International women's day in the personal diaries of the Soviet people


Ivan Schitz, historian

March 7, 1928. About the upcoming women’s day pasted posters on the walls. One of them in large letters, not without humor printed: “Proletarka, to put forward their asset!” and then some more words, but the fine print. […]


Konstantin Izmailov, bookkeeper in the village of Smolensk Smolensk volost Biysk County

March 8, 1932. Tuesday. […] In nerdome not working, the room was still occupied for the Day 8 March. Today, again playing on the stage for Indian holiday. Put the play “8 March” little two pictures. Involved a bit: Izmailov, Trukhanov, Kryventsov, Mogil’nikova, Golovin (boy). All the roles are small.

Rally. The ceremonial meeting. Bonuses and tea. The hall is crowded to overflowing with women! The best soldiers were given the award. Lazy and malingerers – the infamous prize at the laughter for all.

the Soviet Ambassador to Sweden Alexandra Kollontai.1933

Alexandra Kollontai, a revolutionary, extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the USSR

March 9, 1933. Yesterday unexpected great joy. I was awarded the order of Lenin. And most importantly, for my revolutionary work among women. Experienced this with excitement of happiness, and it seemed almost unbelievable that this award is a fact.

the Eighth of March – so I am deep in preparation of our holiday in the club. We need to think about your report. Thoughts are besides of the local current worries. Suddenly a telegram, open, from Moscow: former employees at the Oslo congrats with the order of Lenin. What does it mean? Not understood, not believed. Later more and more telegrams. Finally, the official report NCID – me, the government and our party was awarded the order of Lenin. There began a General rejoicing. Trade representative gave a congratulatory speech. Employee hugging, crying, bring flowers. The party was extraordinarily fun, festive and solemn. I still like a fog.

the Award for revolutionary work among women this is the most pleasant.

Tryokhgornaya manufactory. International women’s day. 1935. Photo: ТАСС1936 YEAR

Konstantin Izmailov

March 8, 1936. Sunday. Smolensk. […] Noticeable that all women are neatly dressed up today, especially on their heads shines a red handkerchief. And they are all somewhere in a hurry, in a hurry. Everywhere evenings. On one collective event, organized by women in the premises of the Executive Committee, not by chance, but for my money made for the organization of the evening, there I was. Where good was rewarded with beer and wine.


Alexander Rosen, student

March 8, 1938. […] First lesson in Russian. Entered Mar[ia] A. all yelled. Then I remembered that March 8, and also began to yell (congratulations?!). For Lydia Sergeyevna donated the ruble. Agreed to go to her. All the way carrying flowers – terribly hard and uncomfortable! Lydia Sergeevna nice place. Thought. Congratulated, talked, wished, and left. […]

the Guys from kindergarten, I congratulate workers of the Moscow factory “Zamorochka”. 1931.1939

Margarita Aliger poet

on March 7, 1939. […] Again very late coming home. Kostya met with a box of chocolates, sent by 8 March Groupama. Glorious tradition. […]

the flower Seller. Moscow. 1941.1941

Tamara Filippova, the student of

March 9, 1941. Yesterday was the 8th of March – celebration of women and girls! As he passed I quietly and imperceptibly, like all my days. When I went to bed, remembered the 8 March last year, when I was in 10th grade. It was fun and happy, because finish school, and because it’s a holiday, and because we are all cheerful, friendly company – together to have fun! Yes, apparently have to live with only memories.


AndNPA Britvina, military nurse on Ladoga and at Stalingrad

March 8, 1942. The holiday was moved to the 9/III, as do the wounded, heavy, recumbent, we are always discharged from the machines themselves, as men healthy not.

Evening came the guys from the next part with breadcrumbs and fir branches, with congratulations, and we need to give them a concert. Part of their is located 2 km from us. Went on the machines there. Kate Churilov, her number dance, Nadia Muraveva reading poetry, she is cool, Luda Filimonova, she’s a political officer at the prosv[Mitilini] work, well done “Blue handkerchief” and I’m with Lena sang a Ukrainian song, and I have one – a song Jenny. We have great took. In response the guys gave a return concert. Arrived at 1 o’clock at night, while proposals.

