Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Minsk, Belarus | C.1952

Photo Credit: Nikita Yarosh

Behind a striking set of neoclassical columns, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Minsk conducts state affairs involving the fields of agriculture, fisheries, food production, and veterinary medicine. Since its early origins, the organization has been witness to a fair share of major historical events including a rumored assassination attempt.

In the early 20th century, Belarus – especially its capital city of Minsk – was caught in the crossfire of political upheavals. In the aftermath of WW1, the war-torn region declared itself the Belarus People’s Republic, but their independent state was short-lived. In 1919, the Red Army invaded and within a few years declared Minsk a founding republic of the USSR.

This ushered in an era of USSR programs of reconstruction. In 1929, The People’s Commissariat of Agriculture of the USSR was formed, a state body responsible for planning and managing agricultural production. After years of operation and following the onset of WW2, the entity was renamed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in 1946.

Six years later, the Ministry received its stunning new building. Designed to resemble buildings on Moscow’s famed Mokhovaya Street, architect P. Ivanov constructed a prime example of “Stalinist neoclassicism”, a term used to reflect architectural style prominent in the USSR from the 1930s to 1950s.

In 1962, the Ministry found itself in the spotlight. Amid public unrest due to rising food prices, the foreign press revealed information about an assasination attempt on General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, which allegedly took place during an agriculture meeting at the Ministry. Ultimately, the leaked information, which alluded that the political leader was wounded in the shoulder, turned out to be false.

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