Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the Union of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


a permanent, ongoing ail-Union exhibition in Moscow for the demonstration of achievements in industry, construction, agriculture, transportation, culture, and public health.

The Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR (VDNKh) is a depository to illustrate the innovations and experiences of socialist construction in the USSR. The primary purpose of the VDNKh is to actively propagate the achievements of science, technology, culture, and progressive methods, as well as to provide workers from all sectors of the national economy with instruction in new production methods. The VDNKh was created in accordance with the decree issued by the Council of Ministers of the USSR on May 28, 1958, entitled On the Incorporation of the Ail-Union Industrial, Agricultural, and Construction Exhibitions Into a Single Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR. Management of the exhibition work was carried out by the Main Committee of the VDNKh of the USSR (Glavvystavkom), headed by a deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Directors of the ministries and departments of the USSR, chairmen of the councils of ministers of the Union republics, and the exhibition director constitute the membership of the Glavvystavkom.

The VDNKh opened on June 16, 1959, with pavilions situated on the grounds of the former All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) (207 hectares [ha]) and on the Frunze Embankment on the Moskva River (5.6 ha), where the exhibition’s construction section was located. In 1970 the VDNKh grounds contained 78 pavilions with a total exhibition area of 150,000 sq m, including 20 industrial and transportation pavilions (67,800 sq m), 11 construction pavilions (9,400 sq m), 30 agricultural pavilions (42,000 sq m), and 16 science and culture pavilions (27,600 sq m). There are 6.2 ha of fruit trees, with more than 3,000 trees, on the VDNKh grounds; 67 ha of lawn; 16.3 ha of decorative shrubs and fruit and berry bushes; 11 ha of display plantings, woods, and planted trees; 10 hectares of nurseries, seed beds, greenhouses, and flower beds; and 10.5 ha of ponds.

The exhibition participants are scientific research organizations; leading enterprises (plants, factories, power plants, mines, construction projects, kolkhozes, sovkhozes, stock-breeding farms, state forestry stations, nurseries, experimental stations) in industry, construction, agriculture, transportation and communications, public catering, and commerce; educational institutions; cultural and art institutions; public health organizations; organs of the press, films, radio and television; and industrial and agricultural workers such as inventors, innovators, and production rationalizers. The ministries and departments are responsible for the selection and display of exhibits.

The best participants are awarded a diploma of honor and first, second, and third class diplomas, and the actual creators of the exhibits shown (scientists, engineers, designers, agronomists, workers and farmers) receive a gold, silver, or bronze medal and a presentation of prize money. On the average, VDNKh annually awards diplomas to approximately 4,000 industrial enterprises, sovkhozes, kolkhozes, and other organizations and medals to approximately 60,000 participating specialists.

The Central Pavilion, which was built in 1954 and has 3,300 sq m of exhibit space, occupies a special place in the exhibition. Within this pavilion are displayed the achievements of the USSR in the fields of science, technology, and economics and in the improvement of the welfare and culture of the population, including international ties.

The following are the major pavilions at the VDNKh: Machine Building (1954), which since 1966 has shared some of its exhibit area with the Cosmos pavilion; Cattle (1954); Atomic Energy (1954); Public Education (1954); Public Health (1954); Radio Electronics (1958); Soviet Culture (1964); Geology (1964); Consumer Goods (1967); Chemical Industry (1967); Electrification of the USSR (1967); Metallurgy (1967); Gas Industry (1967); and Mechanization and Electrification of Agriculture (1967).

The VDNKh pavilions house an average of 75 thematic exhibits and shows each year; approximately 40 traveling exhibits are put together for showing in major industrial and population centers around the country. These thematic exhibits and shows provide the basis for some 800 to 900 scientific-technical conferences, seminars, courses, and advanced training schools that are conducted each year for 200,000 to 300,000 specialists.

International exhibitions are also held on the grounds of the VDNKh. Thus, the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance took part in the Inforga-65 exhibition held in 1965, which displayed the latest means of mechanization and automation in scientific and technical in-formation processing; 20 countries participated in the inter-national exhibition Modern Agricultural Machinery and Equipment in 1966; the exhibitions The 25th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of Poland, The People’s Republic of Bulgaria—25 Years on the Path of Socialism, and Agriculture and the Food Industry in the People’s Republic of Hungary were held in 1969; and The 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army and The 25th Anniversary of Free Hungary took place in 1970.

The VDNKh publishes Information Bulletin of the VDNKh of the USSR, prospectuses, catalogs, brochures, and annual guidebooks; these also appear in English, German, and French. Each year the VDNKh attracts approximately 8 million people, including more than 200,000 visitors from abroad. In 1971 VDNKh of the USSR was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


The architectural appearance of the VDNKh of the USSR has been determined for the most part by the planning and construction of the former Ail-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) in 1939 and 1954, which was designed by distinguished Soviet architects (including V. A. Shchuko, V. G. Gel’freikh, and K. S. Alabian), artists (including B. V. loganson, M. S. Sar’ian, and A. A. Deineka), sculptors (including S. D. Merkurov, G. I. Motovilov, and V. P. Vornoskov), and craftsmen of the national arts. The principles guiding the architectural and spatial composition of the VDNKh complex were established by the general plan for the 1939 VSKhV (designed by the architect V. K. Oltarzhevskii). A complex of multipurpose buildings, put together according to a principle of successive expansion of a series of perspectives corresponding to the main sections of the exhibition, was created on the grounds, which are landscaped and carefully maintained to further the overall effect. Felicitous architectural decisions strengthened the expressiveness of several pavilions, notably the Main Pavilion, Mechanization Pavilion, and the pavilions of the Armenian SSR and of the Uzbek SSR (now the pavilions Public Health and Soviet Culture). A rest area was added to the exhibition grounds. The basic elements of the 1939 VSKhV plan were further developed in the general plan for the 1954 VSKhV (under the direction of A. F. Zhukov and R. R. Kliks), under which most of the buildings were remodeled or rebuilt. However, this work was marked in some cases by tasteless eclecticism, stylizing, and embellishment. Since the organization of the VDNKh of the USSR, the exhibition grounds have grown considerably, and the rest area and show areas have been expanded and developed. After 1955 many pavilions were extensively rebuilt and their architectural appearance changed; several dozen new pavilions were built in contemporary architectural designs using modern construction materials and structures (Radio Electronics, 1958; Chemical Industry, 1967).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.