Kazakh Students write about former Soviet Union
Aidana: When my parents got married, they had to buy wedding rings in the special shop going through the special registration, because there’s no such things in free market. They had along time searching champaign and fruits for wedding party. Also, my father said that having money (a lot of money) in your pocket meant nothing if you hadn’t good connections in shops.
Sergey: During end of 1980 and beginning of 1990 was very hard time for people. USSR collapsed…during this time we could see crowds of people stood to buy something, they spent a lot of time in crowd. And everything was very expensive. People were fighted for goods. People were rude with each other, impolite.
Marat: My father used to stay in line for car for almost 5 years. He was 1500 in line and he didn’t get it.
Askar: The production during 1920s and 30s boosted. However, this was because people believed in Soviets and were very enthusiastic about their future. The war brought severe destructions. After the WWII it was too burdensome system.
Alen: My parents say that they had to stand in line without knowing what is being sold. People used to buy anything so later on they could exchange these goods to another ones. Among people they used to say, “What did they throw out this time?”
Yernur: During this hard time [1930s], during time of deficit, my granny and her sister, in order not to die from hunger, had to sell very expensive carpets for 1 bowl of rice. She said that it was a very hard time, because their parents were repressed.
Yevgeniya: Soviet period was a time of deficit for everything and books were not exception. People go up at 4 in order to stand in line near the bookshop in order to get the book, which name they even didn’t know. They just knew that seller will give some books with the limited quantity. The biggest misfortune was a situation when you was coming at that moment, the seller told that all books were up. As a result you had a sleepless night, tireness of legs and no book in your hands.
Dalida: Jeans was prohibited product and you could buy them only by black market. Cost of jeans was near 100 roubles. When you wanted to buy them and go to sellers you could be deceived and buy only one part of jeans. Therefore you have seen that they are ok, sellers showed you good jeans, but in your package there was only one part of jeans and sellers selled second part to another man.
Aibek: Because of centralized economy government set prices for bread lower than for grass for animal so some people feed their animals with bread because of chip price. However, some people who sold jeans were considered as a high treasoners and jailed. When my father were in school, he said that they had only three kind of coats so all school was wearing same shoes and coats.
Irina: Sometimes such goods as jeans was possible to buy in such shops as “Berezka” but again it was necessary to stay in line.
Alexey: As I heared, in times of Krushev, when he went to America, he spoke with leader and the leader said that they growing corn. Because it is very expensive and profitable to grow it. When Krushev came back from America, he immediately arrived in Almaty and everywhere in free spaces, in mountains, instead of other crops, he began to grown corn, a lot of corn. And it was really, very very big surplus of corn for people and there were too little other crops.