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Soviet "Planned Economy" Created Different Everyday Habits

Mar 3, 2008, 6:32 PM 0
Yekaterina “Clothes were bought in advance, when I was 1 year old, my parents and grandparents bought clothes for a 14 year old.  Some food products were diluted with water (e.g. milk, sour cream). Sometimes scales didn’t work properly (on purpose) so that people paid more money for less amount of a good gotten.

 Yerboiat “There were principle of “First come, first served.”  If you want to buy good (a luxury good, necessary good) we must be in wait in line.  This principle was widely spread in S.U.  Also my parents said that there were shortage of supermarkets, restaurants and for all services.  Also if you want to go to restaurant or café or hotel we must order that restaurant before you go there.  There were too much lines (cohered).   There were problems in Soviet Union.  At that time there were not like now, you can buy everything you want.  But at that time was shortage of all goods and services.  In Soviet Union there were also planned economy.  I think it is not good idea and O make planned economy.  In my opinion planned economy is bad for society.  They don’t know which good or services need people.  They do by their own ideas.

 Meiram – In USSR at that time the amount of daily used products began to decrease, moreover some of the products disappeared from the market at all.  With the deficit began inflation.  Highly valued products began to rise in price.  As my parents say they tried “to survive” so they used to consume home made products.  Mom baked bread and father cooked cookies and busquits.  I want to add that such products as “cryusenka” and other expensive goods concerned as “luxury” at that period.

 Yerik (added from first round) But for my parents it was not problem.  My grandparents lived in village about 70 km from city where my parents lived.  And my grandfather was shepherd.  Secondly, my mother was saleswoman in shop.  As I remember we had sugar.  But my father smokes.  He went to grandparents to get “mahorka” (coarse).  It was a big problem for dad.  After few years, he bought CAMEL… but it is another story.  I can only thank God.  In our days we have everything, you need work only.

 Azamat:  In the last year of Soviet period, my father told one interesting story about deficit of sweets.  When he went to the shop there was croudly, and some guy said take your place, but my father was a quickly man, and he was having without croud.  But I remember that we had not sugar always.  So, it was very hard period, I won’t wish it for my enemy.

 Aleksandra – My parents told me that in the 90s my mom’s uncle lived in Finland.  And my mom from time to time went to see him and she had been buying cheap products there (for example, dresses, cosmetics, bubble gums) and she sold all those products when she was back to Almaty.  For example, she bought a dress in Finland for 50 R. and sold it in Almaty for 300 R.  It’s a big benefit.Also, she told me that most of the people in USSR didn’t even know about some vegetables, that they actually do exist!!!  When she came to her uncles home for the first time, her uncle gave to my mom (cauliflower) and my mom didn’t know what it is.  In 90s people had good chance to make money if they had relatives abroad!!!

 Lyudmila – My Mom and Granny told that despite all other things, there was an awful deficit of shoes and boots, which is extremely important in all seasons.  And if someone saw a pair of shoes in shop, occasionally, they bought, no matter of size.  And sometimes people used shoes smaller or bigger than their actual size.  Or they exchanged with someone, who also got pair of shoes of irrelevant size.  And shoes were used for decades till they went to pieces.

 Laura – First of all, on the markets were the deficit of goods and service, because the production was very low.  The prices was not high, sometime the price of product could be lower than it cost of production, because the government used the price floor politics.  Nobody could sell the product at the price higher than price floor.  The demand was very high but supply was low, as a result deficit of goods.  Also, there were also the limit of imported goods.  The amount of imported goods was too little, that people didn’t even see goods from other countries.  It was the politics of “Iron Curtain” that is why in order to buy something in shop, there were long turns for products.  How to solve this problem:  When government intervenes in the economics, it is always inefficient.  To make situation better, the market should develop on his own.  Then the demand and supply, also prices will be natural.  There will be high supply of goods, no deficit would be there.

 Aliya:  They told me that there were just a few things on the shop’s shelve.  If there will be (for example) soap in the shop, people are trying to buy as much as they can, because they don’t know, when it will be available next time.  There was a strong deficit on almost everything.  Usually everyone bought products from their friends.

 Yuliya:  My parents told me that many times it was crowed in the shops it was a happiness to buy “blue chicken,” but during that times (sometimes) they could buy meat of wild animals and birds that today is unavailable.  And they cooked different, interesting dishes.  If speak about things for home, my parents buy it from different bases with help of friend who work in this places, it has name “blat.”

 Ruslan: My parents told me about Soviet Union a lot of thinks.  Everybody in that time have equal rights.  There are no poor or rich, how it is now. Also every Soviet people can travel in every Soviet country and for this they did not want to do a visa.  Also education and some thinks as medicine was be free and people must not pay a money for it.  In Soviet Union stay in supermarkets 3 or 4 hours only to buy milk or bread.  They did not have some stylish dress and shoes.  They buy the dress in such countries as Polska or Checkhoslovakia and only after half year they take it.

 Amir:  It happened to be that ones my mother was in a line for meat, and her turn came one older woman didn’t have enough money, so my mother gave some amount of it.  She told me, almost all people at that time had money, but there was little chance to buy something for them.  She said money for our family of that time were only pieces of paper, only some time they were helpful.  So it was better to give them to someone, who didn’t have enough for allowed goods.  In addition, people could buy only allowed amount of goods, for all family members, no more!!

 Askhat:  It is about deficit of clothes.  When I was a child, in our family we was four.  And for all us parents must to bought new clothes.  And in some holiday I went with my parents to buy for T-shirts.  And there will only few sizes.  And for me all of sizes was big.  And we didn’t buy anything.  And all three months, I wear only one, my favorite T-shirt.

 Altinay:  The most fascinating thing my mother has told me besides scarcity of available provision is the fact that people with children were given privilege in that incessant numbers of lines.  Most interestingly, they weren’t allowed to stand first in line because the wouldn’t be fair to their comrades.  If you came to a shop holding a child then the place had been already crowded with queues, you’d be proposed to stand fifth in a line.  Presumably, there were several people who developed a habit of taking children with them to stores.

 Aigerim:  My parents said me that USSR’s time was wonderful time, where all people were equal.  There wasn’t rich or poor people.  All have equality of rights, equality of strength, not like now.  My mother bought 4 white loaf of bread for 1 rouble.  I was in shock, when I knew about it.  I think USSR’s time is very interesting time, which full of mysteries.

 Absattarov (first name?) They remember the times when they used to pay for food with special card, and only those who were in the party could take those cards.  And in the period of USSR’s end, there was a great deficit, where the inflation rate was very high.  All of their family members worked for earning for their dinner.

 Aidina:  Then our parents had to go abroad for example to Russia, Moscow to buy furniture and etc. They hadn’t everything that we have now.  

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