Ira Commune

Ira commune is an agricultural union of the like-minded organized in spring of 1922 in Ira village (Leninskoye at present), Kirsanov district, Tambov region. The commune started life on April 22, 1922.

The first communards from the USA, Australia, and Great Britain arrived at the Obolenskies’ former country estate in Kirsanov district on the birthday of the leader of the world proletariat. Nationality-wise, it was a truly international team: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles, Hungarians, Germans, Austrians, Jews, and Italians. Their visit was associated with the Soviet decree of 1921 that summoned them to return to their Motherland and promised to grant lands for agricultural business. They brought some agricultural equipment with (threshers, seeders) and technologies of land cultivation. 

The communards built two-story wooden houses deconstructing the buildings of Orzhevka convent. The newly-built houses with stove heating were not provided with any facilities. In three years they constructed two two-story houses, a community center, a school, a cafeteria, a watermill, a sawmill, and workshops. They also fixed the stockyard, stables, and barns. It took the communards just a year to harvest the unprecedented for the area amount of crops – 14.4 centners per a tenth (peasants in the neighborhood harvested only 5.3 centners).       

By 1923 the number of communards had increased to 166 people. However, locals were not very happy to meet the neighbors and soon started stealing tools from them, spoiling their machines, burning barns and stables.

Around the same time, the majority of the communards had left the commune and in 1938 Ira became a regular collective farm where hundreds of people worked for a salary. More than 20 communards were repressed, some of them were executed by shooting, and others perished in Gulag torture chambers.

Another event merits mention. In 1931 Ira commune was visited by playwright Bernard Shaw, Lord and Lady Astor, and Lord Lothian. It brought the commune its world fame.

The last tenants of the commune wooden houses were settled in a new place in 2014. The decaying buildings are the witnesses of the past events. There is a wonderful museum in the village where museum guides will be thrilled to narrate the history of Ira with the help of photographs, objects, and authentic documents. 

Leninskoye village, Kirsanov district, Tambov region
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