Of all museums in Bishkek, the Frunze Museum is probably the richest in Soviet memorabilia and paraphernalia. The building is covered with images of common workers revolting against the privileged classes, Soviet soldiers, and the sickle and hammer symbol of Soviet Russia.
The museum is dedicated to and named for a local hero of Bishkek, Mikhail Frunze. He was a leader during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, who later became a Major Red Army Commander. Although Frunze was not of Kyrgyz ethnicity, he was born in Bishkek to Russian and Romanian parents. He spent 10 years in a prison in Siberia, from which he escaped, and is most famous for the key role he played in the defeat of Baron Wrangel in Crimea in 1920.
The building where the Frunze Museum is located was built after Frunze’s death, around the cottage where the revolutionary was born and raised. The museum’s three floors display all sorts of items from Frunze’s life: his uniforms and weapons, books he read, books he wrote, black-and-white pictures of Frunze with various Soviet figures and with his family, newspaper cut-outs reporting his military successes, and so on.
Of note, there are several documents of Soviet propaganda, a large painting of Frunze with Lenin discussing military plans, a horse-drawn cart with a machine gun mounted on it, and a larger-than-life bronze statue of the Bolshevik leader.
Know Before You Go
The house is locked, but the museum staff will open it for visitors. It is fully furnished and the rooms are carefully cordoned off, but it is possible to walk through the corridor and take photos. Most of the informative signs are only in Kyrgyz and Russian, but there is still plenty to see, making the museum a worthwhile visit for English speakers as well.