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There have been three significant political protests in Moscow in the past few months, and each in their own way – and in their relation to each other – say a lot about the state of Russia today.

It’s not that great for the Kremlin.

But not for the reasons the Western media would have you believe.

moscow-protest-tverskaya-4

“He Is Not Dimon” / Navalny, March 26

This unsanctioned protest in response to Navalny’s video about Medvedev’s corruption gathered about 8,000 people, mostly young people and university students, with some seasoned color revolution veterans sprinkled in.

It also got by far the most Western coverage, even though 8,000 people is less than 0.1% of Moscow’s population.

This is reflected in Navalny’s poll numbers, which remain very low – firmly in the single digits, though in an election – on the off chance he is allowed to run – I suspect he might eke out as much as 10%, if he overperforms expectations as he did in the 2013 Moscow elections.

I am not going to write much more about Navalny and his protests, since I already have several blog posts about that. My goal here is to look at the alternatives on offer.

enough-protest

“Enough” / Khodorkovsky, April 29

That Navalny is head and shoulders above any other Westernist liberal figure is proved by the embarassingly low turnout at the “Enough” protests called for by Khodorkovsky’s “Open Russia” NGO.

There were perhaps 200 people there. As RT’s Bryan MacDonald noted, “I have honestly seen bigger crowds at bus stops in Russia than what has assembled for Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s march today.” Their guerilla advertising strategy – the graffiti in the photo above appeared on the sidewalk close to my apartment – evidently didn’t work out.

Khodorkovsky himself was quite sad about this, whining on May 1 that it is dangerous to “have a monopoly on opposition” in a transparent dig against Navalny. My advice to him would be just stick to what he does best, such as inserting anti-Putin op-eds into English language papers and single-handedly providing a living for about half the world’s Russia-specialized neocons.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that if Navalny’s anti-corruption populism at least enjoys some degree of mass appeal, Khodorkovsky doesn’t even have that. There just aren’t that many Russians outside a 100 meter radius of Echo of Moscow HQ willing to rise up on hearing the clarion call for more sanctions against their own country on the pages of Politico and The World Affairs Journal.

There wasn’t that much coverage of this protest in the West. I suppose it was just too humiliatingly small for it to be worth giving any further exposure.

khrushchevki-protests

Credit: George Malets, martin_camera

Anti-Khrushchevki Demolition Protest / Evgenia Vinokurova, May 14

In 1955, Khrushchev began a massive program of urban housing construction – an urgent priority at the time, what with the massive influx of peasants into the cities. On the plus side, the program succeeded, and the USSR consequently avoided the slums typical of the urbanizing Third World. On the negative side, these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed, both by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites) and even of the later Soviet apartment blocks of the 1970s-80s.

Moscow’s mayoralty has recently announced that renovating this housing stock is unfeasible, and it will instead be demolished over the course of the next ten years at a cost of 3.5 trillion rubles ($60 billion), or twice the city’s annual budget income. The current residents will be compensated with more modern housing, of which there is a surplus in the wake of the last construction bust. On paper, everyone will benefit: People will get apartments with working plumbing and internal wiring; the politically connected real estate lobby won’t lose money; and many officials will doubtless be enriched.

But not everyone is happy with this deal. Some have invested considerable amounts of money into renovating their apartments. Others have grown attached to their neighborhoods. Although khrushchevki are bottom tier housing stock, the districts that contain them do tend to have a certain verdant vibrancy to them. They are walkable, they have plenty of greenery, and ecosystems of shops, schools, and other services have long evolved around them. In contrast, the new blocks tend to be massive, gray concrete monoliths on flat, gray plains criss-crossed with asphalt and more concrete.

What’s more, they tend to be farther from the nearest metro station, and at the outskirts of Moscow, if not entirely outside it. Moscow property prices depend far more on location than on building quality, and since the exchanges are square meter for square meter, not ruble for ruble, it is easy to imagine cases where people would stand to actually lose asset value in absolute terms.

And some of those people reacted. Around 20,000 people protested on Sakharov Avenue on May 14 against the khrushchevki plans – more than twice as much as at Navalny’s protest, and a couple of orders of magnitude more than at Khodorkovsky’s.

Moreover, these protesters weren’t kreakl hipsters, or professional revolutionaries, or Ukrainian nationalists, or the assorted other weirdos that tend to fill out Moscow protests against the regime. They were pensioners, housewives, and office plankton, many of them with children, who made their voice heard about a matter of real world concern to them. In other words, they and people like them are the closest thing there currently is to a genuine Russian civil society – and though the situation is currently fluid, it currently appears that officials are seriously engaging with their demands.

And of course the Western media pretty much ignored them.

Incidentally, as Maxim Kononenko points out, Navalny’s response to this protest is also very telling as to his agenda.

Initially, Navalny and his staff largely ignored the anti-demolition campaign, unable to believe that political nobodies campaigning on some boring socio-economic issue could be more successful than the undisputed leader of the “real” Russian opposition with its cult following, massive online presence, and lack of any serious competitors in the professional color revolution industry. But once it emerged that this protest was going to be a big hit after all, Navalny hurriedly dressed up as a very concerned khrushchevka resident and set off for the protest meeting. (As one online wit commented, “Whom hasn’t Navalny roleplayed as?: An owner of a mortgage in foreign currency; a Moscow stall owner; a Dagestani truck driver; a Chechen gay. Now he is a khrushchevka resident”).

Navalny proceeded to request a speaking slot at the meeting. The organizers refused, for the understandable reason that Navalny had no part in organizing them. Shocked by their impudence, Navalny and his acolytes decided to blame this epic zrada on Evgenia Vinokurova, one of the dozen largely female organizers of the protest. She made for an easy target: She has ties with both Putinist patriot-conservatives (she is friends with Kris Potupchik, a former spokeswoman for the youth movement Nashi) and more hardcore nationalists (she is an open Sputnik and Pogrom reader, Russia’s premier nationalist publication), all of which makes her completely “unhandshakeworthy” in the respectable Westernist circles to whom Navalny owes his ultimate loyalty.

So Navalny got an excuse for his failure there – he was sabotaged by a Putler agent. Still, the old problem of said respectable circles remains as acute as ever: Their inability to get any significant number of Russians out into the streets.

 
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  1. Glossy says: • Website

    I would translate “nadoyel” not as “enough” but as “I’ve had it with him”, which incidentally describes my attitude to Khodorkovsky.

    My mom was born in a single-family house in Moscow. It was always weird for me to hear about that because in my youth there were exactly zero such houses in the city. When she was about 10 years old that house was demolished and her family was moved to an apartment in a khruschovka that was built on the same street. My mom “inherited” that apartment from her parents. She lived there with my father when I was born, so in some sense I’m khruschevka-raised or to-the-khruschevka-born. We moved out when I was two however, but that simply transferred that apartment to my mom’s brother, and we went to visit his family all the time when I was growing up. So I do have memories of that building.

    I’ve been hearing about khruschevkas being demolished for years now. I understand that in some cases high-rises were built in their place, with the old residents getting apartments on the lower floors, repeating my mom’s 1950s experience.

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  2. ussr andy says:

    What a nice blue sky with no white streaks :)

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  3. Mr. XYZ says:

    Two questions:

    1. Is there a civil society in other Russian cities besides Moscow? If so, how large is it?

    2. Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?
     
    Is your question whether he'll be forced into retirement at some point (I guess when one of his terms will be up), or whether there'll be a coup/color revolution? The latter I'd find extremely unlikely.

    A more interesting question is whether he'll retire voluntarily at all. No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Re-1. Yes, but obviously, Moscow's is by far the largest, not only absolutely but proportionately.

    Re-2. I think it's likely Putin will remain President to 2024, at which point he will hand-pick a successor (my current best guess is Alexey Dyumin), and will himself become an "elder statesman" figure.
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  4. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Mr. XYZ
    Two questions:

    1. Is there a civil society in other Russian cities besides Moscow? If so, how large is it?

    2. Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?

    Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?

    Is your question whether he’ll be forced into retirement at some point (I guess when one of his terms will be up), or whether there’ll be a coup/color revolution? The latter I’d find extremely unlikely.

    A more interesting question is whether he’ll retire voluntarily at all. No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.
     
    Russian Federation is post-Soviet with presidential term limits.
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  5. From what I hear (living outside of Russia), I’m getting the impression that the Khrushchevki protests and Navalny’s work are very much connected. Listening to Russian talk shows, it appears that ‘Khrushchevki’ is a completely fake issue: people are free to opt out of the suggested demolition. Their only meaning is people’s distrust of the government (seemingly to the point of distrusting any government, ‘government’ as a concept). And that can be interpreted as a success (impressive success) of the Navalny’s movement.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    What I've heard from some Muscovites concerned about the issue is that there are two options: take the (possibly inferior) replacement flat or go homeless. But in my experience the random Russian is not a reliable source of information on legal reality in the Russian Federation.
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  6. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @reiner Tor

    Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?
     
    Is your question whether he'll be forced into retirement at some point (I guess when one of his terms will be up), or whether there'll be a coup/color revolution? The latter I'd find extremely unlikely.

    A more interesting question is whether he'll retire voluntarily at all. No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.

    No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.

    Russian Federation is post-Soviet with presidential term limits.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Ah, so that's why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.
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  7. @Mao Cheng Ji
    From what I hear (living outside of Russia), I'm getting the impression that the Khrushchevki protests and Navalny's work are very much connected. Listening to Russian talk shows, it appears that 'Khrushchevki' is a completely fake issue: people are free to opt out of the suggested demolition. Their only meaning is people's distrust of the government (seemingly to the point of distrusting any government, 'government' as a concept). And that can be interpreted as a success (impressive success) of the Navalny's movement.

    What I’ve heard from some Muscovites concerned about the issue is that there are two options: take the (possibly inferior) replacement flat or go homeless. But in my experience the random Russian is not a reliable source of information on legal reality in the Russian Federation.

    Read More
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  8. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Anon

    No Soviet leader has ever retired voluntarily, and Yeltsin was a special case, too.
     
    Russian Federation is post-Soviet with presidential term limits.

    Ah, so that’s why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Medvedev was not good enough.
    , @Seamus Padraig

    Ah, so that’s why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.
     
    From 2008 to 2012 Putin was prime minister, not president. The Russian constitution merely limits the president to two consecutive terms; it does not require him to retire permanently from politics altogether.
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  9. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @reiner Tor
    Ah, so that's why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.

    Medvedev was not good enough.

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  10. @Mr. XYZ
    Two questions:

    1. Is there a civil society in other Russian cities besides Moscow? If so, how large is it?

    2. Do you think that Vladimir Putin will remain in power in Russia until he either retires or dies?

    Re-1. Yes, but obviously, Moscow’s is by far the largest, not only absolutely but proportionately.

    Re-2. I think it’s likely Putin will remain President to 2024, at which point he will hand-pick a successor (my current best guess is Alexey Dyumin), and will himself become an “elder statesman” figure.

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  11. @reiner Tor
    Ah, so that's why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.

    Ah, so that’s why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.

    From 2008 to 2012 Putin was prime minister, not president. The Russian constitution merely limits the president to two consecutive terms; it does not require him to retire permanently from politics altogether.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I know that. That's why I asked.

    Of course, there's no guarantee he won't try the same arrangement next time around. Though perhaps he'll be too old by then. He can stay on as prime minister, for example (though he'll need a permanent two-thirds majority for that), or he can, after all, simply change the constitution. (It was a long time ago when he said he wouldn't change the constitution just so that it'd be more convenient... and he's changed it anyway, by lengthening his terms.)

