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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Photo Minute: Updated with more photos: Moments in time-Russia (1952-1954) in colour

A spy's eye view of Russia: Never-seen-before pictures of Stalin-era USSR taken by a US Army Major deported for espionage
Douglas Smith has lifted the lid on the extraordinary stash of US Army Major Martin Manhoff from the 1950s
The US diplomat was expelled from the USSR for espionage for documents left under a napkin on a train
He had travelled around the country taking thousands of photographs during the Stalin era 60 years ago
They remained untouched in a closet in Washington, US, until Mr Smith asked if he could explore his home 

An American historian has unearthed never-seen-before pictures of Stalin-era Russia which were taken by an Army Major.
Martin Manhoff's collection have been described as a 'unique visual archive' of life in the Soviet Union in the 1950s.
He was deported for spying in 1954, and hid the photographs in his closet in Washington State.
Until today, they remained untouched, but Douglas Smith has lifted the lid on the stash of the pictures taken from behind the Iron Curtain.

A child walks through a run-down street in Russia in one of a number of extraordinary photographs taken by a US diplomat

Women cross the street in a busy Russian city in a set of photographs unearthed by an American historian - Douglas Smith

A picture taken from a car shows cars and a bus trapped in a massive flood sweeping through the streets of a Russian city

Russian officials walk an empty street in a picture taken from a building above the road by the US diplomat who was deported

Army Major Martin Manhoff served in the US embassy in Moscow from February 1952 until June 1954, when he was expelled from the USSR on charges of espionage. 
During his two years in the Soviet Union, Manhoff traveled widely and recorded much of what he saw on both color slides and color 16mm film. 
All of this material ended up in a closet in his home in Washington State where it lay unseen for over half a century.
Mr Scott, who has a new book out called Rasputin, said: 'After his wife's death, I was asked to visit the Manhoff home this past summer and see whether Martin had left behind anything of value. I was amazed at what I discovered. 

For the past several months I have been digitizing and organizing the photographs and films. 
'Among the gems is approximately 15 minutes of color movie footage of Stalin's funeral taken from an upstairs window of the old US embassy in the Hotel National. 
'There are thousand of color photographs taken on the streets of Moscow, Leningrad, Murmansk, Yalta, and at points along the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
'I am now working on finding the best way to make this unique visual archive available to the public and to find a permanent home for the entire Manhoff archive.' 

A woman walks down a busy Russian streed holding the hand of a youngster while a man in state uniform strides alongside

Another picture from the previously unseen set of Stalin-era Russia photographs from Martin Manhoff's personal archive

A photograph taken by US Army Major Martin Manhoff of what looks like a state-sponsored public ceremony in Russia

Three boys appear happy as they sit on a bench somewhere in Russia in front of what looks like a dilapidated building

The four American diplomats expelled from the USSR on espionage charges traveled around Russia taking photographs

Thousands of photos are said to have been found by Douglas Smith, including this one of what appears to be a typical day out

A woman poses for a photograph in a Russian street as other women rush by behind her in the collection unearthed in the US

A group of teenage girls gathered in uniform smiling and laughing as they pose for a photo taken by the Army Major

                                                 Pictured, Manezhnaya Square

                                            Pictured, Pushkinskaya Square 
                                             Pictured, a market in Yalta, Crimea

                                           Pictured, swimmers, unknown location

 Pictured, street cleaners in front of the GUM department store in the Red Square

              Pictured, Trinity Lavra of St Sergius, about 45 miles northeast of Moscow
 Pictured, two women outside train window, unknown location
                                                              Pictured, unknown location
         Pictured, Trinity Lavra of St Sergius, about 45 miles northeast of Moscow

In the Chicago Tribune on March 26, 1954, the paper covered the story of Manhoff being sent home.

The story said he and three other American diplomats had been sent packing for abusing the hospitality shown to them by Russia. 
It said a local state-run paper carried news that the men had left espionage documents under a paper napkin while on a Trans-Siberian train the previous year. 

The Russian newspaper said: 'If the above mentioned persons would like to get back their documents, which were evidently forgotten in a rush, they can do so by calling the porter's office.'

A conductor claimed the men were making hurried notes on every passing freight train and took photographs of them.

Gareth Davies