Bloody tyrants and funny cartoons are found side by side in tonight’s Historama.
On this day in 1936, the Soviet animation studio Souzmultfilm was born.
Strange as it may seem, it was based out of two cathedrals in central Moscow. Religion was abolished during Soviet times, so many churches were used for other purposes.
For a long time, Souzmultfilm used the popular cartoon character Cheburashka as its logo. Now the amicable creature is the Olympic team’s mascot.
Today, the studio is technically still in business, but its golden age is in the past.
On this day in 1930, a decree was signed to build the canal between the White Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The 227-kilometer-long route was one of Stalin's most ambitious projects. Built within just two years, it was meant to glorify the Soviet state.
The gruesome truth, however, did not make it to the masses until much later.
As it turned out, the canal was constructed mainly by labor camp prisoners using very basic instruments. Up to 700 people died on a daily basis. The overall death toll varies in different documents, but is near 300,000 people.
The canal is not very busy, as it is not deep enough for many ships and stays under ice for 7 months a year.