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soviet-arcade-museum-1

One of the quainter, more obscure attractions in Moscow is the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.

The post-Stalinist USSR aimed to provide a good material living standard to its people, and technologies were bought from the West towards that end (e.g. the classic Lada was a copy of an Italian Fiat car).

Ergo for arcade machines, which were developed on the basis of American exemplars brought over during the 1970s (although their graphics and tech was around a decade behind that of the US, as in much of the rest of the economy).

Amusing, telling fact: The electronic screens were produced exclusively by the military factories that also made radar screens for the Soviet Armed Forces. Why? Because none of the civilian factories had the requisite capital equipment to produce them. They were rare and in high demand, with the standard rate for a round going at 15 kopeks (average salary: ~200 rubles/month). Consequently, although they were very expensive to produce – one arcade machine cost as much to produce as two Moskvich cars (which cost about 7,500 rubles around 1980) – they were nonetheless a highly profitable item for those military factories’ ledgers.

soviet-arcade-museum-2

There are several dozen arcade machines in the museum, which also hosts a cafe. You can buy 15 rounds for 450 rubles in the Moscow branch of the museum.

soviet-arcade-museum-3

They were all surprisingly hard to beat. For instance, my best performance was in this snake game, and I couldn’t get past the third level.

You can play some of these games on their website: http://15kop.ru/ (h/t Hippopotamusdrome).

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Moscow, Soviet Union, The AK, Travel, Video Games 
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  1. songbird says:

    Somewhat related to this post and the Canadian annexation post:

    There used to be X-rated arcades in Canada. Specifically, Quebec. They had these really comical signs outside where they would have Donkey Kong or Ms. Pacman alongside something that was just a little scandalous, like Betty Boop showing some leg.

    I regret to say that the last time I was in that neck of the woods, I was about 12 and too young to find out what was inside them, but it did not stop me from regaling others when I returned and sounding worldly.

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  2. Morskoi Boi emulated in a browser window. (Periscope torpedo game)
    MOPCKON bON

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  3. songbird says:

    I wonder if there was any skeeball in the old Soviet arcades.

    Used to be a common game to see in arcades in the US. You would win tickets based on your score and could exchange them for prizes. There were a lot of varied tiny, plastic toys which seemed to me to be the epitome of capitalism (though probably mostly made in China.) Also, bigger, more expensive items for many more tickets, but I am sure nobody ever had enough tickets for those.

    I think they used to be around in my grandpa’s day too (way before video games). It was a fun game.

    Read More
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  4. were the cartoons really like this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yevardian
    No. And the late USSR was a far more pleasant country to live in than the USA today.
    , @Esn
    Not at all. They were like this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
    (in the above links, turn on English subtitles by clicking on "CC")

    The Simpsons creators were making fun of some Tom & Jerry cartoons they had seen that were made in Yugoslavia, plus stuff from their own imagination. Westerners wouldn't have known the difference (whenever a Soviet cartoon did make its way to the West, all the Russian names in the credits were replaced with Western ones to hide the origin, as happened with "The Snow Queen"), so the joke worked for the Simpsons audience.

    , @AP
    Soviet cartoons were great. Those and the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev metros were the only great things the Soviets made.

    Here is a wonderful one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5mxXtStOY
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  5. I like the look of a lot of the Soviet animation they produced after Stalin:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUYmVzJGyzirq_eKlDGBzDA

    Read More
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  6. Yevardian says:
    @Greasy William
    were the cartoons really like this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2_dhUv_CrI

    No. And the late USSR was a far more pleasant country to live in than the USA today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Could you elaborate on this please?
    , @Verymuchalive
    Not only the USSR. Britain and most other Western countries were a lot better in the 1970s and 1980s than the US is today.
    , @fish
    I was prepared to dismiss your comment out of hand but you do raise the following quite valid points!

    High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
     
    We have in most respects abandoned higher culture entirely (there are certainly enclaves in the US where it is preserved and celebrated but for the most part we've wholly embraced prolefeed!