Nadezhda Cherkasova-Cherniavsky, the younger sister of an evacuation hospital No. 88, witness of the siege of Leningrad

March 8, 1942. Well, today our – woman’s day. Here, sitting in the dining room and listen to the Commissioner reports on the glorious deeds of our women. A day in the morning noted – in the sense of power: give entirely of white bread, out of which we with Evgenia was left for lunch not to mention dinner.

When we came to the hostel, we were ordered to shovel and haul snow from the yard into the Sink, which we did. […]

the science class at the Leningrad school. 1942.

Stepan Physician, in 1941, he was captured by the Finns, diary kept in the camp

March 8, 1942. […] How Sunday was came comrade Vanya. Took the accordion and went [to] where the girls live. I played the harmonica girls. Was a pity that we, the youth, our youth, our young gay life is in the camps, sit hungry and may have to die of hunger in these years. The girls began to cry. And it’s impossible to know where our relatives are and how they live, whether they are alive or not, and also our comrades who remained on th side of the border, how they live, and soon [you] will have to see their relatives and friends. […]

Lydia Kuznetsova-Zviagina, teacher of Russian language and literature Polish school in Bielsko, witness of the German occupation

March 8, 1942. Today is women’s day. To this day I always Sasha gave something. Somewhere you are, Sasha? If alive, do you remember me? Are we never, never will we meet? How awful, awful, awful! […]

Vera, as always, didn’t know what the number on the calendar. I said to her, “Eighth of March” on the face of it nothing affected. Then I recalled that the eighth of March – Women’s Day. I thought she was a gasp from this opening and will offer to mention once this holiday. But she only sighed, quietly said:

– To determine whether women now!

Right, that matters! […]

Nikolai Gorshkov, an accountant from Leningrad

March 8, 1942. Sunday (international women’s day). All day clear sunshine, a slight breeze. Morning frost -12 . A day in the sun -4 . […]

In the city today on the occasion of International women’s day is very much organized by the women of the Sundays in cleaning and bringing order to the city. Brigade chop ice on the streets, in the tramways, clean yards from poured out and frozen sewage. The rest of the life of the city without change.

T-34 Tank “Fighting girlfriend”, where the mechanic-driver was Maria October.

Maria Razina, witness the siege of Leningrad

9 March 1942. Yesterday Lisa and I received invitations from fellow Zarubinsky, instructor of the district Committee of the party, called us to an evening of Leningrad women in the House of party activists. The evening was arranged on the occasion of March 8 – international women’s day.

Zarubinskaya, handing over the tickets, told me to just in case are prepared for action, you may have to tell you about our household. […]

Tired, of course, impossibly, several times sat down to rest. On the 8th line came under fire, waited in the alley. A man asks Lisa: “And why are you, butterfly, all dressed up?”, and she smiled, winked at him with mischief: “have you Forgotten what today is!”

Here all have groaned and started to remember how we celebrated the feast of women before the war. Then the shelling, we moved on and eventually made it safely.

In the House of party activists was very cold. No one undressed, and sat in their coats and scarves. First held a solemn part: report and presentations from the field, and then announced that there will be a concert.

This concert no one was interested. We saw that in one room the table was laid, and all the time wondering what we will buy.

still, after a call went in the cold room. The concert began. Most of all Lisa and remember a pop singer. A tall, very skinny, in a long black dress which wore the artists before the war. Despite the terrible cold, she decided to go on stage in a single dress. We all felt so sorry for her that many broke down and wept. She sang “Nightingale” by Alyabiev, and something else, smiled, bowed while the audience shouted,

Stop it! Get dressed!

After the concert, we were seated at a table. Before each woman was a plate, and in it a slice of bread, fifty grams, no more, ten grams of smoked sausage, white bread roll and two apples.

