U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-05-2012, 01:02 PM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,496,336 times
Reputation: 624

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth-Kaunda View Post
Ok, just to change tack for a minute.

how do you think life was for the average citizen in say the 70's, 80's and 90's?

I mean, what were the wages like, and how about the healthcare, education, leisure, shopping, housing, crime , and general happiness of the people?

I've found it very hard to find unbiased books, info on these things.
If you read about realities of life in Soviet Union you'd think it must be biased - it was so bad. Not as bad as in anotger communist nightmare North Korea but bad.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-05-2012, 05:44 PM
 
19,028 posts, read 15,853,445 times
Reputation: 8292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Reagan didn't win the Cold War, that's just Reaganist propaganda. That oversimplifies the picture to a ridiculous degree.

The Soviet economy was already stagnating in the 70's, which, given it's oil resources, shouldn't have happened in the aftermath of the Arab Oil Embargo, when oil prices went sky-high.
You are right about that one, although back in the seventies it was still not so noticeable - the problems became obvious by the mid 80ies, even in Moscow that was supplied better than other cities.

Quote:
Economists at that time were already meeting in secret to try to figure out what the problem was. Gorbachev instituted a policy of Openness (Glasnost'), so that economists would no longer have to meet in secret, and the problem could be analyzed, discussed, and, he hoped, resolved, above-board.
The way I see it, they couldn't resolve anything without a very vital point that they didn't dare to change, because it was essential to Communist ideology. The Soviet economy ( on earlier stages already) needed the private sector, and needed it badly - that would have alleviated the pressure of absence of decent clothing, shoes, furniture - things that makes life easier and more enjoyable. The government could have kept the control over the natural resources and heavy industry all they wanted, but the light industry should have been privatized long time ago, HOWEVER; however there was this major obstacle; not that the private property was totally obsolete, but the ideology ( left by earlier Bolsheviks) was totally prohibiting the use of a "hired labor" - that is hired privately, not by the government. That was already falling under the definition of "exploitation." ( At least this point has been brought to me by one of the older posters on the Russian forum.) If not for this particular point, ( which of course was one of the main obstacles to creation of the private sector that USSR badly needed,) they could patch up the system and kept it going for indefinite time. The nineties were the real opportunity to make this vital change, but the events took a different turn.


Quote:
I think there was enough inefficiency built into the planned economy, that even without Cold War expenses, the system would have collapsed eventually. It never did thrive, though people of the 60's and 70's generation say the standard of living was better, people were able to buy cars (after being put on a factory waiting list for 10 years), and have a decent standard of living. It was still absurdly behind the West, especially European countries, which like the Soviet system, offered free health care and university education.
Quite honestly I don't think that Russians ever needed the same standards of material prosperity as small European countries had - Russians had other perks and joys in their life, like huge spaces, wilderness and really it's not a material- oriented culture in its core. It produces ( rather used to produce) a great deal of gifted people in science, art, sports - you name it.) Just the improvement of quality of life overall - the absence of food shortages, medical equipment in hospitals, light industry, quality of life in villages - that was of course long overdue.)

Quote:
What I read was that the Berlin Wall came down due to a mistranslation of a statement Gorbachev made while being interviewed on the radio in Berlin. What the public heard was that Germany was free, or Russia would no longer dominate, or something of that nature, and the public went wild. That started a sort of domino effect throughout the Eastern Bloc.
Ugghh... sorry I don't think there were any "accidents" there - Gorbachev was holding negotiations with Western leaders for quite some time - Germans in particular. He needed money for his plans of economy reconstructions and East Germany was one of the bargaining cards.

Quote:
The USSR didn't unravel due to the ethnic issue.
No, of course not. In fact I still think that Soviet model in this respect was more advanced than American model.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-05-2012, 05:50 PM
 
19,028 posts, read 15,853,445 times
Reputation: 8292
Quote:
Originally Posted by RememberMee View Post
Unstoppable spread of the western consumerist goals & meanings among soviet citizenry is the reason #1, Soviet "elite' " betrayal of the Soviet project/state is the distant reason #2, everything else is quite secondary.
I think you've got it all wrong; "Soviet "elite' " betrayal of the Soviet project/state" - better to say "part of Soviet Elite" was the reason number one and "Unstoppable spread of the western consumerist goals & meanings among soviet citizenry" was coming as a distant #2.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-05-2012, 05:59 PM
 
19,028 posts, read 15,853,445 times
Reputation: 8292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth-Kaunda View Post
Ok, just to change tack for a minute.

how do you think life was for the average citizen in say the 70's, 80's and 90's?

