From the archives: The West in the East

Mongolia’s answer to the Beatles, the Soviet Union’s answer to cowboy films, the Russian adaptation of The Hobbit, and Western music etched onto old x-ray film to get through the Iron Curtain.

From the 1960s on the Soviet bloc countries made Westerns filmed and/or set in the Soviet Union: the so-called Red Westerns.


Soyol Erdene was the Mongolian Ministry of Culture’s answer to the Beatles.


The first live-action film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was made in the Soviet Union.


In the 1960s and 1970s, forbidden Western music spread through the Soviet Union via music LPs etched onto old discarded X-ray film.

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