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Babushka dolls: a subjective history

At present, the past is uncertain

By Andy PottsPublished 5 months ago 1 min read

We’re much the same, us girls,

Although some are bigger than others.

Born in the embers of Empire, Nikolai a distracted dad,

Designed by artists, an embodiment of folkore,

Awaiting an electrifying future in an industrious age,

All alike, yet ranked in a clear hierarchy.

Socialist unrealism, we were heralds of a new era of equality;

Bright eyes, rosy cheeks, head-scarfed and rolled out across the lands.

Early, eerily knowing, a toy in every household,

Cookie cutter, candy wrapper, global branding in one country.

That was an age of conformity. It passed.

We were again transformed. Music, sports, an international accent.

John swallows Paul, swallows George, swallows Ringo;

Sarafans swapped for football shirts, different reds.

History, politics too. Great figures of the past,

Each ranked according to their deeds.

Distracted, doomed Nikolai consumed by his future,

Today’s rulers swallowing all that came before.

We were much the same, us girls,

But now some are far bigger than others.

Thanks to Poppy's prompts for the idea, and Angie the Archivist for pointing me in this direction. Many years ago, I had a matryoshka set of Russian leaders, starting with a big Boris Yeltsin (president at the time) and peeling back through history via Gorbachev, Brezhnev, Khrushchev, Stalin and Lenin. Later, living in Moscow, I saw a staggering range of 'novelty' kits, representing everything from the LA Lakers to CSKA Moscow. And, since I remember repeatedly listening to 'The Queen is Dead' on my first visit to the former USSR, the Smiths reference is absolultely deliberate.

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About the Creator

Andy Potts

Community focused sports fan from Northeast England. Tends to root for the little guy. Look out for Talking Northeast, my new project coming soon.

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Comments (3)

  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred3 months ago

    This is a wonderful poetic contruction

  • Poppy 5 months ago

    Ooo, this was so interesting. I love the idea to write from the perspective of the babushka dolls and really dive into their history. You did it so well!!

  • Very interesting & informative perspective on Babushka dolls & the back story! "All alike, yet ranked in a clear hierarchy. Socialist unrealism, we were heralds of a new era of equality; Bright eyes, rosy cheeks, head-scarfed and rolled out across the lands. Early, eerily knowing, a toy in every household, Cookie cutter, candy wrapper, global branding in one country."

Andy PottsWritten by Andy Potts

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