    So there's no guarantee he'll retire simply because his term limits will be up.
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  12. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig

    Ah, so that’s why Putin retired back in 2008? I see.
     
    From 2008 to 2012 Putin was prime minister, not president. The Russian constitution merely limits the president to two consecutive terms; it does not require him to retire permanently from politics altogether.

    I know that. That’s why I asked.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee he won’t try the same arrangement next time around. Though perhaps he’ll be too old by then. He can stay on as prime minister, for example (though he’ll need a permanent two-thirds majority for that), or he can, after all, simply change the constitution. (It was a long time ago when he said he wouldn’t change the constitution just so that it’d be more convenient… and he’s changed it anyway, by lengthening his terms.)

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire simply because his term limits will be up.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire
     
    Why is it important to you?
    I mean, he's very popular, so if he doesn't retire, why would it be a problem? for whom?
    Had Roosevelt termed out in 1940, would that improve or hurt the situation in the US?
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  13. melanf says:

    From what I hear (living outside of Russia), I’m getting the impression that the Khrushchevki protests and Navalny’s work are very much connected.

    Against the program of demolition of “Khrushchev” published many Pro-government journalists on the pages of Pro-government Newspapers and Magazines. For example https://www.vz.ru/society/2017/4/20/867157.html

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Against the program of demolition of “Khrushchev” published many Pro-government journalists
     
    Sure. It can be criticized, of course, nothing to it. I was talking about the protests and the general attitude towards government initiatives, as in: they are out to get us! somehow! But, again, I don't live there, it's just the impression I get from watching talk shows on youtube.
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  14. @reiner Tor
    I know that. That's why I asked.

    Of course, there's no guarantee he won't try the same arrangement next time around. Though perhaps he'll be too old by then. He can stay on as prime minister, for example (though he'll need a permanent two-thirds majority for that), or he can, after all, simply change the constitution. (It was a long time ago when he said he wouldn't change the constitution just so that it'd be more convenient... and he's changed it anyway, by lengthening his terms.)

    So there's no guarantee he'll retire simply because his term limits will be up.

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire

    Why is it important to you?
    I mean, he’s very popular, so if he doesn’t retire, why would it be a problem? for whom?
    Had Roosevelt termed out in 1940, would that improve or hurt the situation in the US?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It's usually a problem if a country becomes a gerontocracy. So it'd be nice if Putin managed to create a system of succession similar to what the Chinese have.
    , @jilles dykstra
    I think that in 1940 Roosevelt's efforts for war could not have been easily ended.
    One does not undo seven years of indoctrination in a short time.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Our situation would have improved if Franklin Roosevelt had been termed out, assuming none of his various communist or otherwise liberty-hating VPs had taken over.

    Agree with you about Putin, though. Why do so many westerners worry or pretend to worry about his tenure in office in Russia?

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  15. @melanf

    From what I hear (living outside of Russia), I’m getting the impression that the Khrushchevki protests and Navalny’s work are very much connected.
     
    Against the program of demolition of "Khrushchev" published many Pro-government journalists on the pages of Pro-government Newspapers and Magazines. For example https://www.vz.ru/society/2017/4/20/867157.html

    Against the program of demolition of “Khrushchev” published many Pro-government journalists

    Sure. It can be criticized, of course, nothing to it. I was talking about the protests and the general attitude towards government initiatives, as in: they are out to get us! somehow! But, again, I don’t live there, it’s just the impression I get from watching talk shows on youtube.

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    • Replies: @Pavel
    Demolition and resettlement go their own way.
    The issue in the redistribution of financial flows between the new Sobyanin administration and the old guard left after Luzhkov.
    Next, all the integrated parties derive their advantages from this conflict.
    Western liberals inflame discontent from scratch, residents want to knock out more comfortable conditions for resettlement, the construction lobby protects its interests, official authorities try to manipulate the protest mood.
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  16. Russians distrust their government, but it has nothing to do with Navalny. Russia is a low-trust society in general.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Russia is a low-trust society in general.
     
    True. Still, it might have something to do with Navalny. 'Low-trust in general' is still a spectrum, and within this spectrum the level of trust moves up or down. Navalny's campaigns push it down. I'm not saying it's a bad thing necessarily, but it could be, when it crosses into paranoia territory...
    , @aaaa returns
    nice way of putting it
    , @Logan
    Russia has always been a low-trust society. And for darn good reason. Its institutions have never been trustworthy.
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  17. One can make a claim that Novosibirsks civil society is proportionally larger (and a lot less snobish/pro western) then moscows. This comes from being kind of an university town.

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  18. @Felix Keverich
    Russians distrust their government, but it has nothing to do with Navalny. Russia is a low-trust society in general.

    Russia is a low-trust society in general.

    True. Still, it might have something to do with Navalny. ‘Low-trust in general’ is still a spectrum, and within this spectrum the level of trust moves up or down. Navalny’s campaigns push it down. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing necessarily, but it could be, when it crosses into paranoia territory…

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  19. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire
     
    Why is it important to you?
    I mean, he's very popular, so if he doesn't retire, why would it be a problem? for whom?
    Had Roosevelt termed out in 1940, would that improve or hurt the situation in the US?

    It’s usually a problem if a country becomes a gerontocracy. So it’d be nice if Putin managed to create a system of succession similar to what the Chinese have.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    China has a different political system: leaders rise through the ranks, military-style. Russia has the western model. Stability of the western model is guaranteed by the powerful establishment, the 'deep state'. And Russia is a very young country, I don't think the establishment has solidified quite yet.
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  20. @reiner Tor
    It's usually a problem if a country becomes a gerontocracy. So it'd be nice if Putin managed to create a system of succession similar to what the Chinese have.

    China has a different political system: leaders rise through the ranks, military-style. Russia has the western model. Stability of the western model is guaranteed by the powerful establishment, the ‘deep state’. And Russia is a very young country, I don’t think the establishment has solidified quite yet.

    Read More
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  21. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Nadoyel” = “Fed up”.

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  22. I wonder if the distribution of wealth in Russia differs from the distribution of wealth in the west.
    Is a ‘philantropist’ as Soros morally bettter than some Russian oligarch ?
    Soros was condemned to three months jail in France for trading with foreknowledge.
    Is it possible that the rich in the west succeeded in legalising their methods of getting very rich, and those in Russia not (yet) ?

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  23. @Mao Cheng Ji

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire
     
    Why is it important to you?
    I mean, he's very popular, so if he doesn't retire, why would it be a problem? for whom?
    Had Roosevelt termed out in 1940, would that improve or hurt the situation in the US?

    I think that in 1940 Roosevelt’s efforts for war could not have been easily ended.
    One does not undo seven years of indoctrination in a short time.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable. In Europe - for obvious reasons, and in the Pacific American and Japanese imperialisms collided. Politicians don't control fundamental geopolitical processes. They can ride them or they can be squashed by them. Roosevelt did well, I think. I know, it's the conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom isn't always wrong.
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  24. @jilles dykstra
    I think that in 1940 Roosevelt's efforts for war could not have been easily ended.
    One does not undo seven years of indoctrination in a short time.

    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable. In Europe – for obvious reasons, and in the Pacific American and Japanese imperialisms collided. Politicians don’t control fundamental geopolitical processes. They can ride them or they can be squashed by them. Roosevelt did well, I think. I know, it’s the conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom isn’t always wrong.

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    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable.
     
    Speaking as an isolationist, US participation in WW2 was only "inevitable" to the extent that US elites were determined to set up an empire in the eastern hemisphere.
    , @Che Guava
    You are always silly, and here, are making it crystal clear that your uname has no connection with anything.

    I disagree with your comment in toto, but particularly with the bit about Franklin Delano Rozenfeldt (spelling intentional, to irritate) having had no choice.

    Will not give you a full lecture, but there is no such thing as WWII. There is a continuum, including the many expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks, Bronstein's (Snowball in Orwell's Animal Farm, among many other points, demonstrating that Eric Blair was a great writer but a political fool) push of the Red Army to the west, our interference in China and effective invasion of Manchuria, etc.

    I should write an article on it.

    Many stages later, would-be President-for-life Rosenfeldt (and he was Prex for life, as he intended, easy to know that) helped to set up a situation where our forces would attack Pearl Harbour while, mysteriously, most of the prize targets were floating in one of the Pacific gyres.

    Then do almost nothing in Europe, let the USSR do all of the fighting.

    So, the USA was only involved in a very long sequence for three or four years (excepting their earlier expeditionary group against the Bolsheviks, which withdrew as soon as it arrived).

    Opportunistic? Absolutely!
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  25. Studley says:

    Anatoly, I don’t quite get this statement.

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,…by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)…

    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people’s modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    No, that is exactly correct.

    Some idealistic Communists have this strange idea that Stalin cared for the welfare of ordinary people.

    Construction 1918-2014:

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/genby/30544598/802877/802877_original.png
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I wonder, do you really know what are you talking about? Did you see what European part of the Soviet Union looked like in 1945? As I remember Eisenhower who flied over that area said that there was no building standing between Moscow and western borders. If as some people state here Stalin catered only to elites, does it mean Soviet people were living on the streets until Krushev started his building project? I understand some here believe in what they wish to believe as Julius Caesar noted more than 2000 years ago, but to make such ilogical statements....Under Stalin not only Russia was finally industrialized before the war which was one of the major reason Russia survived and won, but people clearly felt there was state taking care of them. Hence Soviet people heroism compared to complete refusal to fight much easier WWi. Give credit to people when it is due. Compared to what Russia was before revolution life indeed got much better and people than knew and felt this. Hence very different behavior when time came to fight. USSR managed to restore herself all on her own by 1963 despite "partners" . There was influx of population from villages hence need in new wave of construction from Krushev. I was born in communal apparent myself and lived there and at another communal apparent until we got new separate appartment in 1973 with grandparents and then my dad got free appartment too. I was getting one bed room appartment along with job straight upon my graduation. Sure, no care for poor Soviet folks. Most of the modern Russian youth still benefit from Soviet era built accommodations while posting how bad was under Soviet and what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I wonder, do you really know what are you talking about? Did you see what European part of the Soviet Union looked like in 1945? As I remember Eisenhower who flied over that area said that there was no building standing between Moscow and western borders. If as some people state here Stalin catered only to elites, does it mean Soviet people were living on the streets until Krushev started his building project? I understand some here believe in what they wish to believe as Julius Caesar noted more than 2000 years ago, but to make such ilogical statements....Under Stalin not only Russia was finally industrialized before the war which was one of the major reason Russia survived and won, but people clearly felt there was state taking care of them. Hence Soviet people heroism compared to complete refusal to fight much easier WWi. Give credit to people when it is due. Compared to what Russia was before revolution life indeed got much better and people than knew and felt this. Hence very different behavior when time came to fight. USSR managed to restore herself all on her own by 1963 despite "partners" . There was influx of population from villages hence need in new wave of construction from Krushev. I was born in communal apparent myself and lived there and at another communal apparent until we got new separate appartment in 1973 with grandparents and then my dad got free appartment too. I was getting one bed room appartment along with job straight upon my graduation. Sure, no care for poor Soviet folks. Most of the modern Russian youth still benefit from Soviet era built accommodations while posting how bad was under Soviet and what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.
    , @Boris N

    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people’s modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years?
     
    What was he doing? Well, like building barracks in gulags?

    I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.
     
