Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) – Moscow

VDNKh - 10

VDNKh – 10

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Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh)

Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) is located in Ostankinsky District of Moscow, less than a kilometer from Ostankino Tower. It is served by VDNKh subway station, as well as by Moscow Monorail. Cosmonauts Alley and the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman statue are situated just outside the main entrance to VDNKh. It also borders Moscow Botanical Garden and a smaller Ostankino Park, and in recent years the three parks served as a united park complex.

VDNKh - 07

VDNKh – 07

The exhibition was established February 17, 1935 as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) (Russian: Всесоюзная сельско-хозяйственная выставка; Vsesoyuznaya selsko-khozyaystvennaya vystavka). An existing site (then known as Ostankino Park, a country territory recently incorporated into the city limits), was approved in August 1935. The master plan by Vyacheslav Oltarzhevsky was approved in April 1936, and the first show season was announced to begin in July 1937 and was designed as a ‘City of Exhibitions’ with streets and public spaces, which was very common in the 1930s. However, plans did not materialise and three weeks before the deadline Joseph Stalin personally postponed the exhibition by one year (to August 1938). It seemed that this time everything would be ready on time, but again the builders failed to complete their work, and regional authorities failed to select and deliver proper exhibits. Some pavilions and the 1937 entrance gates by Oltarzhevsky were torn down to be replaced with more appropriate structures (most pavilions were criticised for having no windows). According to Oltarzhevsky’s original plan, all of the pavilions were to be constructed from wood. In 1938, a government commission examined the construction and decided that it did not suit the ideological direction of the moment. The exhibition was considered too modest and too temporary. Oltarzhevsky was arrested, together with the Commissar for Agriculture and his staff, and eventually released in 1943. Later, he worked on the 1947-1953 Moscow skyscraper project [The ‘Seven Sisters’ on the USSR page.].

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VDNKh – 06

As a result, in August 1938 Nikita Khrushchev, addressing the assembled Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, declared that the site was not ready, and the opening was postponed until August 1939. It finally opened on 1 August 1939, and was open to the public until 25 October. The 1940 and 1941 seasons followed but following German invasion in 1941 the exhibition was closed until the end of World War II.

VDNKh - 13

VDNKh – 13

In October 1948 the State ordered the renewal of the Exhibition, starting with the 1950 season. Again, the opening was postponed more than once; the first post-war season opened in 1954 (still as Agricultural exhibition). In the 1956 season the planners set aside an Industrial area within the main territory; more restructuring and rebuilding followed. In 1959 the park was renamed Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (Russian: Выставка достижений народного хозяйства, Vystavka dostizheniy narodnovo khozyaystva) or ВДНХ/VDNKh.

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VDNKh – 03

By 1989 the exhibition had 82 pavilions with an exhibition area of 700,000 square metres. Each pavilion (including the 1939 regions) had been dedicated to a particular industry or field: the Engineering Pavilion (1954), the Space Pavilion (1966), the Central Industrial Zones Pavilion (1955), the Atomic Energy Pavilion (1954), the People’s Education Pavilion (1954), the Radio-electronics Pavilion (1958), the Soviet Culture Pavilion (1964).

VDNKh - 11

VDNKh – 11

During Soviet times, each year VDNKh hosted more than 300 national and international exhibitions and many conferences, seminars and meetings of scientists and industry professionals. The most memorable feature of the exhibition site was the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman (Rabochiy i kolkhoznitsa) statue, featuring the gigantic figures of a man and woman holding together the ‘hammer and sickle’. The sculpture, which reaches 25 meters toward the sky, was designed by Vera Mukhina and originally crowned the 35-meter-tall Soviet pavilion at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937).

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VDNKh – 08

In 1992, VDNKh was renamed, receiving the new acronym VVC, which remained in use until 2014. It occupies 2,375,000 square metres of which 266,000 square metres are used for indoor exhibits. The territory of VDNKh is greater than that of the Principality of Monaco and has approximately 400 buildings.

On 14 May 2014 the previous name VDNKh was restored, following an interactive poll. In addition, the mayor of Moscow announced that the Russian space shuttle, the structural test article – TVA, which was an attraction and restaurant at Gorky Park in Moscow was to be moved to the VNDKh, to be displayed near the Vostok rocket in front of the Cosmos hall. It was moved 5–6 July 2014 and re-assembled by 21 July.

The above text from Wikipedia.

VDNKh - 09

VDNKh – 09

This park is vast and it’s impossible to see all there is on a single visit – even a handful of visits would probably mean missing out on something. There’s so much to take in that it exhausts you with information, image, and impression overload.

The slide show below, which I have to admit is huge (perhaps too big?) can only give an impression of what exists in the park – and I didn’t have time to enter any of the pavilions, just satisfying myself with taking in the architecture from the outside.

VDNKh - 05

VDNKh – 05

For anyone interested in Soviet era architecture it allows you to see, and appreciate, the marriage between Socialist Realism and the cultural influences of the various Republics of the Soviet Union.

Originally the various pavilions would have contained exhibitions related to the Republic under whose name it was built but more recently many of the pavilions have been taken over by commercial companies to promote themselves and their own capitalist values.

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VDNKh – 04

This commercial ‘development’ has also meant the construction of more contemporary buildings and/or temporary modifications of existing buildings. This has drastically changed the environment of the park, more specifically that part of the park closest to the entrance. Commercial companies know that if they built their edifices down by the Cosmos Pavilion and the Transport Museum no one would see them let alone enter.

VDNKh - 02

VDNKh – 02

There’s a fine statue of VI Lenin just in front of the Russian Republic pavilion.

The Worker and Kolkhoz Woman is outside the main park space, to the right as you look at the main site entrance arch, about 10 minutes away. That has been the subject of a separate post so images of that magnificent sculpture, truly accepted to be an iconic representation of the Soviet Union, can be seen by following the link above. It’s very much worth a short diversion to appreciate the sheer scale and beauty of the, now, renovated and restored masterpiece.

VDNKh - 01

VDNKh – 01

As (in June 2024) the conflict in the Ukraine is still ongoing it might be worthwhile to make a reference to the pavilion that was dedicated to the Republic of Ukraine. Although many of the pavilions are impressive that of the Ukraine is even more so.

The Ukrainian Republic pavilion is probably bigger, more ornate, more complex in its imagery, having had more attention paid to it, having had more money given to it and stands out amongst many impressive buildings. And this is the case with many other references to the Ukraine in Moscow. Both the two stations on the metro system (Line 3 and Line 5) are amongst the most ornate amongst a collection of very ornate structures. As is the internal decoration of the Kievskaya mainline railway station.

VDNKh - 12

VDNKh – 12

It seems that if you pay attention to your ‘favourite child’ it will still turn against you because you haven’t given it enough.


VDNKh is located in Ostankinsky District of Moscow and is served by VDNKh subway station, north east of the city centre, on Line 6, the brown line.




Opening times;

‘VDNKh is open around the clock’.


Free to the complex but you might have to pay to enter some of the pavilions.


VDNKh (in English)

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