I mean, what were the wages like, and how about the healthcare, education, leisure, shopping, housing, crime , and general happiness of the people?
The life of the average citizen varied greatly if you compare the 70ies with the 90ies; the real turning point came in the mid-late eighties I'd say, with Gorbachev and his policies. They were not well thought-through, ( a lot of hindering and delays on his part,) in general I'd say they came as "too little and too late," and therefore brought the collapse of the system.
Don't believe the younger folks, they wouldn't know much about the 60ies or 70ies in order to compare them with the 80ies or 90ies - only hearsay, but I am old enough to remember.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-07-2012, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
317 posts, read 799,074 times
Reputation: 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
What I read was that the Berlin Wall came down due to a mistranslation of a statement Gorbachev made while being interviewed on the radio in Berlin. What the public heard was that Germany was free, or Russia would no longer dominate, or something of that nature, and the public went wild. That started a sort of domino effect throughout the Eastern Bloc.
Actually it was not Gorbachev but an E. German politician, Guenter Schabowski, who made the statement in question and inadvertently opened the Wall.

Also, the “domino effect” started long before that. Poland and Hungary had already dumped their Communist governments several months before the events in East Germany.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2012, 12:23 AM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,496,336 times
Reputation: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
It is quite impressive how you can generalize about Russia based on this particular fellow and his family.

That silliness aside I think it is not a good idea in general to judge the views of a country based on emigrants from that country, at least not uncritically. People who are choosing to leave often have quite a different outlook and different priorities than people who are choosing to stay.
It is unbelievable how he caught Soviet reality by observing just one Russian fellow. In Soviet Russia everybody was stealing, people generally did not make much money so stealing from an employer was a socially approved way of sumplementing your income. Also typical for the Soviets lack of work ethics. Unbelievable.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2012, 12:26 AM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,496,336 times
Reputation: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
I think you've got it all wrong; "Soviet "elite' " betrayal of the Soviet project/state" - better to say "part of Soviet Elite" was the reason number one and "Unstoppable spread of the western consumerist goals & meanings among soviet citizenry" was coming as a distant #2.
And not the fact that communism, from Russia to North Korea and China, is a totalitarian utopia withouth any chance for success ?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2012, 02:46 AM
 
5,190 posts, read 4,368,019 times
Reputation: 1103
just a slight change of direction, but how about places like Cuba, Vietnam and Venezuela?

didn't they copy the Soviet model, although you'd be hard pushed to say the Viet was truly Red these days, and Venezuela seems more socialist than communist.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2012, 09:52 AM
 
11,368 posts, read 46,978,471 times
Reputation: 15435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
It is quite impressive how you can generalize about Russia based on this particular fellow and his family.

That silliness aside I think it is not a good idea in general to judge the views of a country based on emigrants from that country, at least not uncritically. People who are choosing to leave often have quite a different outlook and different priorities than people who are choosing to stay.
While I took the time to describe the one couple in detail, what I didn't expand on was that I'd had a fair amount of contact with others in their community due to the wife's job ... the two of them were always pressing me to come by for a meal, perhaps a drink at the place where she worked.

So I got to meet about 100 more of their recent compatriots. I got to listen to their exploits ... to the extent that I could because they were generally speaking a hodgepodge of their native language and yet trying to communicate with me in English, practicing their skills. I got to hear of many similar tales to what I'd experienced as the fellows would express their concern over being able to pay bills because they'd been fired from yet another job and needed money. Generally, because I was made known to them as the "boss" of their friend, they were looking to me to come up with money or a job or whatever would ease their situation. They universally expected that I was connected enough that I was going to be able to get them a job that paid well for as little work as possible.

The only time I saw any initiative out of this group was when I was moving my shop to a new location, and needed manual labor to get the job done. I hired a group of 10 to do this in a weekend, and they were pretty good at organizing how to do this as long as I was standing there and directing what was to be moved and where. As you can understand, I couldn't be in both shops at once. My wife commented later that when I wasn't there, the guys were generally on a smoke break (all very heavy smokers!) and moved in slow motion, if at all. If a truck was loaded and I wasn't there to direct the driver to head over to the other shop, the guys stood around and waited for the next task. One of them was a bit more on top of things than that, playing the role of "straw boss" ... but it became apparent that the role was to be his way of not having to do the heavy lifting.

I can only relate what I know for fact and experience with a sizable group of people that came to my town.

If you've got other contact and personal experience that's different than mine, post it. I'll enjoy reading another perspective about how life in the Soviet economy was for these people.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2012, 05:19 PM
 
19,028 posts, read 15,853,445 times
Reputation: 8292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
No, the problem in my opinion was not the size, it was the message sent to the peoples. In the US there has historically been this message to the have-nots (who were disenfranchised either due to poverty or due to being the "wrong" ethnicity) "if you save up/assimilate/work hard/be a loyal American/etc. you may someday be accepted, your children may have a better life, you may one day live the American dream. Hang in there!" Whereas in the USSR there was this message to the disenfranchised people "You are the true people of this country! Learn your language in the school! Have pride in your state!" Of course then there is the dissonance between what the government is telling you and the reality of the situation, which is that neither you nor your state have any control.
This certainly describes the Soviet Union on its last stage, but not in the previous years. The state/government was firmly in control, be that enforced ideology or resources to keep the system going.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:41 AM.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top