    That was exactly thus. In 1939, according to the census, 70% lived in the countryside which literally meant the people lived in village hovels/huts which were hardly different from those of the Tsarist era. The only available facility was electricity (which was not very reliable and blackouts occurred regularly). Most houses even hadn't had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time). Radio was public, each village must have had a public radio loudspeaker, and that's all. I personally remember when in the 1990s the houses in my grandparents' village still had had no water supply (people brought water from a public water pipe on the main street - I did that myself everyday), no gas (people heated their houses and prepared their food in Russian ovens with firewood or coal), no bath (we did not use banyas in our region, so we washed ourselves in washing tubs), and no toilet (only a pit wooden latrine in the backyard; or at night you often pissed into a bucket in the porch). 70 years passed and Russian peasants still had no normal facilities. No wonder many considered even khrushchevkas the better option: you had no need to go to water pipes! and no more woodcutting! and you have a bath with warm water and a normal toilet!

    But even those lucky 30% who lived in the cities did not do much better. Most lived in kommunalkas or simply in barracks with no or little facilities (e.g., they might have water supply, but still had to go to the pit latrine in the backyard). The normal comfortable life for the Soviet townsfolk only began with Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The countryfolk did not see that until the 1990s.
    , @Boris N
    The written above does not mean they had no reasons to fight, but that surely was not the "luxury" of their lives or non-existent Stalin's housing projects!
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  26. @Studley
    Anatoly, I don't quite get this statement.

    ...

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,...by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)...
     


    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people's modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    No, that is exactly correct.

    Some idealistic Communists have this strange idea that Stalin cared for the welfare of ordinary people.

    Construction 1918-2014:

    Read More
    • Replies: @Studley
    Thanks for the graph. Without reading Russian I think I get the gist of it. A massive upsurge in housing construction after 1953 and Stalin's death.

    Point well taken but maybe idealistic Communists writing Western history school textbooks ;-)
    When I studied the history of the Soviet Union at school in the 1980s the definite implication was that workers housing was being built at the same time as 5 Year Plans, new industrial cities etc.

    Shows that if the error is inserted early enough in high school history it's hard to dispel later without specific follow-up academic research. Sure you can say one should check facts later but how many without the specific interest in a national history not their own i.e. an Anglosphere high school student doing their module on Soviet history, will do that?

    Conversely, any Russian lad my age studying his Anglo-American history module in the Soviet Union would have had similar misconceptions arising from his textbooks.
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  27. El Dato says:
    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    That is a good thing.
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  28. Vincent Law says: • Website

    Its about time someone said it.

    Commie blocks are COMFY.

    Way better than American suburbia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bucky
    "Commie blocks are COMFY."

    That's how I remember it. To be fair though I'm unsure how much of that has to do with the 19-year-old Ukrainian blonde with the perfect body I was smashing daily and nightly while living in one.
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  29. Ram says:

    How soon will Navalny succeed in making Russia civilised with people living in their dilapidated old cars and tatty tents pitched on government land.

    Read More
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  30. Agent76 says:

    May 27, 2017 Civil Society Rocks Moscow With an Anti-Demolition Protest

    Making the inability of pro-western opposition to get people out to their demonstrations all the more glaring

    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/civil-society-rocks-moscow-anti-demolition-protest/ri19951

    Read More
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  31. @Studley
    Anatoly, I don't quite get this statement.

    ...

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,...by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)...
     


    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people's modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    I wonder, do you really know what are you talking about? Did you see what European part of the Soviet Union looked like in 1945? As I remember Eisenhower who flied over that area said that there was no building standing between Moscow and western borders. If as some people state here Stalin catered only to elites, does it mean Soviet people were living on the streets until Krushev started his building project? I understand some here believe in what they wish to believe as Julius Caesar noted more than 2000 years ago, but to make such ilogical statements….Under Stalin not only Russia was finally industrialized before the war which was one of the major reason Russia survived and won, but people clearly felt there was state taking care of them. Hence Soviet people heroism compared to complete refusal to fight much easier WWi. Give credit to people when it is due. Compared to what Russia was before revolution life indeed got much better and people than knew and felt this. Hence very different behavior when time came to fight. USSR managed to restore herself all on her own by 1963 despite “partners” . There was influx of population from villages hence need in new wave of construction from Krushev. I was born in communal apparent myself and lived there and at another communal apparent until we got new separate appartment in 1973 with grandparents and then my dad got free appartment too. I was getting one bed room appartment along with job straight upon my graduation. Sure, no care for poor Soviet folks. Most of the modern Russian youth still benefit from Soviet era built accommodations while posting how bad was under Soviet and what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N

    what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.
     
    A very good discription of the lives of the majority of the Soviet folk during the Stalin era.
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  32. @Studley
    Anatoly, I don't quite get this statement.

    ...

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,...by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)...
     


    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people's modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    I wonder, do you really know what are you talking about? Did you see what European part of the Soviet Union looked like in 1945? As I remember Eisenhower who flied over that area said that there was no building standing between Moscow and western borders. If as some people state here Stalin catered only to elites, does it mean Soviet people were living on the streets until Krushev started his building project? I understand some here believe in what they wish to believe as Julius Caesar noted more than 2000 years ago, but to make such ilogical statements….Under Stalin not only Russia was finally industrialized before the war which was one of the major reason Russia survived and won, but people clearly felt there was state taking care of them. Hence Soviet people heroism compared to complete refusal to fight much easier WWi. Give credit to people when it is due. Compared to what Russia was before revolution life indeed got much better and people than knew and felt this. Hence very different behavior when time came to fight. USSR managed to restore herself all on her own by 1963 despite “partners” . There was influx of population from villages hence need in new wave of construction from Krushev. I was born in communal apparent myself and lived there and at another communal apparent until we got new separate appartment in 1973 with grandparents and then my dad got free appartment too. I was getting one bed room appartment along with job straight upon my graduation. Sure, no care for poor Soviet folks. Most of the modern Russian youth still benefit from Soviet era built accommodations while posting how bad was under Soviet and what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.

    Read More
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  33. @Mao Cheng Ji

    So there’s no guarantee he’ll retire
     
    Why is it important to you?
    I mean, he's very popular, so if he doesn't retire, why would it be a problem? for whom?
    Had Roosevelt termed out in 1940, would that improve or hurt the situation in the US?

    Our situation would have improved if Franklin Roosevelt had been termed out, assuming none of his various communist or otherwise liberty-hating VPs had taken over.

    Agree with you about Putin, though. Why do so many westerners worry or pretend to worry about his tenure in office in Russia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @ia

    Why do so many westerners worry or pretend to worry about his tenure in office in Russia?
     
    Too unapologetically White and macho. Drives feminists crazy.
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  34. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @El Dato
    We are back in the groove

    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/05/26/aide-trump-wont-roll-back-us-sanctions-against-russia/

    That is a good thing.

    Read More
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  35. @Mao Cheng Ji
    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable. In Europe - for obvious reasons, and in the Pacific American and Japanese imperialisms collided. Politicians don't control fundamental geopolitical processes. They can ride them or they can be squashed by them. Roosevelt did well, I think. I know, it's the conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom isn't always wrong.

    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable.

    Speaking as an isolationist, US participation in WW2 was only “inevitable” to the extent that US elites were determined to set up an empire in the eastern hemisphere.

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes, Che Guava
    • Replies: @aaaa returns
    Well USSR was a giant threat to Europe.
    Although USA did commit some war crimes, we generally were very professional on European soil, and were probably a huge aid to the rapid reconstruction that ensued once the war officially ended.

    Of course, the cold war that followed became a very sick affair of empire-building

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  36. Che Guava says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable. In Europe - for obvious reasons, and in the Pacific American and Japanese imperialisms collided. Politicians don't control fundamental geopolitical processes. They can ride them or they can be squashed by them. Roosevelt did well, I think. I know, it's the conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom isn't always wrong.

    You are always silly, and here, are making it crystal clear that your uname has no connection with anything.

    I disagree with your comment in toto, but particularly with the bit about Franklin Delano Rozenfeldt (spelling intentional, to irritate) having had no choice.

    Will not give you a full lecture, but there is no such thing as WWII. There is a continuum, including the many expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks, Bronstein’s (Snowball in Orwell’s Animal Farm, among many other points, demonstrating that Eric Blair was a great writer but a political fool) push of the Red Army to the west, our interference in China and effective invasion of Manchuria, etc.

    I should write an article on it.

    Many stages later, would-be President-for-life Rosenfeldt (and he was Prex for life, as he intended, easy to know that) helped to set up a situation where our forces would attack Pearl Harbour while, mysteriously, most of the prize targets were floating in one of the Pacific gyres.

    Then do almost nothing in Europe, let the USSR do all of the fighting.

    So, the USA was only involved in a very long sequence for three or four years (excepting their earlier expeditionary group against the Bolsheviks, which withdrew as soon as it arrived).

    Opportunistic? Absolutely!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Franklin Delano Rozenfeldt
     
    As they say in Russia: кто о чем а вшивый о бане.

    Anyway: thanks a lot for your reply, I can see that you put a lot of effort into it. Please rest assured that I will give it all the attention it deserves.
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  37. ia says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Our situation would have improved if Franklin Roosevelt had been termed out, assuming none of his various communist or otherwise liberty-hating VPs had taken over.

    Agree with you about Putin, though. Why do so many westerners worry or pretend to worry about his tenure in office in Russia?

    Why do so many westerners worry or pretend to worry about his tenure in office in Russia?

    Too unapologetically White and macho. Drives feminists crazy.

    Read More
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  38. A little off topic but can anyone explain how Russia was able to tackle the air pollution issue? The photos I’ve seen of Russian cities always seem so blue which I did not expect. Ive always assumed that Soviet industrial policy and general communist central planning resource misallocation would have resulted in some apocalyptic levels of air pollution. Was it much worse before the Soviet Union collapsed? Or is it simply that there is no industry to speak of around Moscow.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    A lot of industry ceased to exist after the end of the Soviet Union.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I am originally from Dnepropetrovsk, one of the Soviet Union most important industrial cities. Actually lived next to all those factories and never witnessed smog or anything like what I experienced when visiting Beijing.only occasional smell from painting factory nearby. In Beijing I could see air and visibility was very poor and in Chongqing river wa not swimable while we could swim in Dnieper no problems. No idea how that was achieved despite all those heavy industry factories nearby that spread for many kilometers one after another.
    , @Philip Owen
    Flat. And some planning. The USSR did sometimes deliberately build factories on the lee side of cities. Do not however visit Norilsk.
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  39. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Duke of Qin
    A little off topic but can anyone explain how Russia was able to tackle the air pollution issue? The photos I've seen of Russian cities always seem so blue which I did not expect. Ive always assumed that Soviet industrial policy and general communist central planning resource misallocation would have resulted in some apocalyptic levels of air pollution. Was it much worse before the Soviet Union collapsed? Or is it simply that there is no industry to speak of around Moscow.

    A lot of industry ceased to exist after the end of the Soviet Union.

    Read More
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  40. bucky says:
    @Vincent Law
    Its about time someone said it.

    Commie blocks are COMFY.

    Way better than American suburbia.

    “Commie blocks are COMFY.”

    That’s how I remember it. To be fair though I’m unsure how much of that has to do with the 19-year-old Ukrainian blonde with the perfect body I was smashing daily and nightly while living in one.

    Read More
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  41. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    Read More
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  42. Studley says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    No, that is exactly correct.

    Some idealistic Communists have this strange idea that Stalin cared for the welfare of ordinary people.