    All the Russian and other emigre's from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were remarkably bright and in almost all instances utterly charming! Makes me wonder why all the animosity! The two cultures were certainly more similar at the height of the cold war than now!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Esn says:
    @Greasy William
    were the cartoons really like this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2_dhUv_CrI

    Not at all. They were like this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
    (in the above links, turn on English subtitles by clicking on “CC”)

    The Simpsons creators were making fun of some Tom & Jerry cartoons they had seen that were made in Yugoslavia, plus stuff from their own imagination. Westerners wouldn’t have known the difference (whenever a Soviet cartoon did make its way to the West, all the Russian names in the credits were replaced with Western ones to hide the origin, as happened with “The Snow Queen”), so the joke worked for the Simpsons audience.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    I liked watching The Little Mole when I was younger.

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved, it seems like Western animation has become less aesthetically pleasing in the latest decades.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. OT
    AK,I did rather rashly promise to contribute 50 GBP to your funds if Russia didn’t make the semi-finals. So furnish me with an account and I will pay up. Sorry don’t do Bitcoin or the like.
    Before I leave the subject, 3 points about this World Cup.
    *1 The general standard of play has been the poorest I can remember. Seeded teams have been particularly poor. Not only Germany, but Brazil and Argentina could have been eliminated at the Group Stage. To see Spain and Portugal struggle past the footballing might of Iran and Morocco was not a pretty sight. Few bright features to report.
    *2 The standard of management has also been dire. The number of managers who did not seem to have a Plan B (eg Germany, Poland) was staggeringly high. Even in the Brazil game, Belgium could have lost the game because they chose to spend the second half defending on their 18 yard line, rather than blocking the midfield or going for the 3rd goal.
    *3 Fifa Rankings are a better measure of quality than Elo. Belgium (3) play France (7) and England (12) play Croatia (20). For the first time since the Rankings were established, a team outside the top 10 will contest the final. It would be pleasing if the All Whites ( whose change strip is all black!) would win, but I don’t think they have the quality.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks.
    You can use any of the methods here: http://akarlin.com/donations/ (probably Paypal would be easiest).
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  9. Dr. Doom says:

    Of course here, the capitalist video game companies make fun of the Soviet style arcade machines. Having spent all their money on their Military Industrial Complex the people had only simplistic games of skill and not arcade classics you played at home like that SONY playstation dolphin game or the ever popular Racist Urban Jungle: Miami Vice Soundtrack.
    In the Sovstate, they had to play rinky dink games of skill or boardgames like Chess, while American kids played the far superior games where they could beat and rape a hooker, learn probability by playing Spend your parents money Pokemon and the ever popular Who wants to be a Robber Baron where two or more players can buy up everything, put people out of business, lower the standards of living and be the richest guy with Monopoly Money around. All by building expensive hotels on Prime Real Estate and avoiding low end ghetto properties.
    I’d like to think that Capitalism is like the 1980s, where you watch big boobs on the Telly, pretend to be law-abiding while leading a double life as a drug dealer and the girls dream of marrying a Rich guy by being a hooker with the heart of a Libertarian.
    Welcome to Pottersville. Its a Wonderful Cyberpunk Dystopian Landscape, Mr. Johnson.

    Who knows what the future brings? Its in the shadows somewhere, chummer.

    Read More
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  10. @Esn
    Not at all. They were like this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
    (in the above links, turn on English subtitles by clicking on "CC")

    The Simpsons creators were making fun of some Tom & Jerry cartoons they had seen that were made in Yugoslavia, plus stuff from their own imagination. Westerners wouldn't have known the difference (whenever a Soviet cartoon did make its way to the West, all the Russian names in the credits were replaced with Western ones to hide the origin, as happened with "The Snow Queen"), so the joke worked for the Simpsons audience.

    I liked watching The Little Mole when I was younger.

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved, it seems like Western animation has become less aesthetically pleasing in the latest decades.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved
     
    Have you watched modern cartoons? Graphical technology has plummeted to the toilet. Cartoons now use low-polygon 3D models with the crappiest renderers possible and jerking, ugly movements. Old school cartoons were lovingly hand-drawn by actual, honest-to-goodness artists. The difference is night and day.
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  11. @Yevardian
    No. And the late USSR was a far more pleasant country to live in than the USA today.

