Pre-revolutionary Russia, Russia before 1917, had no domestic camera industry. The small Russian optical industry was dominated by foreigners and all cameras, paper and accessories were imported. The Soviet camera industry emerged in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These years saw great social unrest, due to the Bolshevik revolution and the ensuing civil war, which cost millions of Russians their lives and completely disrupted society.

But It was also a period of experimentation. After the revolution of October 1917, artists were given a free hand and even played an important role in politics. Artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Popova, Rodchenko and El Lissitzky were appointed high officials by the revolutionary state and for a short period they were able to bend Russian art policy to their will. But before long, the Bolshevik rulers began to mistrust them. They set them aside first to persecute them in later years and often kill them.

In 1923, a year before Lenin's death, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was officially established. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin began his seizure of power and was able to expand his power. Stalin had unscrupulous plans to change the Soviet Union from an agricultural state into an industrial state. The first Soviet cameras were produced during Stalin's pursuit of Russia's industrial and economic transformation in the 20's and early 30's of the 20th century