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OSOAVIAKhIM members at a training camp. Collection of photos.

OSOAVIAKhIM members at a training camp. Collection of photos.

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Photography / War
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OSOAVIAKhIM members at a training camp. Collection of photos.

[Vyatskiye Polyany], 1931-1933.
42 photos, Oblong 12mo and oblong 16mo. 

Photos mounted on cardboard.
In good condition, wear to edges, stains, small tears.

OSOAVIAKhIM (Society for Assistance in Defense and for the Aviation-Chemical Build-up of the USSR), the most formidable paramilitary voluntary organization, was established in January 1927 through the amalgamation of three societies, one of which was founded by L. Trotsky. The society aimed at preparing reserves for the armed forces, admitting members as young as 14. It provided military training and general military education, which later evolved into civil defense. Additionally, OSOAVIAKhIM took on the task of continually retraining reserve officers in the new techniques and technologies of the Red Army.
The first OSOAVIAKhIM camps emerged in the summer of 1931. "To support the military training program, the network of training points was expanded to more than 2 000 by 1933. As the number of Osoaviakhim camps also increased, the practice of taking groups away from their jobs in industry for short training periods became widespread" (Odom, W.E. The Soviet Volunteers: Modernization and Bureaucracy in Public Mass Organization. Princeton University Press, 2016). 
These photos depict OSOAVIAKhIM members in camps near Vyatskiye Polyany town (Kirov Oblast) and Nizhny Novgorod city. Of particular interest are the images showing groups undergoing gas mask and tactical firearms training.

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