    Could you elaborate on this please?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    He is either being nostalgic for his childhood or unrealistic.
    , @Yevardian
    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the 'stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn't have a problem unless you subscribed to 'foodie' BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively 'inefficient' (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about 'Sovoks' in particular.
    I'm not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won't recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a 'fake and gay' country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

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  12. @Yevardian
    No. And the late USSR was a far more pleasant country to live in than the USA today.

    Not only the USSR. Britain and most other Western countries were a lot better in the 1970s and 1980s than the US is today.

    Read More
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  13. AP says:
    @Greasy William
    were the cartoons really like this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2_dhUv_CrI

    Soviet cartoons were great. Those and the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev metros were the only great things the Soviets made.

    Here is a wonderful one:

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Re: Soviet animation. Here is a goodie from 1967, with surprisingly good English subtitles. The Passion of the Spies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEAj_oY7XGg
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. AP says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Could you elaborate on this please?

    He is either being nostalgic for his childhood or unrealistic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yevardian
    I grew up during the "dashing 90s" whilst Karlin was gallivanting in London and imbibing his worldview from The Economist. I have pungent memories of that time.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. songbird says:

    I wonder if the machines ever ate people’s kopeks or else you put it in and found that the button was broken. That would be harsh at 200 rubles/month.

    Read More
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  16. Yevardian says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Could you elaborate on this please?

    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the ‘stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn’t have a problem unless you subscribed to ‘foodie’ BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop ‘culture’ gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively ‘inefficient’ (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about ‘Sovoks’ in particular.
    I’m not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won’t recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a ‘fake and gay’ country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    . It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the

     

    It would quite likely have collapsed within 10 years later even without leaders like Gorbachev, when oil prices fall down to $11 per barrel (at the bottom in 1998) , along with collapse of various other relevant global commodity prices throughout the 1990s decade.

    Such an alternative "bottom-up" collapse ten years later, may have been even more destabilizing than premature "top-down" collapse that actually occurred.

    However, maybe we can imagine the less likely "alternative" history in which Soviet Union survived somehow 1990s intensification of oil and commodity price collapse. If it had somehow survived this, then of course with 2000s commodity boom, Soviet economy would have recovered greatly during the 2000s, when oil prices accelerated from 1998 low at $11 per barrel, reaching to historical peak of $145 per barrel in 2008, along with other relevant commodity prices.

    How would it be, in this "alternative history"? While on the positive side, there would be greater social cohesion and cultural level than now - on the negative side, the longrun economic problems would surely be more unsolved than they are today (where there has at least developed, fortunately, a significantly capitalist economy).

    That said, I imagine the mad laughter of some Leibnizian scientist though, running endless different scenarios through a historical simulation machine, and yet discovering that in every alternative historical universe, the person climbing to the relevant position, whether General Secretary of the Soviet Union, or President of the Russian Federation - by cosmic necessity itself, is always going to be Putin.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one...
     
    Correct. But these are marginal phenomena in the capitalist countries.

    Moreover, a moderate background level of unemployment (~5%) is a good thing, as it indicates that people are searching for better jobs and leaving companies that are not providing them.

    Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn’t have a problem unless you subscribed to ‘foodie’ BS.
     
    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    There was however a soslovie that did have access to "foodie BS" (e.g. "luxuries" such as tropical fruit) - the ones that resided in central Moscow and were Communist Party members.

    So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in.
     
    How is this supposed to reflect well on the USSR?

    But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs...
     
    The Virgin Soviet High Culture & Education vs. The Chad Mackie D. :)
    , @inertial
    USSR in the 1960s through 1980s was the best time and place in history to be a kid. It was pretty good for many adults too. One thing that only those who lived there can understand is how safe it felt. Nothing bad happened, nothing bad could happen...
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Thank you for your detailed response.

    The homeless are a real quality of life nuisance in major cities.

    Though I like the Vegas homeless.