Everything is very tasty, and we ate immediately. When submitted the sweet tea, we all had empty plates. […]


Ksenia Polzikova-Scar, a teacher from Leningrad

March 8, 1943. Included today in class. Students stand together. I greet and said: “Sit down!”

But Valery does not sit down. He solemnly comes to my Desk and keeps one hand behind his back.

– Our class wants to celebrate Women’s day… We have all the congratulations… Well, we make you a gift…

On my Desk appears a bulky box wrapped in white paper and tied with pink ribbon.

– What did you invent? I ne he doesn’t take it, I say, pushing the package.

– Take! Take it! – screaming kids. Is you can take!..

Valery smiles broadly.

It’s not a gift. It’s my job, but the girls there are the ribbon and paper…

– Please expand soon! – pleading chorus of voices.

Unwrap the paper and see an unprecedented building: oblong box out of plywood and attached to it a light bulb under the glass.

On one side the inscription:

“on 8 March 1943 by the pupils of the 8th class.”

Is that you in the dark to walk around the city, – says Anya.

I’m touched and I’m very funny. Small electric lanterns of all types and systems of Leningrad walk through the dark streets of the city, but this colossus I haven’t seen.

– Easy, right? – asks Valery.

– a Little bit like our Isaac, – sharpens the film, but this battery will long serve.

I thank the children and seriously say:

– When the war is over, I will give it to the Museum. And now I will be very comfortable to walk in the evening through the dark school and the city. Thank you very much.

Gregory balitchi, the commander of guerrilla group

March 8, 1943. This day was celebrated as international Communist women’s day. For women was organized by the drinking, the festivities, late in the evening Fedorov, invited the women to his headquarters compound. In the evening I went to bed, and suddenly burst radio operators, 7 people, shouting: “hurray, Hurray! Where Balitsky Grigory Vasilyevich?” Raised me sleepy and have to swing by and congratulate me with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Not only congratulated the military and the guerrillas.

Marina Dobrynina, schoolgirl

March 9, 1943. […] Yesterday was women’s day. Some little kid is suitable and takes my hand, saying “Congratulations on women’s day”. I said, thank you.


Ivan Firsenkov

March 8, 1944. Today is international women’s day. To mark the day yesterday, the OHP (FSL-3) celebrated the evening at home office. […] In the evening the report on International women’s day – report Agranova, after the lecture, all went to the dining room, there were tables. Before each device was a glass of wine. The first floor was taken by a comrade. Mikhailov. He congratulated women on the holiday and raised a glass to women all together and drank. […] In between for lunch made women, shop workers, and then, when the wine made itself felt, went to the table excitement, sang songs, some recited, and some of the most flushed out from the table and started to dance to the Russian. Overall, the evening went very well together, Spano, friendly, the dinner was too rich, and tasty. All left the evening very happy. I personally also pretty drunk, dizzy, but, well biting, all imperceptibly passed.

Girls medical corps of the 6th guards army. On 8 March 1944.1945

Irina Dunaevskaya, military translator

March 8, 1945. […] I was invited to the army headquarters to celebrate Women’s day – go, ugovarival ailments. Not in the mood because of the lack of letters – comforting himself, but very restless.

Elvira Filipovic schoolgirl

March 8, 1945. Today is international women’s day. Mom came home from work late. They have to strike work today in honor of March 8. Mother today is all gray with fatigue. Grandma said, “What’s wrong with you, manusa, you no.” Then mom told me a horrible thing. In his career, where he worked as their survey party, found the bodies of women, children, the elderly. They were standing, not lying down. Traces of bullets there. Is it alive?! The Jews did it. […]


Lev Anninsky, the writer

March 8, 1951. Men came to life. This morning I saw a smiling P. E. ceremoniously shook hands with literature the next class. Through the open door of the teachers can be seen laid in the back room table where all our magistres. Red, smiling with excitement female. We conspired with Gagini mom (preprogram) and she ordered the collected money with a basket of flowers to Evgenia Mikhailovna; in the basket we put in the letter.