    Construction 1918-2014:

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/genby/30544598/802877/802877_original.png

    Thanks for the graph. Without reading Russian I think I get the gist of it. A massive upsurge in housing construction after 1953 and Stalin’s death.

    Point well taken but maybe idealistic Communists writing Western history school textbooks ;-)
    When I studied the history of the Soviet Union at school in the 1980s the definite implication was that workers housing was being built at the same time as 5 Year Plans, new industrial cities etc.

    Shows that if the error is inserted early enough in high school history it’s hard to dispel later without specific follow-up academic research. Sure you can say one should check facts later but how many without the specific interest in a national history not their own i.e. an Anglosphere high school student doing their module on Soviet history, will do that?

    Conversely, any Russian lad my age studying his Anglo-American history module in the Soviet Union would have had similar misconceptions arising from his textbooks.

    Read More
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  43. @Felix Keverich
    Russians distrust their government, but it has nothing to do with Navalny. Russia is a low-trust society in general.

    nice way of putting it

    Read More
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  44. @Seamus Padraig

    That was a world war, you know, and American participation was inevitable.
     
    Speaking as an isolationist, US participation in WW2 was only "inevitable" to the extent that US elites were determined to set up an empire in the eastern hemisphere.

    Well USSR was a giant threat to Europe.
    Although USA did commit some war crimes, we generally were very professional on European soil, and were probably a huge aid to the rapid reconstruction that ensued once the war officially ended.

    Of course, the cold war that followed became a very sick affair of empire-building

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    Of course, the cold war that followed became a very sick affair of empire-building.
     
    The empire-building long predates the Cold War. It goes back to the Spanish-American War, as a consequence of which we acquired our very first colony in the eastern hemisphere: the Philippines. The Cold War did not incidentally lead to empire-building; on the contrary, empire-building was the cold war's only purpose. It made it possible for Washington to consolidate control over western Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Then, they could sweep aside what remained of the French and British empires, and begin the process of acquiring control over their former colonies as well.

    When the USSR disbanded under Gorbachev, the neocons (thought they) were in a position to make their bid for power in the Middle East. However, they ended up taking too long, and now Russia's back. Cold War II will feature a divided Middle East, much as Cold War I featured a divided Europe.
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  45. @Che Guava
    You are always silly, and here, are making it crystal clear that your uname has no connection with anything.

    I disagree with your comment in toto, but particularly with the bit about Franklin Delano Rozenfeldt (spelling intentional, to irritate) having had no choice.

    Will not give you a full lecture, but there is no such thing as WWII. There is a continuum, including the many expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks, Bronstein's (Snowball in Orwell's Animal Farm, among many other points, demonstrating that Eric Blair was a great writer but a political fool) push of the Red Army to the west, our interference in China and effective invasion of Manchuria, etc.

    I should write an article on it.

    Many stages later, would-be President-for-life Rosenfeldt (and he was Prex for life, as he intended, easy to know that) helped to set up a situation where our forces would attack Pearl Harbour while, mysteriously, most of the prize targets were floating in one of the Pacific gyres.

    Then do almost nothing in Europe, let the USSR do all of the fighting.

    So, the USA was only involved in a very long sequence for three or four years (excepting their earlier expeditionary group against the Bolsheviks, which withdrew as soon as it arrived).

    Opportunistic? Absolutely!

    Franklin Delano Rozenfeldt

    As they say in Russia: кто о чем а вшивый о бане.

    Anyway: thanks a lot for your reply, I can see that you put a lot of effort into it. Please rest assured that I will give it all the attention it deserves.

    Read More
    • LOL: Che Guava
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  46. Boris N says:
    @Studley
    Anatoly, I don't quite get this statement.

    ...

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,...by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)...
     


    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people's modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people’s modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years?

    What was he doing? Well, like building barracks in gulags?

    I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    That was exactly thus. In 1939, according to the census, 70% lived in the countryside which literally meant the people lived in village hovels/huts which were hardly different from those of the Tsarist era. The only available facility was electricity (which was not very reliable and blackouts occurred regularly). Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time). Radio was public, each village must have had a public radio loudspeaker, and that’s all. I personally remember when in the 1990s the houses in my grandparents’ village still had had no water supply (people brought water from a public water pipe on the main street – I did that myself everyday), no gas (people heated their houses and prepared their food in Russian ovens with firewood or coal), no bath (we did not use banyas in our region, so we washed ourselves in washing tubs), and no toilet (only a pit wooden latrine in the backyard; or at night you often pissed into a bucket in the porch). 70 years passed and Russian peasants still had no normal facilities. No wonder many considered even khrushchevkas the better option: you had no need to go to water pipes! and no more woodcutting! and you have a bath with warm water and a normal toilet!

    But even those lucky 30% who lived in the cities did not do much better. Most lived in kommunalkas or simply in barracks with no or little facilities (e.g., they might have water supply, but still had to go to the pit latrine in the backyard). The normal comfortable life for the Soviet townsfolk only began with Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The countryfolk did not see that until the 1990s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time).
     
    Hmm.. This is the 1930s, the great depression, right? Time of the Dust Bowl, 25% unemployment, the Hoovervilles, the hoboes, millions of homeless? And you're presenting this as a sort of paradise on earth, in contrast to hell of a Soviet village, on account of radio wire not being connected to some individual houses? Interesting...
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time).
     
    Here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_radio
    It doesn't sound like cable radio existed in the US at all before the 1970s, and (unlike the USSR) wasn't particularly common or popular anyway. Not that it's characterizing American life in a negative light, of course, but it does characterize the quality of your argumentation.
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  47. Boris N says:
    @Studley
    Anatoly, I don't quite get this statement.

    ...

    these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed,...by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites)...
     


    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people's modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years? Was he uninterested in housing? I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.

    The written above does not mean they had no reasons to fight, but that surely was not the “luxury” of their lives or non-existent Stalin’s housing projects!

    Read More
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  48. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    I wonder, do you really know what are you talking about? Did you see what European part of the Soviet Union looked like in 1945? As I remember Eisenhower who flied over that area said that there was no building standing between Moscow and western borders. If as some people state here Stalin catered only to elites, does it mean Soviet people were living on the streets until Krushev started his building project? I understand some here believe in what they wish to believe as Julius Caesar noted more than 2000 years ago, but to make such ilogical statements....Under Stalin not only Russia was finally industrialized before the war which was one of the major reason Russia survived and won, but people clearly felt there was state taking care of them. Hence Soviet people heroism compared to complete refusal to fight much easier WWi. Give credit to people when it is due. Compared to what Russia was before revolution life indeed got much better and people than knew and felt this. Hence very different behavior when time came to fight. USSR managed to restore herself all on her own by 1963 despite "partners" . There was influx of population from villages hence need in new wave of construction from Krushev. I was born in communal apparent myself and lived there and at another communal apparent until we got new separate appartment in 1973 with grandparents and then my dad got free appartment too. I was getting one bed room appartment along with job straight upon my graduation. Sure, no care for poor Soviet folks. Most of the modern Russian youth still benefit from Soviet era built accommodations while posting how bad was under Soviet and what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.

    what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.

    A very good discription of the lives of the majority of the Soviet folk during the Stalin era.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Of course, considering there was a war, subsequent destruction and then rebuilding based upon own limited resources our population obviously must have enjoyed caviar with French bread all those years through and through. Have you ever thought why starvation's that were endemic in Russia since ancient times ended with collectivization. Of course not. Believe what you wish to believe young man but you can hardly explain entusiasm of the Soviet people based upon your thinking.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I also wonder Boris, why aren't you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?
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  49. @Boris N

    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people’s modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years?
     
    What was he doing? Well, like building barracks in gulags?

    I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.
     
    That was exactly thus. In 1939, according to the census, 70% lived in the countryside which literally meant the people lived in village hovels/huts which were hardly different from those of the Tsarist era. The only available facility was electricity (which was not very reliable and blackouts occurred regularly). Most houses even hadn't had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time). Radio was public, each village must have had a public radio loudspeaker, and that's all. I personally remember when in the 1990s the houses in my grandparents' village still had had no water supply (people brought water from a public water pipe on the main street - I did that myself everyday), no gas (people heated their houses and prepared their food in Russian ovens with firewood or coal), no bath (we did not use banyas in our region, so we washed ourselves in washing tubs), and no toilet (only a pit wooden latrine in the backyard; or at night you often pissed into a bucket in the porch). 70 years passed and Russian peasants still had no normal facilities. No wonder many considered even khrushchevkas the better option: you had no need to go to water pipes! and no more woodcutting! and you have a bath with warm water and a normal toilet!

    But even those lucky 30% who lived in the cities did not do much better. Most lived in kommunalkas or simply in barracks with no or little facilities (e.g., they might have water supply, but still had to go to the pit latrine in the backyard). The normal comfortable life for the Soviet townsfolk only began with Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The countryfolk did not see that until the 1990s.

    Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time).

    Hmm.. This is the 1930s, the great depression, right? Time of the Dust Bowl, 25% unemployment, the Hoovervilles, the hoboes, millions of homeless? And you’re presenting this as a sort of paradise on earth, in contrast to hell of a Soviet village, on account of radio wire not being connected to some individual houses? Interesting…

    Read More
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  50. @Boris N

    If Stalin as supreme leader (1930-53) had a housing policy mostly catering to the elites then what was he doing for the Russian people’s modern housing needs in this period of 20+ years?
     
    What was he doing? Well, like building barracks in gulags?

    I find it hard to believe that the soldiers in The Great Patriotic War were living in Tsarist-level hovels when sent to the front instead of modern buildings/accommodation, for their time, as constructed by Stalin.
     
    That was exactly thus. In 1939, according to the census, 70% lived in the countryside which literally meant the people lived in village hovels/huts which were hardly different from those of the Tsarist era. The only available facility was electricity (which was not very reliable and blackouts occurred regularly). Most houses even hadn't had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time). Radio was public, each village must have had a public radio loudspeaker, and that's all. I personally remember when in the 1990s the houses in my grandparents' village still had had no water supply (people brought water from a public water pipe on the main street - I did that myself everyday), no gas (people heated their houses and prepared their food in Russian ovens with firewood or coal), no bath (we did not use banyas in our region, so we washed ourselves in washing tubs), and no toilet (only a pit wooden latrine in the backyard; or at night you often pissed into a bucket in the porch). 70 years passed and Russian peasants still had no normal facilities. No wonder many considered even khrushchevkas the better option: you had no need to go to water pipes! and no more woodcutting! and you have a bath with warm water and a normal toilet!

    But even those lucky 30% who lived in the cities did not do much better. Most lived in kommunalkas or simply in barracks with no or little facilities (e.g., they might have water supply, but still had to go to the pit latrine in the backyard). The normal comfortable life for the Soviet townsfolk only began with Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The countryfolk did not see that until the 1990s.

    Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time).

    Here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_radio

    It doesn’t sound like cable radio existed in the US at all before the 1970s, and (unlike the USSR) wasn’t particularly common or popular anyway. Not that it’s characterizing American life in a negative light, of course, but it does characterize the quality of your argumentation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N
    Alright, I admit my mistake, or rather misconception. I assumed that Americans used wired/cable radio receivers, when they used over-the-air radio. That means I rather underestimated Americans and thought they used more primitive technologies. Which is quite understandable as I projected the Soviet level to the American one, which is, of course, utterly wrong. How could I, silly me! Why indeed did Americans need cable radio when they could easily buy an over-the-air radio receiver? Only in Soviet Russia they seriously considered providing cable radio up to the 1990s.