    America has been good to me, but I share many of your frustrations.
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  17. Yevardian says:
    @AP
    He is either being nostalgic for his childhood or unrealistic.

    I grew up during the “dashing 90s” whilst Karlin was gallivanting in London and imbibing his worldview from The Economist. I have pungent memories of that time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Those were clearly even worse than Soviet times. 90s was when the Soviet elite got rid of the system they hadn't believed in for a long time, and ran wild. Ultimate product of Soviet morality.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Actually during the 1990s I was poor and living in comparative shitholes (Aberdeen, Preston). In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans, and our first foreign holiday was in the early 2000s, almost a decade after we emigrated. Unfortunately, my parents were not forward-thinking enough to furnish me with a lifestyle that included "gallivanting in London," precisely because they were not sovoks.
    , @RadicalCenter
    AK’s views on Russia, as well as mass third world settlement of white countries, seem diametrically opposed to the Economist’s views.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @AP
    Soviet cartoons were great. Those and the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev metros were the only great things the Soviets made.

    Here is a wonderful one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5mxXtStOY

    Re: Soviet animation. Here is a goodie from 1967, with surprisingly good English subtitles. The Passion of the Spies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEAj_oY7XGg

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. AP says:
    @Yevardian
    I grew up during the "dashing 90s" whilst Karlin was gallivanting in London and imbibing his worldview from The Economist. I have pungent memories of that time.

    Those were clearly even worse than Soviet times. 90s was when the Soviet elite got rid of the system they hadn’t believed in for a long time, and ran wild. Ultimate product of Soviet morality.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. Dmitry says:
    @Yevardian
    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the 'stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn't have a problem unless you subscribed to 'foodie' BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively 'inefficient' (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about 'Sovoks' in particular.
    I'm not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won't recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a 'fake and gay' country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

    . It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the

    It would quite likely have collapsed within 10 years later even without leaders like Gorbachev, when oil prices fall down to $11 per barrel (at the bottom in 1998) , along with collapse of various other relevant global commodity prices throughout the 1990s decade.

    Such an alternative “bottom-up” collapse ten years later, may have been even more destabilizing than premature “top-down” collapse that actually occurred.

    However, maybe we can imagine the less likely “alternative” history in which Soviet Union survived somehow 1990s intensification of oil and commodity price collapse. If it had somehow survived this, then of course with 2000s commodity boom, Soviet economy would have recovered greatly during the 2000s, when oil prices accelerated from 1998 low at $11 per barrel, reaching to historical peak of $145 per barrel in 2008, along with other relevant commodity prices.

    How would it be, in this “alternative history”? While on the positive side, there would be greater social cohesion and cultural level than now – on the negative side, the longrun economic problems would surely be more unsolved than they are today (where there has at least developed, fortunately, a significantly capitalist economy).

    That said, I imagine the mad laughter of some Leibnizian scientist though, running endless different scenarios through a historical simulation machine, and yet discovering that in every alternative historical universe, the person climbing to the relevant position, whether General Secretary of the Soviet Union, or President of the Russian Federation – by cosmic necessity itself, is always going to be Putin.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The USSR could’ve survived adverse economic circumstances, like Cuba or North Korea did, but I doubt Yevardian or Glossy would like it. It would economically liberalize anyway, but it’d keep the mostly ugly (though occasionally appealing) Sovok aesthetics.

    Putin was an accident, he resigned from the KGB during the 1991 August “coup,” of course he would never be the top leader.

    , @anonymous coward
    USSR hadn't "collapsed". Look at Yeltsin: he had a 40 year long uninterrupted political career, died peacefully in his sleep at the top of his summit of power, surrounded by family, showered with regalia and protected by his successor.

    Does that sound like a leader of a 'collaped' state?

    The story of other Soviet politicians is the same.

    No, it wasn't a "collapse", it was a controlled demolition.

    For Soviet politicians, the post-USSR transition was less traumatic than a typical election year for USA politicians! Very controlled indeed.
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  21. @Dmitry

    . It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the

     

    It would quite likely have collapsed within 10 years later even without leaders like Gorbachev, when oil prices fall down to $11 per barrel (at the bottom in 1998) , along with collapse of various other relevant global commodity prices throughout the 1990s decade.

