This former Exhibition of Economic Achievement was at one time a permanent World Expo of the great glories of Soviet--and particularly Stalinist--rule. It began in 1939 as the All-Union Agricultural Exposition, a celebration of the fruits of Stalinist progress, and many of its most grandiose elements date from that period. In ensuing decades the VDNKh was revived and eventually established on a permanent basis, becoming an exhibition of the finest achievments of the Soviet state. While the VDNKh is slowly restructuring itself to a less idealistic showroom for consumer goods from all over the world, it remains a truly outstanding place to visit, a kind of crazed Soviet visionary's wonderland. VDNKh encompasses a wide area and is filled with pavilions for everything from grain and furs to atomic energy. Many of these exhibition spaces still offer interesting and informative displays. However, what many find most fascinating is the overall dimension and vision of Soviet state imagination.
Among the most interesting sights at VDNKh are the monumental Soviet realist sculpture "Worker and Woman Collective Farmer," the gleaming jet-age Space Obelisk, the imposing Stalinist Central Pavilion, and virtually all of the Stalinist-era trade pavilions. Between December 25 and January 5 each winter, the VDNKh is the venue for a Russian Winter Festival, replete with folk music and dancing as well as troika rides.
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