In 1934, the Soviets Tupolev ANT-20, Maxim Gorky, first took to the skies. The eight-engine plane was about the same size as a Boeing 747. Named after its designer, aeronautical engineer Andrei Tupolev, the marvel was similar to the plane Hugo Junkers. The plane's nickname, "Maxim Gorky," was after his work.
Premier Joseph Stalin had recently taken over Moscow and had a plan to bring the country into the modern era. To pay for it all, the USSR took grain harvests, leaving their people starving.
The Soviet people were forced to relocate to collective farms where food was low, and famine was their new reality. The lack of food eventually caused the death of millions.
To the outside world, the Soviet Union was just restructuring. No one knew much about the gulag system or its toll on the people. Stalin had put together an excellent disinformation campaign. However, he decided to take it further and spread further propaganda. Stalin wanted to display just how far the country had advanced in the military and sciences.
The world was captivated by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. People loved hearing about new advances in aviation, which made it the perfect time to show off the ANT-20.
The Maxim Gorky was the USSR's crowning jewel, which already had the perfect place in a world thoroughly enamored with airplanes. Stalin was the grandfather of Soviet aviation.
The ANT-20 was built to spread propaganda and even had a printing press on board to eliminate the need to stop and pick up more pamphlets. Its mission was to fly around the Soviet Union to show off everything the communist country had accomplished thus far.
With the victory lap, the plane would be able to send news agencies statements, and they planned to project messages in the clouds. It could also make 10,000 copies of whatever Stalin wanted to say.
The grand plan did not stop there, however. It would also be able to show films in the clouds while flying. It could also play music or the news loud enough that the people below could hear it.
The people lapped up the plan. People desperately wanted to see the plane and would wait for days in the bitter cold. The plane was a symbol of the progress the new government made for the country.