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Never-seen-before pictures of Stalin's Russia taken by American 'spy'

We have all grown up aware of the fraught relations between Russia and The United States. Studying The Cold War is not only part of our mandatory schooling but is also a form of advocacy, enacted by both sides in order to secure our allegiance to this day, where the relationship between the two nations still remains tense.

As such, whilst we're well versed on the technicalities of the communist regime in the USSR, we still know relatively little about the day-to-day lives of the civilians who lived under the control of Stalin his successors. But that's no longer wholly true; renowned American historian Douglas Smith discovered some never-seen-before images of Stalin's regime which were taken by an American Army Major, Martin Manhoff.

Manhoff's collection of photographs have been described as a "unique visual archive" of everyday life in the USSR in the 1950's. Manhoff often travelled vast swathes of Russia by railroad, accompanied by his wife, Jan, who worked alongside him, transcribing their experiences and adventures into her diaries.

Manhoff was deported in 1954, two years after his arrival, for the charge of being an American "spy". Following his return to the United States, Manhoff's images remained hidden in a cupboard for 60 years, before Douglas Smith unearthed them this year...

1. A parade which took place in front of the Kremlin

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

2. A street in the heart of Kiev, Ukraine 
2. A street in the heart of Kiev, Ukraine 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

3. Moscow at night 
3. Moscow at night 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

4. A bustling market in Crimea, before the peninsula was given to Ukraine by Stalin's successor, Georgy Malenkov

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

5. Happy schoolgirls at Kolomenskoye, located in the south of Moscow

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

 6. A flooded street in Kiev 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

7. Babushkas doing a trade, photographed from the windows of a moving train 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

8. Stalin's funeral procession 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

9. An image of a remote town, taken from the windows of a train 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

10. Locals on Pushkin Square 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

11. A rare colour image of Stalin's funeral, photographed from the old US embassy 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

12. Girls studying in Moscow's Novodevichy convent 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

13. A queue outside a grocery store in Moscow 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

14. Novospassky Palace, Moscow 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

15. Ostankino Palace, Moscow 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

16. Kids in Novospassky Monastery 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

17. Schoolchildren learning how to swim 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

18. The Central Telegraph building, Moscow 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

19. Martin and Jan Manhoff 

alt Credit: Douglas Smith

Well, those images certainly provided some new insight into the Soviet Union in the 50's. And it's evident that Stalin would not have wanted some of those images to be publicised, but luckily for him, Manhoff's stunning photography remained uncovered for a whopping 60 years, only coming to light after the fall of the USSR...