    В 1930-е годы начался «золотой век» радио — в одних лишь США 12 млн. домохозяйств обладали радиоприемником. В СССР численность радиоприемников составляла всего несколько тысяч, однако новую станцию собирались строить с замахом на будущее.
     

    it does characterize the quality of your argumentation
     
    Don't be kidding. With whom do you compare me, with you? My level is way much better than of any American, at least simply due the personal experience alone. Americans who speak about Russian life always amuse me to say the least.
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  51. @Duke of Qin
    A little off topic but can anyone explain how Russia was able to tackle the air pollution issue? The photos I've seen of Russian cities always seem so blue which I did not expect. Ive always assumed that Soviet industrial policy and general communist central planning resource misallocation would have resulted in some apocalyptic levels of air pollution. Was it much worse before the Soviet Union collapsed? Or is it simply that there is no industry to speak of around Moscow.

    I am originally from Dnepropetrovsk, one of the Soviet Union most important industrial cities. Actually lived next to all those factories and never witnessed smog or anything like what I experienced when visiting Beijing.only occasional smell from painting factory nearby. In Beijing I could see air and visibility was very poor and in Chongqing river wa not swimable while we could swim in Dnieper no problems. No idea how that was achieved despite all those heavy industry factories nearby that spread for many kilometers one after another.

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  52. @Boris N

    what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.
     
    A very good discription of the lives of the majority of the Soviet folk during the Stalin era.

    Of course, considering there was a war, subsequent destruction and then rebuilding based upon own limited resources our population obviously must have enjoyed caviar with French bread all those years through and through. Have you ever thought why starvation’s that were endemic in Russia since ancient times ended with collectivization. Of course not. Believe what you wish to believe young man but you can hardly explain entusiasm of the Soviet people based upon your thinking.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N
    What war was in like 1937?

    I need no explanation for why my grandads fought when their main thought was about their families under the Nazi occupation and how to liberate their home. This is way too enough for me, I do not need any other reasoning for their heroism.

    But I see for others it is not enough, and they seek for an opportunity to whitewash the Soviet government, assuming that the Russian soldiers fought for the cozy barracks and the commissars. Which make me think of it as a sign of the total disrespect to those soldiers.
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  53. Boris N says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Most houses even hadn’t had a radio wire (quite unbelievable for America of that time).
     
    Here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_radio
    It doesn't sound like cable radio existed in the US at all before the 1970s, and (unlike the USSR) wasn't particularly common or popular anyway. Not that it's characterizing American life in a negative light, of course, but it does characterize the quality of your argumentation.

    Alright, I admit my mistake, or rather misconception. I assumed that Americans used wired/cable radio receivers, when they used over-the-air radio. That means I rather underestimated Americans and thought they used more primitive technologies. Which is quite understandable as I projected the Soviet level to the American one, which is, of course, utterly wrong. How could I, silly me! Why indeed did Americans need cable radio when they could easily buy an over-the-air radio receiver? Only in Soviet Russia they seriously considered providing cable radio up to the 1990s.

    В 1930-е годы начался «золотой век» радио — в одних лишь США 12 млн. домохозяйств обладали радиоприемником. В СССР численность радиоприемников составляла всего несколько тысяч, однако новую станцию собирались строить с замахом на будущее.

    it does characterize the quality of your argumentation

    Don’t be kidding. With whom do you compare me, with you? My level is way much better than of any American, at least simply due the personal experience alone. Americans who speak about Russian life always amuse me to say the least.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    Okay, maybe not your argumentation, but your way of thinking. The assumption of western superiority; unquestionable superiority in everything. It's relatively common, I suppose, but it's also annoying.

    I'd suggest to view them, the West and Russia/former USSR, as different civilizations (a-la Dugin), that can co-exist and don't need to compete. We can choose the one we like and move there; we don't have to justify our choice by declaring it superior...

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  54. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Of course, considering there was a war, subsequent destruction and then rebuilding based upon own limited resources our population obviously must have enjoyed caviar with French bread all those years through and through. Have you ever thought why starvation's that were endemic in Russia since ancient times ended with collectivization. Of course not. Believe what you wish to believe young man but you can hardly explain entusiasm of the Soviet people based upon your thinking.

    What war was in like 1937?

    I need no explanation for why my grandads fought when their main thought was about their families under the Nazi occupation and how to liberate their home. This is way too enough for me, I do not need any other reasoning for their heroism.

    But I see for others it is not enough, and they seek for an opportunity to whitewash the Soviet government, assuming that the Russian soldiers fought for the cozy barracks and the commissars. Which make me think of it as a sign of the total disrespect to those soldiers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    In 1937 there wa sno starvation. what's your point?
    Under previous regime Russian army seemed not to be able to do much at all despite Germans taking Russian territory then too and despite that German army being not exactly Wehrmacht.
    Also, how come Soviet people got all those weapons to defeat Nazis. All Soviet made while Russian army lacked shells and bullets.
    Soviet soldiers fought because they knew what they fought for. Better life. Future which they finally had and which they were denied under previous regime. They also were provided tools to do the job.
    Again, you are not talking enough about recent times when things are not as murky and better known to you. It is constantly Lenin Stalin. Russia has been ruled by capitalistic cabal ever since 1992. It resulted in verifiable demographic catastrophe with millions dead. You don't talk about it.
    You are not talking about country that used to produce everything depending now on imports of everything that was locally made. Destroyed industrial capacity for you. Stolen people property when 90% of everything built by Soviet people is now in few hands.
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  55. @Boris N

    what Russia we lost where their grandparents were either starving in villages or were being worked to death on factories while renting just a bed on some incects infested rooming houses or owners barracks.
     
    A very good discription of the lives of the majority of the Soviet folk during the Stalin era.

    I also wonder Boris, why aren’t you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    no famines after collectivization was over
     
    Except in 1946, and of course the industrialization could've been done without much famine.
    , @Boris N
    Why do I have to admire anybody now? And if I don't why do I have to admire Lenin-Stalin-whomever instead ? You pose a false dilemma. As for famines and industrialization it has been already said many times. I'm not going to rebuke that mythology once more.

    P.S. https://reddevol.blogspot.com/2017/05/blog-post_25.html
    , @Boris N
    As for the last 25 years. I've already described how the people lived in my village by the 1990s. So for your information during the 1990s (before Putin!) the people there got:
    1) water supply to every house,
    2) gas to every house,
    3) normal sewage,
    4) hence in combination hot water, central heating, and normal baths and toilets.

    Of course, the people have done it for their own money, but why couldn't the Soviet government do it for 70 years for the state money? And doesn't the very fact that the people had got enough money to improve their living conditions say something?

    In addition to that, there was no normal road there, but only a temporary one made of concrete plates which were completely run-down with big potholes, but during the 1990s they have made a good asphalt road. Again I repeat, even before Putin! During Putin they have made a full-scale highway there. I do not like this latter development personally as it has ruined the tranquility and the nature of the place, but anyway doesn't it say something?
    , @Philip Owen
    The early sixties saw a major food shortage which did not become famine due to grain shipments from the USA.
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  56. @Boris N
    Alright, I admit my mistake, or rather misconception. I assumed that Americans used wired/cable radio receivers, when they used over-the-air radio. That means I rather underestimated Americans and thought they used more primitive technologies. Which is quite understandable as I projected the Soviet level to the American one, which is, of course, utterly wrong. How could I, silly me! Why indeed did Americans need cable radio when they could easily buy an over-the-air radio receiver? Only in Soviet Russia they seriously considered providing cable radio up to the 1990s.

    В 1930-е годы начался «золотой век» радио — в одних лишь США 12 млн. домохозяйств обладали радиоприемником. В СССР численность радиоприемников составляла всего несколько тысяч, однако новую станцию собирались строить с замахом на будущее.
     

    it does characterize the quality of your argumentation
     
    Don't be kidding. With whom do you compare me, with you? My level is way much better than of any American, at least simply due the personal experience alone. Americans who speak about Russian life always amuse me to say the least.

    Okay, maybe not your argumentation, but your way of thinking. The assumption of western superiority; unquestionable superiority in everything. It’s relatively common, I suppose, but it’s also annoying.

    I’d suggest to view them, the West and Russia/former USSR, as different civilizations (a-la Dugin), that can co-exist and don’t need to compete. We can choose the one we like and move there; we don’t have to justify our choice by declaring it superior…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N
    You seem to have misunderstood me greatly. I would be the last person who would be saying about the ultimate superiority of the West. In fact, I have written a lot of negative comments towards the West here; and many comments were towards America in particular - I may give a long list of the things I hate about America.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU. It is still today, and it was particularly so back then. Even in the catastrophic 1930s. Such indirect indicators as the number of radio receivers or TV sets may indeed say much about the well-being of countries. In fact, they have been used even in Soviet works. In fact, it was the Soviets who set up America as the standard to reach for the Soviet development ("догнать и перегнать" - first by Lenin, then revived by Khrushchev).
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  57. @Boris N
    What war was in like 1937?

    I need no explanation for why my grandads fought when their main thought was about their families under the Nazi occupation and how to liberate their home. This is way too enough for me, I do not need any other reasoning for their heroism.

    But I see for others it is not enough, and they seek for an opportunity to whitewash the Soviet government, assuming that the Russian soldiers fought for the cozy barracks and the commissars. Which make me think of it as a sign of the total disrespect to those soldiers.

    In 1937 there wa sno starvation. what’s your point?
    Under previous regime Russian army seemed not to be able to do much at all despite Germans taking Russian territory then too and despite that German army being not exactly Wehrmacht.
    Also, how come Soviet people got all those weapons to defeat Nazis. All Soviet made while Russian army lacked shells and bullets.
    Soviet soldiers fought because they knew what they fought for. Better life. Future which they finally had and which they were denied under previous regime. They also were provided tools to do the job.
    Again, you are not talking enough about recent times when things are not as murky and better known to you. It is constantly Lenin Stalin. Russia has been ruled by capitalistic cabal ever since 1992. It resulted in verifiable demographic catastrophe with millions dead. You don’t talk about it.
    You are not talking about country that used to produce everything depending now on imports of everything that was locally made. Destroyed industrial capacity for you. Stolen people property when 90% of everything built by Soviet people is now in few hands.

    Read More
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  58. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Sergey Krieger
    I also wonder Boris, why aren't you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?

    no famines after collectivization was over

    Except in 1946, and of course the industrialization could’ve been done without much famine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    1946 was straight after the war so no wonder.the problems that had accumulated over 100+ years in Tsarist Russia, so called peasants and agricultural question, could not be resolved without some sacrifices. Especially that in 1917 Russia was essentially dead. Lenin and than Stalin had to rebuild the whole country resolving what had accumulated before under fire. It was cutting Gordiev knot. Soviet Union had to quickly build industrial capacity... No easy way out. Russian history of 20th century is full of tragedy but also of incomparable achievements. Those who blame bolsheviks are simply sofa warriors. I also notice they refuse to pay attention to very recent events which resulted in million of deaths.
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  59. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    I also wonder Boris, why aren't you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?

    Why do I have to admire anybody now? And if I don’t why do I have to admire Lenin-Stalin-whomever instead ? You pose a false dilemma. As for famines and industrialization it has been already said many times. I’m not going to rebuke that mythology once more.

