You need to be a subscriber to join the conversation. Shockingly, the Soviet Union encouraged tourism within its borders. It was here that young citizens got their first taste of Soviet ideology and were introduced to exemplary children like Pavlik Morozov — murdered by his own family because he informed on them to the secret police. Matthew. 1 decade ago. It is the juxtaposition of shots that drives emotion and makes a movie unique. In the 1970s, Soviet leaders began to set up recycling services that were extensive for the time, even if most people took a while to use them. It was considered a kind of derogatory statement about your driver's competence to wear one. Unemployment, racism, apartheid, the plight of the coal miners were all used to predict the imminent collapse of capitalism and triumph of Marxism. The Bolsheviks, organized in 1903, were led by Vladimir I. Lenin, and they argued for a tightly disciplined organization of professional revolutionaries who were governed by democratic centralism and were dedicated to achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. My father (German) sent 8 years as political prisoner in Vorkuta/Siberia. But their number was incredibly small, mainly confined to elitists and people in prison. In a way, the Soviet filmmakers invented modern cinema. Throughout its history, the Soviet Union had strict drug control, which became more repressive over time. It’s debatable how much of a right this actually was, but Soviet suffrage was attractive to some Western feminists. I don't feel the same way; but here, in no particular order, are 25 things that in some way capture the strangeness of that vanished place and time. The perceived rights of women in the USSR influenced suffrage movements in the West. This included strict bans on opiates. A photo posted by alina_mcd (@mcd604) on Jul 27, 2016 at 3:41am PDT. The effectiveness of the Soviet education system is clear from the number of great scientists and mathematicians that came out of the country. The two countries forged an alliance that continued throughout the Cold War and allowed India to stay independent. Meaning, "little birch tree", a Beryozka was a special shop, open only to foreigners and to Soviet citizens who had hard currency to spend. Both of … In the Soviet Union, there were no piles of corpses or dismembered bodies on television. But it did place the Soviet Union at the forefront of reproductive rights at the time. It was not until 1936 that another European country caught up to the Soviet Union. Many products manufactured in the Soviet Union were of low quality. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was little information about what was happening inside of the empire. Stranger Things goes to some new places this season, and for the most part, it's successful. Rulers died and were replaced by upper members of the communist party who may have had different ideas of the future but still kept the union shrouded in secrecy. The Soviet Union's great respect for writers was expressed paradoxically in the efforts it took to crush them. This reduced the amount of waste produced by the average citizen and compared favorably to other industrial countries. He never had … For most of the Soviet years, people reused their bags or used their own containers when shopping for food. On the plus side, the Russian government of the Czarist era was a terrible system. Third, it allowed workers to rest and recover from their jobs, which was meant to ensure peak production when they returned to work. Major cities such as Moscow also had easy-to-use metro systems, which had some of the most beautiful stops in the world. Plastic bags did not appear until the 1980s. The minor economy of the tsarist era was transformed into an industrial powerhouse that rivaled other first-world countries. Since its demise two decades ago, much has been written about its origin, and its politics, economics, and history more broadly. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes. The Soviet Union was one of the most repressive and deadly regimes in history, and many outright atrocities were committed against the Soviet people through the years. During the Soviet regime, plastic was rarely used in consumer goods. Soviet citizens also had access to glass recycling centers that sometimes paid them to return glass bottles. The failure of the command economy meant that consumer goods from the West were coveted by many Russians. During the Stalin era, the Soviet Union underwent a massive industrialization process. Although the Soviet public transit system was slow and uncomfortable at times, it became a huge part of Soviet life. The Soviet Union had made an alliance with Germany and had even worked together with them to defeat Poland. Most of these new users were young people who saw drugs as a way to imitate Western culture. Overall, the Soviet Union industrialized at a faster rate than any other country previously had, which improved the lifestyles of its citizens. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Belarus had 22 universities. The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Most people in the Soviet Union did not own cars, which meant that the government had to offer public transit for its citizens out of necessity. by Bruce A. Clark. Part of the compelling aesthetic of the USSR was the absence of consumer advertising. Driving the best Soviet cars, holidaying in the most desirable Black Sea resorts, they enjoyed privileges that seem modest beside those of today's Russian elite. "Ne nado," would be the first thing a taxi driver said to you when you took your seat and reached for the seat belt. I found myself strangely gripped by the exploits of a heroic collective farm worker in the Don region. A lazy but not totally inaccurate parallel would be Bob Dylan. They also, you know, allied with Nazi Germany and provided all the materials to run the Nazi war machine until Hitler broke that off. “What about the good parts of the Soviet Union” is no different than saying “what about the good parts of fascist Italy”. At the time, this was a limited right, only applying in cases where the mother’s life was in jeopardy. Plastic bottles were also uncommon, with most bottles made of glass and easily recyclable. Suddenly, you had access to private life of ordinary Soviet people, snoring, drinking tea, padding up and down train corridors and occasionally lecturing you on the superiority of their country (see above). Russians ar great people, they cannot be measured at this scum of a political system. The reforms implemented by President Mikhail Gorbachev and the backlash against them hastened the demise of the Soviet state. The incomprehensibilty of the USSR's political arrangements to people in the West was typified by the practice of trying to determine who was in or out of power by seeing where senior party members [see below] were standing for the May Day parade in Red Square. However, one of the most important things that the Soviet regime did for its country was to bring it into the modern world. Later, universal reproductive rights were reestablished. His songs, on pirated cassettes, were the ubiquitous musicial accompaniment to life in the the old USSR. "L L Bean!" But it did result in essentially drug-free neighborhoods. To this end, they spent money and time aiding third-world countries in their battles for independence against colonial forces. was his memorable opening salutation. In one of his films, he placed a shot of a man with a blank face between various images, such as bowls of soup and dead babies. The lack of consumer products inspired extraordinary resourcefulness among Soviet citizens: television aerials made out of forks, a bath-plug made out of a boot heel, a road sign recycled as a shovel. Soviet law guaranteed all citizens a free education regardless of their social standing or income. Soviet abortion policy was seen as following Leninist ideologies, which promoted the idea that a woman should not be forced to have an unwanted baby. Somehow, she was always icy to begin with and then cracked to show an unexpected warmth that made you wonder what this whole Cold War was all about, anyway. But even the worst governments may do something right. 1928 a Five year plan was instigated to build a socialist economy. In this way, it lagged far behind other countries in Europe. What was good and what was bad about the Soviet Union? Fortunately, some are preserved in the two branches of the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow and St Petersburg. The fear of having women become Soviet sympathizers was one of the many reasons that women were granted the right to vote in the US and other Western countries. Like many things in the Soviet Union, reproductive rights suffered during the Stalin era. In 1964, Alfred Hitchcock praised this technique, calling it the essence of filmmaking. In 1945 Estonians formed 97% of the population, but by 1989 their share of the population had fallen to 62%. Vouchers to Sochi were given either in the winter or the summer. Yes, incredibly, the USSR had its own video games: clunky, largely war or ice-hockey themed, they did not do much to rival Atari, but they had their own charm. They controlled these governments. This attitude has, happily, vanished. Generally, it got people where they needed to go. But Eisenstein’s films used different shot lengths and the juxtaposition of different images to drive the narrative in his movies, making them interesting and exciting for audiences. The education plan covered all costs of attending school, including textbooks and school supplies. Meaning "self-published", this was the term for painstakingly copied works of dissident literature that were circulated among the heartwarmingly large circle of people who cared about books. By law, women in the Soviet Union had the same employment opportunities as men and tended to work in jobs that Western women couldn’t. Despite all the damage it had suffered, the Soviet Union was still the greatest power in Europe after World War II. But it generally allowed these countries to gain independence that they otherwise would not have achieved. The ubiquity of military uniforms was a constant reminder that you were in the hostile territory of a heavily armed country that regarded you as the decadent bourgeois excrescence of a corrupt and doomed economic system. New mothers also received free maternity leave as part of the Soviet health insurance system. I sold a pair of Bo Jackson crosstrainers to a man who really wanted the jacket I was wearing from a US clothing catalogue and which he had spotted from about 100 yards. The impact of