the literature under the General laughter congratulated Women’s day, Pavel Yefimovich. In English an ovation Vera – when students, trainees, again flooded the school. […]

Sergey Grammatin, educator

March 8, 1951. (Thursday). Early in the morning the Mother received a telegram from Springs from his former students (6th CL. “A”) with a congratulations. Nice. Went out into the hallway for firewood, but the door is more of a greeting from one of the students of the 5th class, cleverly planted in the door slot. Very good. I could not resist not to make fun of your Mom, and taking advantage of her absence when she was in class, he wrote, Podlasie under baby style, another congratulatory letter. Mommy, when I returned from the lesson, first I took my fake for the truth, but soon questioned the authenticity of the letter because I was in a hurry and made a number of damning me. Laughed a lot. […]

After school, evening shift Mom came with gifts, which gave her her students on the occasion of 8 March. Perfume, Cologne, two tea cups with saucers, a dining room, small plate, silk stockings, “still life” (flowers) under glass (working student Osipova) and poems student Nazarova. The whole celebration! Wonderful! It’s nice that the manners are softened. Mom was taken aback. Here is how celebrate Women’s day! Went to the Telegraph office and sent a response to the congratulation telegram to the Springs to pupils of secondary school N 2 6 th CL. “A”. […]


Mikhail Prishvin

March 8, 1952. […] A trifle, of course, but still interesting: today, women’s day, in our writers ‘ sanatorium for dinner with our wives, were given 100 grams. the port wine, and men ate to dry. […]


Alexander Dmitriev, work of the Perm aircraft engine plant

March 9, 1953. Yesterday was international women’s day, I bought Zinochka gift Cologne “The Kremlin”. But this year, women’s day overshadowed by the death of our leader comrade Stalin. […]


Anonymous, teacher of physics on the distribution of ranked school in the city of Tayga (Kemerovo oblast)

March 8, 1954. Yesterday, accompanied Maslenica and met the 8th of March. […] I’m in the mood, as always, the company was fun, I sang quite well (at the request of Alex “Habanera from the Opera Carmen”), laughed hard, danced with Nicky and his mother. Zoya has for 2 evenings behaves well enough, in my opinion. There is something closed, refuses to dance, laugh, in General, put yourself out “swell”. Well, let them sit. I both did well. Let someone was bored and I always have fun and cannot wait until next Sunday to drink for elections and to have fun. […]


Oleg Amitrov, paleontologist

March 7, 1959. The school was homecoming. People was not enough; in our class it’s a man 13… […] teachers, which is pleasant to see was one Vera Vladimirovna. She’s cute, serious and unavailable, but in the eyes is aging and then decreases. I walked her home. About anything important, not talking; that was good. In parting, I congratulated her on the eighth of March, and kissed the soft wrinkled cheek.

Greetings from 8″and”.1962 YEAR

Nicholas Kozak, the driver and the mechanic

March 7, 1962. […] …First, I wanted to visit the store and maybe buy a shirt yourself and shit like soap dishes etc the store was a terrible business. People – as before the war. Tomorrow’s the fucking women’s day, that have got all for gifts. I somehow pushed his way to the counter where the clothes. Shirts and like nothing happened, like in the heyday precommunistic period. I bought a couple of handkerchiefs, the stockings Nasice (to hell with it, let them remember!) and nearly breaking off the buttons, got out of there. […]


N. N., a resident of Smolensk, an employee of the library

on March 3, 1963. Soon the 8th of March. The day when men are particularly attentive to women, even, perhaps, to the unloved. But it is when there is at least such men. But if there is even such? Maybe I need to be happy? There is no hypocrisy, lies? And still to this day is particularly sad. And the heart waiting for something. […]


Nicholas Workers, nuclear physicist

March 8, 1967. […] But today, women’s day. The eighth of March. Invented it, by the way, here in Copenhagen, at the Congress of socialist women fifty-seven years ago. And since then completely forgotten, no one here on this holiday have not heard. […]

Publication M. A. Melnichenko by a grant of Russian scientific Foundation (project N 19-18-00221).