The Russian Shop
1720 Ogden Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532
United States of America
Political dolls were hand painted in the USSR, subsequently Russia after 1991, for the last 35 years. Some of them were affectionately monikered "Gorby" dolls, due to the Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership at that time. You were not a tourist in USSR/Russia if you didn't come back home with at least one or two of these. And a key difference: before the appearance of stickers and silk screen images, early dolls were fully painted in simple to complex detail and with a great variety of interpretations, satirical and respectful and everything in between. The styles of painting are as varied as politics itself. Very few were signed due lingering fears of political retribution, but now and then an artist would go out on a limb for his work. We know of one importer of these dolls into the USA, in the early 1990's, who would sign his own name on the bottoms of the dolls, which made in easier to clear customs.
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