It’s 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan is clearing out the clutter from her family home. In the process, however, she happens upon a large container filled with relics from her late mother’s turbulent life. Amazingly, it’s the first step in a journey that will see thousands of forgotten photographs thrust into the limelight. And these enigmatic pictures will ultimately give fascinating glimpses into what life was really like in the Soviet Union.
The treasure trove’s discoverer, Asya, is the daughter of a language specialist named Melvar Melkumyan and his wife, Masha Ivashintsova. Asya was just a young girl when her parents’ marriage sadly came to an end. And while Masha chose to remain in the Russian city of Leningrad – now known as St. Petersburg – Melvar relocated almost 450 miles to Moscow with their daughter in tow.
At the time, Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Union and was located at the heart of its biggest territory – the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. But by the time that Masha succumbed to cancer in 2000, the Soviet Union was firmly a thing of the past, having collapsed almost a decade earlier. And a very different Russia had emerged to take its place.