    P.S. https://reddevol.blogspot.com/2017/05/blog-post_25.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Rebuked only in your mind. Your kind cannot be argued with. Explain where those 106 000 tanks produced during great patriotic war came from? Tsarist time built factories which could not even produce enough bullets and shells? What about planes? Say ho ho as much as you want. That won't explain suddenly appeared manufacturing capacity that was not there in 1914-1917. You were rebuked many times but evidence is not for your kind.
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  60. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    I also wonder Boris, why aren't you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?

    As for the last 25 years. I’ve already described how the people lived in my village by the 1990s. So for your information during the 1990s (before Putin!) the people there got:
    1) water supply to every house,
    2) gas to every house,
    3) normal sewage,
    4) hence in combination hot water, central heating, and normal baths and toilets.

    Of course, the people have done it for their own money, but why couldn’t the Soviet government do it for 70 years for the state money? And doesn’t the very fact that the people had got enough money to improve their living conditions say something?

    In addition to that, there was no normal road there, but only a temporary one made of concrete plates which were completely run-down with big potholes, but during the 1990s they have made a good asphalt road. Again I repeat, even before Putin! During Putin they have made a full-scale highway there. I do not like this latter development personally as it has ruined the tranquility and the nature of the place, but anyway doesn’t it say something?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    You seem to concentrate on few things that are very local and are not widespread but very rare. 90's were unmitigated disaster if one look at overall picture. Russia still cannot get over it. Also, problems of later 80's were self inflicted by so called perestroika aka katastroika process with culmination in 90's. Overall, demographic collapse and death toll show different picture from what you described. Be people usually do not die off when things go well. It is ultimate indicator. Add to this destroyed industries and scientific potential... We're Soviet Union stay intact, I assure you, you would have been living far better and most certainly would not engage in these arguments because when people are content they do not spend time on such forums.
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  61. Boris N says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Okay, maybe not your argumentation, but your way of thinking. The assumption of western superiority; unquestionable superiority in everything. It's relatively common, I suppose, but it's also annoying.

    I'd suggest to view them, the West and Russia/former USSR, as different civilizations (a-la Dugin), that can co-exist and don't need to compete. We can choose the one we like and move there; we don't have to justify our choice by declaring it superior...

    You seem to have misunderstood me greatly. I would be the last person who would be saying about the ultimate superiority of the West. In fact, I have written a lot of negative comments towards the West here; and many comments were towards America in particular – I may give a long list of the things I hate about America.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU. It is still today, and it was particularly so back then. Even in the catastrophic 1930s. Such indirect indicators as the number of radio receivers or TV sets may indeed say much about the well-being of countries. In fact, they have been used even in Soviet works. In fact, it was the Soviets who set up America as the standard to reach for the Soviet development (“догнать и перегнать” – first by Lenin, then revived by Khrushchev).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry is I misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU.
     
    1. 'Overall' doesn't mean much, it depends on who you are. Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
    And
    2. GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn't, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.
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  62. @reiner Tor

    no famines after collectivization was over
     
    Except in 1946, and of course the industrialization could've been done without much famine.

    1946 was straight after the war so no wonder.the problems that had accumulated over 100+ years in Tsarist Russia, so called peasants and agricultural question, could not be resolved without some sacrifices. Especially that in 1917 Russia was essentially dead. Lenin and than Stalin had to rebuild the whole country resolving what had accumulated before under fire. It was cutting Gordiev knot. Soviet Union had to quickly build industrial capacity… No easy way out. Russian history of 20th century is full of tragedy but also of incomparable achievements. Those who blame bolsheviks are simply sofa warriors. I also notice they refuse to pay attention to very recent events which resulted in million of deaths.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As someone has already pointed out, the USSR started importing grain (and other foodstuffs) after the 1960s. For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn't so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn't sell to West Germany. Collectivization didn't solve anything, and it harmed Russia enormously.

    Russia (without its breadbasket Ukraine) started to export grain sometime in the 1990s or 2000s. There's now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) it might become a net food exporter (should be easy, because once you manage to export grain, you can instead feed the grain to pigs and so become self-sufficient in meat, too). Long term, I'd expect Russia to be self-sufficient in foodstuffs. I'm sure that in the absence of collectivization Russia would now be a net exporter of foodstuffs.

    Communism harmed Russia enormously. Of course it's difficult to simulate counter-factuals (would Russia have become pozzed like Western Europe, had it not been isolated for 70 years under communism? would it have developed nukes? etc.), but it's very easy to imagine ways for Russia (even for a communist Russia under a hypothetically saner Stalin) which would've become way way stronger than it did. Russia had both the landmass and the relatively high-IQ population needed to become a first class world power, and communism squandered a lot of resources. I cannot understand why you have to defend a regime actually harmful to Russia, which hated Russia's traditions and population. It's like an American patriot defending the Obama administration, because it was American.
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  63. @Boris N
    Why do I have to admire anybody now? And if I don't why do I have to admire Lenin-Stalin-whomever instead ? You pose a false dilemma. As for famines and industrialization it has been already said many times. I'm not going to rebuke that mythology once more.

    P.S. https://reddevol.blogspot.com/2017/05/blog-post_25.html

    Rebuked only in your mind. Your kind cannot be argued with. Explain where those 106 000 tanks produced during great patriotic war came from? Tsarist time built factories which could not even produce enough bullets and shells? What about planes? Say ho ho as much as you want. That won’t explain suddenly appeared manufacturing capacity that was not there in 1914-1917. You were rebuked many times but evidence is not for your kind.

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    • Replies: @Boris N

    Rebuked only in your mind... You were rebuked many times but evidence is not for your kind.
     
    You have not bothered reading the blog post I cited, alright. But how have "your type" rebuked "my type"? By thoughtlessly citing an index to a book where 95% of the "Soviet" factories were built during the Tsarist era? What is your evidence except for utter Stalinist propaganda?

    Your kind cannot be argued with.
     
    Manifold the same may be said about "your type". Yet you are speaking and arguing with me, so let's not to be pretending.

    Explain where those 106 000 tanks produced during great patriotic war came from?
     
    You may read this (http://temezhnikov.narod.ru/tuhta/0_oglavlenie.htm). I know, I know you probably won't, but at least I tried.

    Tsarist time built factories which could not even produce enough bullets and shells?
     
    The same can be said about the Stalinist USSR during the first years of the war.
    Only by 1945 the Soviet Army stopped worrying about munitions and the Soviet artillery could act at an unprecedented scale unbelievable during the first years of the war.

    What about planes?
     
    The Russian empire built enough aircraft for its time, some of them were unique and state-of-the-art, like "Russky Vityaz" and "Ilya Muromets" by Sikorsky (who had to flee from the Bolsheviks).

    That won’t explain suddenly appeared manufacturing capacity that was not there in 1914-1917.
     
    (1) It was there and the Bolsheviks inherited a lot of industries from the "damned Tsarists". (2) Even if the Stalinists had managed to a built lot of French- and English-copied tanks by 1941 that weaponry turned to be outdated and useless due to the low quality and the lack of munitions (read the book above). So even if the Tsarists had the problems with the supply, the very same problems the Stalinists repeated manifold in 1941. And when the "rotten" Russian empire just only had to cede the Western part, the Stalinists, with all their vaunted industrialization, failed altogether and had to retreat right to Moscow.
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  64. @Boris N
    As for the last 25 years. I've already described how the people lived in my village by the 1990s. So for your information during the 1990s (before Putin!) the people there got:
    1) water supply to every house,
    2) gas to every house,
    3) normal sewage,
    4) hence in combination hot water, central heating, and normal baths and toilets.

    Of course, the people have done it for their own money, but why couldn't the Soviet government do it for 70 years for the state money? And doesn't the very fact that the people had got enough money to improve their living conditions say something?

    In addition to that, there was no normal road there, but only a temporary one made of concrete plates which were completely run-down with big potholes, but during the 1990s they have made a good asphalt road. Again I repeat, even before Putin! During Putin they have made a full-scale highway there. I do not like this latter development personally as it has ruined the tranquility and the nature of the place, but anyway doesn't it say something?

    You seem to concentrate on few things that are very local and are not widespread but very rare. 90′s were unmitigated disaster if one look at overall picture. Russia still cannot get over it. Also, problems of later 80′s were self inflicted by so called perestroika aka katastroika process with culmination in 90′s. Overall, demographic collapse and death toll show different picture from what you described. Be people usually do not die off when things go well. It is ultimate indicator. Add to this destroyed industries and scientific potential… We’re Soviet Union stay intact, I assure you, you would have been living far better and most certainly would not engage in these arguments because when people are content they do not spend time on such forums.

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    • Replies: @Boris N

    You seem to concentrate on few things that are very local and are not widespread but very rare.
     
    I was not speaking about Rublevka. It is an average and unremarkable village hundreds of km from Moscow. Yes, I must admit that there is a city nearby, so this is why we can enjoy a new highway just nearby. But as for any other things it does not make much difference.

    90′s were unmitigated disaster if one look at overall picture.
     
    It cannot be argued, but the SU had been heading to that disaster for long.

    Russia still cannot get over it.
     
    Not true. At least Anatoly alone has provided a lot of evidence of the recovering, so you even have not to look for it anywhere.

    Also, problems of later 80′s were self inflicted by so called perestroika aka katastroika process with culmination in 90′s.
     
    What were the problems in 1945-1985 which had prevented the Soviets from providing normal facilities in my village? Yet in the 1990s, despite the overall crisis, the people there as well as in the villages all across Russia have managed to improve their basic living conditions which the Soviet government could not have managed for 70 years.

    Overall, demographic collapse and death toll show different picture from what you described. Be people usually do not die off when things go well. It is ultimate indicator.
     
    You seem to have been reading Anatoly, but you have failed to read some of his main posts. The demographic decline has started long before the 1990s.

    Add to this destroyed industries and scientific potential…
     
    Which were lagging behind the Western ones by decades by the 1980s anyway.

    We’re Soviet Union stay intact, I assure you, you would have been living far better and most certainly would not engage in these arguments because when people are content they do not spend time on such forums.
     
    Ridiculous argument. In theory, every one who have ever made any comment in the web is not content. I may have my own reasons why I'm writing here. Your argument can be redirected exactly towards you: you must be not content with your unrealized American dream (if I remember it right, you're an immigrant to the USA from the 1990s), otherwise you wouldn't be writing here claiming how the Soviet life was better comparing to the modern Russian life. The Russian life may be lagging behind the Western one, but it is way better than the Soviet one. You may argue and fantasize about "what if" indefinitely, but the Communists had their own chance and they have failed.
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  65. @Boris N
    You seem to have misunderstood me greatly. I would be the last person who would be saying about the ultimate superiority of the West. In fact, I have written a lot of negative comments towards the West here; and many comments were towards America in particular - I may give a long list of the things I hate about America.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU. It is still today, and it was particularly so back then. Even in the catastrophic 1930s. Such indirect indicators as the number of radio receivers or TV sets may indeed say much about the well-being of countries. In fact, they have been used even in Soviet works. In fact, it was the Soviets who set up America as the standard to reach for the Soviet development ("догнать и перегнать" - first by Lenin, then revived by Khrushchev).

    Sorry is I misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU.

    1. ‘Overall’ doesn’t mean much, it depends on who you are. Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
    And
    2. GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn’t, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I wonder how USA all ife standards would have been with America destroyed twice within 25 years and without ability to print unlimited amount of money and borrow from the future. In any case, not by bread alone men live and vast majority in USSR lived happy lives. There was no need in what happened. It was like trying to cure some flu by cutting off legs and removing kidneys.
    , @Boris N

    ‘Overall’ doesn’t mean much, it depends on who you are.
     
