Red October (Красный Октябрь) is an internationally renowned Russian confectionary that predated and outlasted the Soviet Union. The factory began in 1850, when German national Theodore Ferdinand von Einem immigrated to Moscow. Just one year later, he open a small confectionery on the Arbat. Then called Einem, it produced chocolate and glazed fruits, which soon proved incredibly popular. By 1913, Einem and a partner, Julius Heiss, expanded into 23-building waterfront factory that was honored with the privilege to serve sweets to the Tsar and his court.

Business boomed at the Einem factory through World War I. In addition to traditional confections, the partners also produced, under government contract, cookies and high-caffeinated chocolate for airmen and submariners. The facility was one of the first nationalized after the Communists took power in 1917. Production was temporarily halted, but resumed two years later under the name “State Confectionery Factory Number 1, Formerly Einem.” In 1922, its name was changed to “Red October,” the name it retains today. 

Production at Red October soon surpassed that of Einem’s. Mishka Kosolapy (Мишка косолапый, chocolate covered waffles with praline filling), Gold Label (Золотой ярлык, considered the “champagne of chocolate”), and Guards (Гвардейский, caffeinated chocolate not to be sold to children) were incredibly popular. During World War II, the factory produced war-time rations and, again, caffeinated chocolate. The State Defense Committee awarded the factory with an honorary flag for their war efforts.

Today, Red October still produces a range of over 500 sweets. They have also moved to new facilities outside of Moscow. The original factory, now a sprawling collection of brick buildings just over the river from Christ the Savior cathedral in central Moscow, is now an urban revitalization project, housing cafes, clubs, art galleries, hostels, second hand stores, media offices, and even a architecture school.


Red October: the best moment of your life.


A report on the redevelopment of the Red October chocolate factory and the controversy that surrounded it.


An advertisement for the redeveloped factory – which now rents space to multiple business.

Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.