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Those who grew up in the Soviet Union, what was it like? And would you go back if you could?

“Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains” – Vladimir Putin

I’m just going to throw my two cents in here. Comments are encouraged.

Ten years ago, I did business with a Russian company. We were in partnership. They were the nicest, most friendly and accommodating people I have ever done business with. And ultra smart.

When I told people I was working with a Russian company, people continually warned me I would be swindled. Nothing remotely like that ever happened. It was unfortunately not profitable, but they were professionals to the very end.

What gives?

Edit: I also want to add that I find Soviet/USSR engineering language and traditions to be almost surreal. I’ll never understand how they got a potato to do digital signal processing.

Born in 1980. It was safe and stable but boring. Limited choice of clothing, very few people owned cars, new tech such as VHS players arrived very late, so far a few years I was the only one in my circle of friends who had one at home. Had a few tapes of Tom&Jerry cartoons and some Bruce Lee flicks. State TV programming mostly sucked although today we are nostalgic about some childhood cartoons. Disney series starting to appear on state TV once a week was a huge thing. Certain Hollywood movies also made it to our cinemas, such as The flight of the navigator, Spartacus and King Kong. Flights were very cheap and so was public transport in general. Books were my main entertainment. Officials in charge of trade and by extension distribution of highly sought after goods were the kings of the land. The system was good for the majority but ruthless to those who were even slightly different, such as left-handed people who were being forced to switch.

Edit: No, no way I’d go back.

An ex girlfriend of mine grew up in the USSR right at the end of it (she’s in her mid 30s). She was a child when it came crashing down. She lived there until her family immigrated to the USA in the mid to late 1990s when Clinton I guess was allowing the families of Holocaust victims in to the USA, because of guilt for the US turning many away during the War. She and her family although not prating Jews (being that many Soviets are atheists) still received some hate from others in her home country for being Jewish. Her ethnicity on her passport / birth certificate coming to the US listed her race / nationality as Jewish. Which is a bit strange. Her family was poor. She remembered going to school as a kid and around New Years they would do a kind of holiday thing with Father Winter (I guess like Soviet Santa), except for everyone. It was a hard life.

But that’s one of the things we connected on. I am a big History buff, specifically the World Wars (and even more Specifically the war between Nazi Germany / and its Allies vs. the Soviet Union), and did a thesis on one of her neighboring Soviet Countries that was / is experiencing some turmoil. So we clicked a lot on that, among other things.

I grew up in the USSR in the late 80s. It was a surreal experience, hardly explainable to anybody from the West. Every kid had the same set of toys, for example. Somebody had more, somebody had fewer, but they were all from the set of toys that economic planners approved (some were rare and nearly impossible to find unless you had connections). The same food in every shop, the same prices. The same car models for decades (you were very lucky if you could have a car, though). Full scale communist propaganda from cradle to grave; endless stories about Lenin in elementary school. The Soviet sci-fi was great, though; we really loved these books. If you were living somewhere, you could rarely move (and most certainly it was nearly impossible to get to Moscow, if you weren’t from there in the first place). No knowledge at all about what life in Western countries looked like; all foreign movies and books were heavily censored, to show only the bad side. Shitty food. Boring TV. Small apartments in blocky housing, like 40 square meters for the family of 4-5. Do I miss it? Not exactly.