    Of course, yet all people of whatever social status walk on the same streets, drive on the same roads, visit the same public building, etc. And such public environments differ greatly across the countries. Of course, some may live in a gated community somewhere in Ghana and enjoy a First World quality life, but it wouldn't mean that over the fence the life is exactly the same as in Europe/USA. And the opposite: living in a poor hood in Europe/USA must not mean that everybody around also do live like that.

    Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth
     
    When I was reading your argument I got an obvious suspicion, so I deliberately checked (justicemap.org) and I was right - West Baltimore is >95% black. So you have practically a Little Africa there. But what do you expect from them?

    The problem is only 15% live like Moscow, but only 15% live like West Baltimore. And not all Moscow is that attractive and prosperous.

    (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
     
    I have not watched it, but, hey, we are living in the 21th century and thanks to Google we can virtually walk everywhere! I've deliberately chosen the blackest and poorest hoods (e.g. Winchester, Lexington). Yes, the roads and the sidewalks are ugly and cracked, a lot of litter and even utter piles of rubbish, many buildings look ugly and ramshackle, etc. But, hey, much of Russia looks like that. And some more or less decent streets and houses (not every corner of West Baltimore looks terrible) might be considered elite for the well-off in Russia.

    You have not seen what Russia may look like. Check the so-called "private sectors" in any city, e.g. the west side of Novosibirskaya str., or the southern side of the 45 Strelkovoy Divizii str. in Voronezh. And no, these are not ghettos like in America, where only the bottom of the society live, they are 100% white Russian and are more or less friendly and peaceful.

    And while in the USA and other Western countries tower blocks are considered the worst of housing for the trash, more than 65% in Russia live in them (https://rg.ru/2013/07/04/socio.html). And how many Americans do live in tower blocks?

    P.S. Stumbled upon an interesting article: the streets named after Barnaul. http://barnaul.amic.ru/ulits-v-tchesty-barnaula-na-karte-rodin-bloger-yan-strokov-issleduet-google-maps/
    , @Boris N

    GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn’t, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.
     
    By the way, I've never said that. Of course, Equatorial Guinea, just because of the higher GDP, does not seem for me in any way more attractive and comfortable than Hungary or Poland. High GDP does not guarantee anything, as well as low or mediocre GDP is not all doom and gloom. But it is a good way to start. And this is why we have a lot of other indicators like facilities or household appliances, or any other socio-economic indicators you may like.
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  66. @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry is I misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU.
     
    1. 'Overall' doesn't mean much, it depends on who you are. Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
    And
    2. GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn't, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.

    I wonder how USA all ife standards would have been with America destroyed twice within 25 years and without ability to print unlimited amount of money and borrow from the future. In any case, not by bread alone men live and vast majority in USSR lived happy lives. There was no need in what happened. It was like trying to cure some flu by cutting off legs and removing kidneys.

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  67. Logan says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Russians distrust their government, but it has nothing to do with Navalny. Russia is a low-trust society in general.

    Russia has always been a low-trust society. And for darn good reason. Its institutions have never been trustworthy.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Well, there are advantages to being a low-trust society: Russians are more likely resist the liberal propaganda, which is usually based on emotional manipulation. When Europeans are shown an image of dead Muslim kid on a beach, it brings tears to their eyes. Russians will start wondering: why is this image being shown to them, what's the agenda? Liberal pundits in the West call this mindset "Russian cynicism" and they HATE it, because it means Russians can't be duped quite as easily.

    BTW Poles, Hungarians are just like this. The entire Eastern Europe is an area of low social trust and weak institutions.
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  68. @Duke of Qin
    A little off topic but can anyone explain how Russia was able to tackle the air pollution issue? The photos I've seen of Russian cities always seem so blue which I did not expect. Ive always assumed that Soviet industrial policy and general communist central planning resource misallocation would have resulted in some apocalyptic levels of air pollution. Was it much worse before the Soviet Union collapsed? Or is it simply that there is no industry to speak of around Moscow.

    Flat. And some planning. The USSR did sometimes deliberately build factories on the lee side of cities. Do not however visit Norilsk.

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  69. @Sergey Krieger
    I also wonder Boris, why aren't you trying to explain what happened in recent 25 years in Russia and other SSRs but your kind repeatedly comes back to Lenin Stalin and evil Bolsheviks.
    Lenin Stalin left USSR industrialized, food safe ( no famines after collectivization was over), with huge scientific complex and USSR won the most terrible war in human history which in case of loss would mean Russia death under Stalin.
    What people you most probably admire did to Russia in the past 25 years?

    The early sixties saw a major food shortage which did not become famine due to grain shipments from the USA.

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  70. @Logan
    Russia has always been a low-trust society. And for darn good reason. Its institutions have never been trustworthy.

    Well, there are advantages to being a low-trust society: Russians are more likely resist the liberal propaganda, which is usually based on emotional manipulation. When Europeans are shown an image of dead Muslim kid on a beach, it brings tears to their eyes. Russians will start wondering: why is this image being shown to them, what’s the agenda? Liberal pundits in the West call this mindset “Russian cynicism” and they HATE it, because it means Russians can’t be duped quite as easily.

    BTW Poles, Hungarians are just like this. The entire Eastern Europe is an area of low social trust and weak institutions.

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  71. @aaaa returns
    Well USSR was a giant threat to Europe.
    Although USA did commit some war crimes, we generally were very professional on European soil, and were probably a huge aid to the rapid reconstruction that ensued once the war officially ended.

    Of course, the cold war that followed became a very sick affair of empire-building

    Of course, the cold war that followed became a very sick affair of empire-building.

    The empire-building long predates the Cold War. It goes back to the Spanish-American War, as a consequence of which we acquired our very first colony in the eastern hemisphere: the Philippines. The Cold War did not incidentally lead to empire-building; on the contrary, empire-building was the cold war’s only purpose. It made it possible for Washington to consolidate control over western Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Then, they could sweep aside what remained of the French and British empires, and begin the process of acquiring control over their former colonies as well.

    When the USSR disbanded under Gorbachev, the neocons (thought they) were in a position to make their bid for power in the Middle East. However, they ended up taking too long, and now Russia’s back. Cold War II will feature a divided Middle East, much as Cold War I featured a divided Europe.

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  72. Opendemocracy, although very Sorosite writes interesting pieces on non-Moscow StP cities/regions and had a good April piece on recent protests in Ekaterinburg about the location of a new church. Localist rather than Atlanticist protests are where the real energy is in Russia.

    Our city, our space: Ekaterinburg residents come out against plans to construct a new church https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/our-city-our-space-ekaterinburg-residents-come-out-against-plans-to-construct-new-church

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  73. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Sergey Krieger
    1946 was straight after the war so no wonder.the problems that had accumulated over 100+ years in Tsarist Russia, so called peasants and agricultural question, could not be resolved without some sacrifices. Especially that in 1917 Russia was essentially dead. Lenin and than Stalin had to rebuild the whole country resolving what had accumulated before under fire. It was cutting Gordiev knot. Soviet Union had to quickly build industrial capacity... No easy way out. Russian history of 20th century is full of tragedy but also of incomparable achievements. Those who blame bolsheviks are simply sofa warriors. I also notice they refuse to pay attention to very recent events which resulted in million of deaths.

    As someone has already pointed out, the USSR started importing grain (and other foodstuffs) after the 1960s. For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn’t so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn’t sell to West Germany. Collectivization didn’t solve anything, and it harmed Russia enormously.

    Russia (without its breadbasket Ukraine) started to export grain sometime in the 1990s or 2000s. There’s now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) it might become a net food exporter (should be easy, because once you manage to export grain, you can instead feed the grain to pigs and so become self-sufficient in meat, too). Long term, I’d expect Russia to be self-sufficient in foodstuffs. I’m sure that in the absence of collectivization Russia would now be a net exporter of foodstuffs.

    Communism harmed Russia enormously. Of course it’s difficult to simulate counter-factuals (would Russia have become pozzed like Western Europe, had it not been isolated for 70 years under communism? would it have developed nukes? etc.), but it’s very easy to imagine ways for Russia (even for a communist Russia under a hypothetically saner Stalin) which would’ve become way way stronger than it did. Russia had both the landmass and the relatively high-IQ population needed to become a first class world power, and communism squandered a lot of resources. I cannot understand why you have to defend a regime actually harmful to Russia, which hated Russia’s traditions and population. It’s like an American patriot defending the Obama administration, because it was American.

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    • Replies: @Avery
    {There’s now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) ......}


    [That Russian import dependency on western grain lasted until very recently. Now, for the harvest year 2016-2017 according to the US Department of Agriculture and the International Grains Council, Russia will export some 30 million tons of GMO-free grain, exceeding the EU’s 27 million tons and USA with 25.5 million tons.]
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/05/23/eurasian-economic-transformation-goes-forward/
    , @Boris N

    For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn’t so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn’t sell to West Germany.
     
    One of the most well-known is the Ikarus bus. Also many remember tinned/canned food from Hungary, particularly vegetables like sweet corn, green peas, tomato sauce, etc. I cannot say, though, if it was really of a low quality or not, but it must have been no worse than the own Soviet production.

    Overall I think many Soviet people had had an impression that the "Socialist camp" lived much better off than the SU itself. An the level of the DDR was thought as an unreachable socialist paradise, not much worse from the "decaying" capitalist West.
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  74. Avery says:
    @reiner Tor
    As someone has already pointed out, the USSR started importing grain (and other foodstuffs) after the 1960s. For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn't so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn't sell to West Germany. Collectivization didn't solve anything, and it harmed Russia enormously.

    Russia (without its breadbasket Ukraine) started to export grain sometime in the 1990s or 2000s. There's now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) it might become a net food exporter (should be easy, because once you manage to export grain, you can instead feed the grain to pigs and so become self-sufficient in meat, too). Long term, I'd expect Russia to be self-sufficient in foodstuffs. I'm sure that in the absence of collectivization Russia would now be a net exporter of foodstuffs.

    Communism harmed Russia enormously. Of course it's difficult to simulate counter-factuals (would Russia have become pozzed like Western Europe, had it not been isolated for 70 years under communism? would it have developed nukes? etc.), but it's very easy to imagine ways for Russia (even for a communist Russia under a hypothetically saner Stalin) which would've become way way stronger than it did. Russia had both the landmass and the relatively high-IQ population needed to become a first class world power, and communism squandered a lot of resources. I cannot understand why you have to defend a regime actually harmful to Russia, which hated Russia's traditions and population. It's like an American patriot defending the Obama administration, because it was American.

    {There’s now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) ……}

    [That Russian import dependency on western grain lasted until very recently. Now, for the harvest year 2016-2017 according to the US Department of Agriculture and the International Grains Council, Russia will export some 30 million tons of GMO-free grain, exceeding the EU’s 27 million tons and USA with 25.5 million tons.]

    http://journal-neo.org/2017/05/23/eurasian-economic-transformation-goes-forward/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thanks, that actually strengthens my point. Collectivization of agriculture was a disaster.
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  75. reiner Tor says: • Website
    @Avery
    {There’s now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) ......}


    [That Russian import dependency on western grain lasted until very recently. Now, for the harvest year 2016-2017 according to the US Department of Agriculture and the International Grains Council, Russia will export some 30 million tons of GMO-free grain, exceeding the EU’s 27 million tons and USA with 25.5 million tons.]
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/05/23/eurasian-economic-transformation-goes-forward/

    Thanks, that actually strengthens my point. Collectivization of agriculture was a disaster.

