Sunday, March 30, 2014

What was life like for average people in a dissolving Soviet Union?

What happens during the slow death of a nation?
I remember that the society was split in two. There was a small fraction of people driving expensive cars, and the rest of us standing in lines to pack ourselves into a bus. The crime, such as racketeering and robberies on the street, was almost uncontrolled. You couldn't walk home on a dark street without looking behind you. When the war in Chechnya broke out, things got even worse. The government could no longer control anything, so people had to organize citizens' patrols around their apartment buildings to make sure that nobody that they don't know walked into their building or planted any explosives in it, etc. The Russian currency wasn't worth much at that time either. I don't remember what the inflation rate was like, but I remember that we used US $ or traded stuff (I'll give you two bottles of vodka if your lend me your horse for two hours) instead of Russian rubles. I think the older generation was genuinely surprised at how quickly things changed and at what happened, and the younger generation with kids did everything they could to ensure their children were okay.
The realization that Socialism isn't working. Loss of control.  Letting people grow their own food since a Command Economy doesn't work.

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