No construction work, no government work, no planning work is conceivable without accurate calculation. But calculation is inconceivable without statistics. Without statistics, calculation cannot move forward even a single step.
Joseph Stalin, report to the XIII Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), May 27, 1924
Seven All-union population censuses as well as several registration events among urban and rural population in selected cities and areas, including experimental censuses were carried out in the USSR throughout the existence of the first communist state (December 30, 1922-December 26, 1991). The very first All-Union Census of the Soviet Union took place in 1926 between 17 and 23 December in cities and between 17 and 30 December in rural area. It was followed by the controversial one-day census held on January 06, 1937, but its arrangement was considered unsatisfactory and results were declared “faulty” by the Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, the highest government authority of executive power, dated September 25, 1937. The last pre-war All-Union Census was held in 1939 between 17 and 23 January in cities and towns and between 17 and 26 January in villages. Post-WWII censuses took place in 1959 (January 15-22), 1970 (January 15-22), 1979 (January 17-24) and 1989 (January 12-19).
Distinctive breast badges for canvassers, i.e. those who conducted census by visiting households countrywide, had only been introduced in 1938. Design of the very first badge was elaborated on order of the Economic Council of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR chaired by Vyacheslav Molotov. Image of the pattern was published on December 11, 1938 in the newspaper “Izvestia”.
Interesting to know that initial designed of the “All-Union Population Census” badge remained unchanged until the breakdown of the USSR save range of colors.
Slightly salient badge measuring 27x27 mm had shape of the equilateral octagon, length of each side being 11 mm long. Centre of the badge showed outline map of the Soviet Union bearing inscription “USSR” (“CCCP”) superimposed on a circle with truncated edge at the bottom. State coat of arms was situated at the upper part of the badge. Badges of 1939 pattern had state emblem with eleven ribbons, while all the other sported fifteen ribbons according to the number of Soviet socialist republics the USSR comprised of. Semi-circular inscription “All-Union” (“Всесоюзная”) executed in capital letters was placed between coat of arms and map. Another inscription “Population Census” (“перепись населения”) was running in two lines in capital letters below the map inside the truncated circle. The year the census was conducted was stamped at the very bottom of the badge. “All-Union Population Census” badges bore no numbers neither on reverses nor on nuts.
Model 1939 badge was instituted by the Central Administration of Economic Accounting of the State Planning Committee, commonly known as Gosplan. Badges were manufactured of brass at the Leningrad Mint. Inscription “USSR” (“СССР”) was covered with red enamel, state coat of arms of 1936 pattern had eleven ribbons each signifying Soviet socialist republic. M1939 badges were the only “All-Union Population Census” badges that had screw soldered to reverse and round nut as an attachment method. Badges of latter patterns described below were attached to outerwear or uniform with horizontal pin.
Two types of M1939 badge are known to exist: the vast majority manufactured in 1938 (600,018 pieces totally) were dark grey in color, had plain reverse and nuts bore inscription “Mint” (“Монетный двор”). Second type M1939 badges numbering 3,400 pieces were produced in 1939. Unlike pieces described above, those badges were dark yellow, had counter relief, or mirror reverse and their nuts bore reduced mintmark “Мондвор”.
Model 1959 badge was instituted by the Central Statistical Administration of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Badges were covered with dark blue enamel, inner part of truncated circle – with blue enamel, map of the USSR – with red enamel. All inscriptions and raised elements were gilt. Model 1959 “All-Union Population Census” badges were manufactured of gilt brass. Again, two types of those badges could be singled out: with counter relief or pebbled reverse. The latter, much more common pieces, had mintmark “Mint” (“Монетный двор”) in capital letters running in semi-circle at the lower part of the reverse. Totally 580,000 Model 1959 badges were produced.
Model 1970 badge was instituted by the Central Statistical Administration of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Since 1970, “All-Union Population Census” badges became lightweight and had simplified range of colors. Thus, Model 1970 badge made of anodized aluminum was covered with dark red enamel, map of the USSR had lighter shade of red, while inner part of truncated circle was white. All inscriptions and raised elements were gilt. Mintmark of the Leningrad Mint – “ЛМД” – was placed at the lower part of the reverse with pebbled surface. Approximately 662,000 Model 1970 badges were manufactured.
Model 1979 badge was instituted by the Central Statistical Administration of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Badges made of anodized aluminum were covered with dark blue enamel, inner part of truncated circle remained white, map of the USSR was red. All inscriptions and raised elements were gilt. Two types of the badge in question, both with pebbled surface of reverse, differed in mintmarks: either that of the Leningrad Mint (“ЛМД”) or that of the Leningradskij-Emalier Artel, or Lenemalier (“ЛЭ”). Approximately 750,000 Model 1979 “All-Union Population Census” badges were manufactured.
Model 1989 badge instituted by the State Committee for Statistics (Goskomstat) had the most simplified design amongst all the “All-Union Population Census” badges. Made of anodized aluminum, it was covered with paint instead of enamel. The badge was white, inner part of truncated circle was light blue, map of the USSR was red. All inscriptions and raised elements remained gilt. Lower part of reverse with pebbled surface bore mintmark of the Leningrad Mint. Approximately 720,000 Model 1989 “All-Union Population Census” badges were manufactured.