his work is seen all through the film industry today. Over time, abortions became increasingly commonplace in the Soviet Union, with most women having at least one during their lifetimes. Favourite answer. One of the most profound examples of help occurred when the Soviets provided support for India’s independence. This theory spawned the film art of editing, which is still influential today. For a country that had huge issues with environmental contamination, the Soviet Union and its puppet states had a large-scale recycling program for their citizens. Of course, the news wasn’t all good. The supernatural elements you've come to expect are still present — there are superpowers and monsters from beyond the edge of the world — but the line between friend and foe, between human and monster, is blurred. The lengths the Central Committee went to keep secrets was insane, even trying to cover up the world’s worst nuclear disaster from western powers and thos… Published during Ronald Regan’s presidency in 1983, when the U.S. and Soviet Union were “still locked in the Cold War”, Goldstein’s book provides a plethora of historic information and recipes on Russian cuisine, featuring everything from borsch to blini. Soviet Union seems like a beast from the Western world and many people had a sigh of relief when it collapsed. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Soviet films were one of the high points of the regime, but it is impossible to overstate how important those films were to modern filmmaking. There was a certain predictability about it. Full disclosure: I haven't read it. It was partly because Marcuse believed that the Soviet Union still contained some good (or true) Marxism that he believed it was still capable of reforming itself. The arrivals lounges of Soviet airports had a distinct smell: the strong cardboard tipped cigarettes, papirosy, that were smoked everywhere. I think the greatest gift of the Soviet Union to modern civilization was the dethronement of the clergy and the refusal to let religion be taught in the public schools.” ― W.E.B. Whatever you gave someone — a Ramones badge or a Scottish flag or something you picked up from the Happy Eater — in return, you would almost certainly get Lenin. But that was nothing compared to some of the sick things the Soviet Union got up to. The dark side of this aid was that Soviet foreign policies were just as colonial as Western policies. Find out more, The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Du Bois, The Autobiography of W.E.B. Some are real and some have to do with the “war against communism” that worried U.S. capitalism so much. Inexplicable desires for useless things like “freedom” and “justice” ran rampant, and no one could explain why. Although many of their rights were given out of necessity, Soviet women had more opportunity in employment and politics than Western women for most of the 20th century. The Soviet Union began Russification, with hundreds of thousands of Russians and people of other Soviet nationalities being induced to settle in Estonia, which eventually threatened to turn Estonians into a minority in their own land. Answer Save. Between 1945 and 1948 the Soviets set up Communist governments in these countries. Audiences praised the actor’s subtle performance in demonstrating different emotions like sadness or hunger, even though his face never changed. Aid often took the form of weaponry and technical help for warring nations. Stationed at a desk on each floor of a hotel, the dezhurnaya, who was always female, kept an eye on guests, maintained order and was the person you had to speak to get soap, toilet paper, a bath plug, or book an international call. However, jumping right into Soviet watches implies 2 different things: (1) Russian watches weren’t really a thing pre-soviet union and (2) There weren’t really any precipitous events that informed the creation, function, and implication of Russian watches worth noting. Unlike other countries at the time, this education extended to college and postgraduate work. The Soviet Union emphasized education, especially in science and engineering. The current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has declared his deep regret at the break-up of the Soviet Union. The Soviet rail system was also excellent. Many of them are living in the Soviet Union, and it is a shame that they are unable to tell us about themselves. The elite of the Soviet Union were all members of the Communist Party. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century In the United States, people have heard of the bad things about the Soviet Union. The handsome actor and gravel-voiced troubadour died at 42 in 1980. Soviet policies focused on criminalization of drug use and did not do much with drug rehabilitation or addiction recovery. Even tiny provincial towns had a subsidized Dom Kultury to spread improving culture among the citizenry and - presumably - discourage drinking. Older movies generally had long shots that did not use different editing styles. My mother was really involved with the Refusenik campaign with Soviet Union Jews. While ordinary shops were bare of goods, the Beryozki were a weird cornucopia of caviar, Toblerone and VHS tapes. That was the year that Iceland legalized abortions. 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