the German naval memorial at Laboë:

This is the memorial he saw in 1931

This is the memorial he saw in 1931

On the left, right on the water’s edge are two monuments.  One of them is to the sailors killed in the last war.  It makes a strange impression, this grey-brick tower at least 40m high.  The pillar-like column is supported on the land side by an additional construction that is rounded like a rack for supporting barrels.  On top of the tower is a rail and we could see people behind it on the platform.  The entire construction is wild: It’s a column, a six-sided factory chimney, a barel-holder, a bridge-like cigarette-end, whatever, but it’s not a memorial.  What thought is lodged in the breast of this grey brick and cement?

The ship sailed to London, where the workers were impressed by the mechanisation of transport and the general activity of the city.  They went to Manchester, visiting factories making orders for the USSR.  These included Metro Vickers, who later became embroiled in a spying scandal and ‘show trial’ in Moscow.  The workers commented that they were expecting an amazingly modern factory with the latest technology.   The Russian visitors were similarly disappointed by the state of a British coal mine.  This is something I have experienced many times at first-hand in industry – the Soviet view was to be impressed by the production technology.  The Western view is to be impressed by the end product.  The view of this article about Great Britain was clear – “Britain is rotting”.

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Dimensions 22 x 29 cm