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  76. OT, but not entirely. This afternoon I watched the coverage of the Macron-Putin meeting at Versailles, where there was considerable pride that the youngster stood up to the Russian autocrat in terms of defending “nos valeurs”, notably the LGBTetc. community in Chechyna.

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  77. Pavel says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Against the program of demolition of “Khrushchev” published many Pro-government journalists
     
    Sure. It can be criticized, of course, nothing to it. I was talking about the protests and the general attitude towards government initiatives, as in: they are out to get us! somehow! But, again, I don't live there, it's just the impression I get from watching talk shows on youtube.

    Demolition and resettlement go their own way.
    The issue in the redistribution of financial flows between the new Sobyanin administration and the old guard left after Luzhkov.
    Next, all the integrated parties derive their advantages from this conflict.
    Western liberals inflame discontent from scratch, residents want to knock out more comfortable conditions for resettlement, the construction lobby protects its interests, official authorities try to manipulate the protest mood.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    The issue in the redistribution of financial flows
     
    I understand (and concur with) the 'follow the money' angle, but then, as it follows from your own comment, it's hardly "the issue". It's an issue.
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  78. @Pavel
    Demolition and resettlement go their own way.
    The issue in the redistribution of financial flows between the new Sobyanin administration and the old guard left after Luzhkov.
    Next, all the integrated parties derive their advantages from this conflict.
    Western liberals inflame discontent from scratch, residents want to knock out more comfortable conditions for resettlement, the construction lobby protects its interests, official authorities try to manipulate the protest mood.

    The issue in the redistribution of financial flows

    I understand (and concur with) the ‘follow the money’ angle, but then, as it follows from your own comment, it’s hardly “the issue”. It’s an issue.

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  79. […] keeping and secure transactions are also of great importance. Russia’s real estate sector and the Russian people’s desire for greater transparency in both state-owned and private large sca… is another area where the blockchain can reap major dividends in fighting […]

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  80. Boris N says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry is I misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU.
     
    1. 'Overall' doesn't mean much, it depends on who you are. Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
    And
    2. GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn't, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.

    ‘Overall’ doesn’t mean much, it depends on who you are.

    Of course, yet all people of whatever social status walk on the same streets, drive on the same roads, visit the same public building, etc. And such public environments differ greatly across the countries. Of course, some may live in a gated community somewhere in Ghana and enjoy a First World quality life, but it wouldn’t mean that over the fence the life is exactly the same as in Europe/USA. And the opposite: living in a poor hood in Europe/USA must not mean that everybody around also do live like that.

    Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth

    When I was reading your argument I got an obvious suspicion, so I deliberately checked (justicemap.org) and I was right – West Baltimore is >95% black. So you have practically a Little Africa there. But what do you expect from them?

    The problem is only 15% live like Moscow, but only 15% live like West Baltimore. And not all Moscow is that attractive and prosperous.

    (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).

    I have not watched it, but, hey, we are living in the 21th century and thanks to Google we can virtually walk everywhere! I’ve deliberately chosen the blackest and poorest hoods (e.g. Winchester, Lexington). Yes, the roads and the sidewalks are ugly and cracked, a lot of litter and even utter piles of rubbish, many buildings look ugly and ramshackle, etc. But, hey, much of Russia looks like that. And some more or less decent streets and houses (not every corner of West Baltimore looks terrible) might be considered elite for the well-off in Russia.

    You have not seen what Russia may look like. Check the so-called “private sectors” in any city, e.g. the west side of Novosibirskaya str., or the southern side of the 45 Strelkovoy Divizii str. in Voronezh. And no, these are not ghettos like in America, where only the bottom of the society live, they are 100% white Russian and are more or less friendly and peaceful.

    And while in the USA and other Western countries tower blocks are considered the worst of housing for the trash, more than 65% in Russia live in them (https://rg.ru/2013/07/04/socio.html). And how many Americans do live in tower blocks?

    P.S. Stumbled upon an interesting article: the streets named after Barnaul. http://barnaul.amic.ru/ulits-v-tchesty-barnaula-na-karte-rodin-bloger-yan-strokov-issleduet-google-maps/

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  81. Boris N says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry is I misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, we can hardly argue that the overall living standards and the level of life comfort in the West (that is North America plus Western Europe) has been way better than in Russia/SU.
     
    1. 'Overall' doesn't mean much, it depends on who you are. Moscow has high standard of living, while, say, West Baltimore is, apparently, hell on earth (judging by popular TV series, The Wire).
    And
    2. GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn't, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.

    GDP per capita is one characteristic, one piece of the puzzle. It doesn’t, however, tell the whole story about life comfort. Human beings are more complicated than that.

    By the way, I’ve never said that. Of course, Equatorial Guinea, just because of the higher GDP, does not seem for me in any way more attractive and comfortable than Hungary or Poland. High GDP does not guarantee anything, as well as low or mediocre GDP is not all doom and gloom. But it is a good way to start. And this is why we have a lot of other indicators like facilities or household appliances, or any other socio-economic indicators you may like.

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  82. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Rebuked only in your mind. Your kind cannot be argued with. Explain where those 106 000 tanks produced during great patriotic war came from? Tsarist time built factories which could not even produce enough bullets and shells? What about planes? Say ho ho as much as you want. That won't explain suddenly appeared manufacturing capacity that was not there in 1914-1917. You were rebuked many times but evidence is not for your kind.

    Rebuked only in your mind… You were rebuked many times but evidence is not for your kind.

    You have not bothered reading the blog post I cited, alright. But how have “your type” rebuked “my type”? By thoughtlessly citing an index to a book where 95% of the “Soviet” factories were built during the Tsarist era? What is your evidence except for utter Stalinist propaganda?

    Your kind cannot be argued with.

    Manifold the same may be said about “your type”. Yet you are speaking and arguing with me, so let’s not to be pretending.

    Explain where those 106 000 tanks produced during great patriotic war came from?

    You may read this (http://temezhnikov.narod.ru/tuhta/0_oglavlenie.htm). I know, I know you probably won’t, but at least I tried.

    Tsarist time built factories which could not even produce enough bullets and shells?

    The same can be said about the Stalinist USSR during the first years of the war.
    Only by 1945 the Soviet Army stopped worrying about munitions and the Soviet artillery could act at an unprecedented scale unbelievable during the first years of the war.

    What about planes?

    The Russian empire built enough aircraft for its time, some of them were unique and state-of-the-art, like “Russky Vityaz” and “Ilya Muromets” by Sikorsky (who had to flee from the Bolsheviks).

    That won’t explain suddenly appeared manufacturing capacity that was not there in 1914-1917.

    (1) It was there and the Bolsheviks inherited a lot of industries from the “damned Tsarists”. (2) Even if the Stalinists had managed to a built lot of French- and English-copied tanks by 1941 that weaponry turned to be outdated and useless due to the low quality and the lack of munitions (read the book above). So even if the Tsarists had the problems with the supply, the very same problems the Stalinists repeated manifold in 1941. And when the “rotten” Russian empire just only had to cede the Western part, the Stalinists, with all their vaunted industrialization, failed altogether and had to retreat right to Moscow.

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  83. Boris N says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    You seem to concentrate on few things that are very local and are not widespread but very rare. 90's were unmitigated disaster if one look at overall picture. Russia still cannot get over it. Also, problems of later 80's were self inflicted by so called perestroika aka katastroika process with culmination in 90's. Overall, demographic collapse and death toll show different picture from what you described. Be people usually do not die off when things go well. It is ultimate indicator. Add to this destroyed industries and scientific potential... We're Soviet Union stay intact, I assure you, you would have been living far better and most certainly would not engage in these arguments because when people are content they do not spend time on such forums.

    You seem to concentrate on few things that are very local and are not widespread but very rare.

    I was not speaking about Rublevka. It is an average and unremarkable village hundreds of km from Moscow. Yes, I must admit that there is a city nearby, so this is why we can enjoy a new highway just nearby. But as for any other things it does not make much difference.

    90′s were unmitigated disaster if one look at overall picture.

    It cannot be argued, but the SU had been heading to that disaster for long.

    Russia still cannot get over it.

    Not true. At least Anatoly alone has provided a lot of evidence of the recovering, so you even have not to look for it anywhere.

    Also, problems of later 80′s were self inflicted by so called perestroika aka katastroika process with culmination in 90′s.

    What were the problems in 1945-1985 which had prevented the Soviets from providing normal facilities in my village? Yet in the 1990s, despite the overall crisis, the people there as well as in the villages all across Russia have managed to improve their basic living conditions which the Soviet government could not have managed for 70 years.

    Overall, demographic collapse and death toll show different picture from what you described. Be people usually do not die off when things go well. It is ultimate indicator.

    You seem to have been reading Anatoly, but you have failed to read some of his main posts. The demographic decline has started long before the 1990s.

    Add to this destroyed industries and scientific potential…

    Which were lagging behind the Western ones by decades by the 1980s anyway.

    We’re Soviet Union stay intact, I assure you, you would have been living far better and most certainly would not engage in these arguments because when people are content they do not spend time on such forums.

    Ridiculous argument. In theory, every one who have ever made any comment in the web is not content. I may have my own reasons why I’m writing here. Your argument can be redirected exactly towards you: you must be not content with your unrealized American dream (if I remember it right, you’re an immigrant to the USA from the 1990s), otherwise you wouldn’t be writing here claiming how the Soviet life was better comparing to the modern Russian life. The Russian life may be lagging behind the Western one, but it is way better than the Soviet one. You may argue and fantasize about “what if” indefinitely, but the Communists had their own chance and they have failed.

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  84. Boris N says:
    @reiner Tor
    As someone has already pointed out, the USSR started importing grain (and other foodstuffs) after the 1960s. For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn't so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn't sell to West Germany. Collectivization didn't solve anything, and it harmed Russia enormously.

    Russia (without its breadbasket Ukraine) started to export grain sometime in the 1990s or 2000s. There's now a possibility that (again, without its breadbasket) it might become a net food exporter (should be easy, because once you manage to export grain, you can instead feed the grain to pigs and so become self-sufficient in meat, too). Long term, I'd expect Russia to be self-sufficient in foodstuffs. I'm sure that in the absence of collectivization Russia would now be a net exporter of foodstuffs.

    Communism harmed Russia enormously. Of course it's difficult to simulate counter-factuals (would Russia have become pozzed like Western Europe, had it not been isolated for 70 years under communism? would it have developed nukes? etc.), but it's very easy to imagine ways for Russia (even for a communist Russia under a hypothetically saner Stalin) which would've become way way stronger than it did. Russia had both the landmass and the relatively high-IQ population needed to become a first class world power, and communism squandered a lot of resources. I cannot understand why you have to defend a regime actually harmful to Russia, which hated Russia's traditions and population. It's like an American patriot defending the Obama administration, because it was American.

    For example communist Hungary (where collectivization wasn’t so severe, the private plots of farmers were larger, and collective farms enjoyed more autonomy and were occasionally even subsidized) managed to be a net food exporter, and a lot of our produce went to the USSR. Mind you, it was the lower quality stuff, things we couldn’t sell to West Germany.

    One of the most well-known is the Ikarus bus. Also many remember tinned/canned food from Hungary, particularly vegetables like sweet corn, green peas, tomato sauce, etc. I cannot say, though, if it was really of a low quality or not, but it must have been no worse than the own Soviet production.

    Overall I think many Soviet people had had an impression that the “Socialist camp” lived much better off than the SU itself. An the level of the DDR was thought as an unreachable socialist paradise, not much worse from the “decaying” capitalist West.

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