    Such an alternative "bottom-up" collapse ten years later, may have been even more destabilizing than premature "top-down" collapse that actually occurred.

    However, maybe we can imagine the less likely "alternative" history in which Soviet Union survived somehow 1990s intensification of oil and commodity price collapse. If it had somehow survived this, then of course with 2000s commodity boom, Soviet economy would have recovered greatly during the 2000s, when oil prices accelerated from 1998 low at $11 per barrel, reaching to historical peak of $145 per barrel in 2008, along with other relevant commodity prices.

    How would it be, in this "alternative history"? While on the positive side, there would be greater social cohesion and cultural level than now - on the negative side, the longrun economic problems would surely be more unsolved than they are today (where there has at least developed, fortunately, a significantly capitalist economy).

    That said, I imagine the mad laughter of some Leibnizian scientist though, running endless different scenarios through a historical simulation machine, and yet discovering that in every alternative historical universe, the person climbing to the relevant position, whether General Secretary of the Soviet Union, or President of the Russian Federation - by cosmic necessity itself, is always going to be Putin.

    The USSR could’ve survived adverse economic circumstances, like Cuba or North Korea did, but I doubt Yevardian or Glossy would like it. It would economically liberalize anyway, but it’d keep the mostly ugly (though occasionally appealing) Sovok aesthetics.

    Putin was an accident, he resigned from the KGB during the 1991 August “coup,” of course he would never be the top leader.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Putin was not happy with that job, and such a man would surely have climbed and climbed, in any political system, to score his destiny as leader in either system.
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  22. OT

    The S-400 deal with Turkey is a double edged weapon. It could provide the USA access to an advanced Russian weapon system.

    https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ragip-soylu/2018/06/28/turkey-extends-s-400-offer-to-washington

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Good point.

    But even apart from the risk of the US getting Russian tech from turkey, Russia’s foolish to sell any advanced weaponry, even “defensive”, to turkey or any other sizable Muslim country next door to Russia.

    Not anywhere near as evil and foolish as the us and friends arming and aiding ISIS and other islamists, but not wise.
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  23. @Hyperborean
    I liked watching The Little Mole when I was younger.

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved, it seems like Western animation has become less aesthetically pleasing in the latest decades.

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved

    Have you watched modern cartoons? Graphical technology has plummeted to the toilet. Cartoons now use low-polygon 3D models with the crappiest renderers possible and jerking, ugly movements. Old school cartoons were lovingly hand-drawn by actual, honest-to-goodness artists. The difference is night and day.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack, Josep
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    I was a bit too vague, I meant the graphical technology available on the market has improved but, counterintuitively, the visual quality of Western animation* have gone down.

    *Well perhaps American animation is more appropriate than Western animation.

    , @Daniel Chieh
    Yup. Its all vectors these days, which has its place but its exceptionally overused. This is especially noticeable in US cartoons, to the point that even high quality work looks like that essentially was a Newgrounds flash animation with more money.
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  24. @Dmitry

    . It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the

     

    It would quite likely have collapsed within 10 years later even without leaders like Gorbachev, when oil prices fall down to $11 per barrel (at the bottom in 1998) , along with collapse of various other relevant global commodity prices throughout the 1990s decade.

    Such an alternative "bottom-up" collapse ten years later, may have been even more destabilizing than premature "top-down" collapse that actually occurred.

    However, maybe we can imagine the less likely "alternative" history in which Soviet Union survived somehow 1990s intensification of oil and commodity price collapse. If it had somehow survived this, then of course with 2000s commodity boom, Soviet economy would have recovered greatly during the 2000s, when oil prices accelerated from 1998 low at $11 per barrel, reaching to historical peak of $145 per barrel in 2008, along with other relevant commodity prices.

    How would it be, in this "alternative history"? While on the positive side, there would be greater social cohesion and cultural level than now - on the negative side, the longrun economic problems would surely be more unsolved than they are today (where there has at least developed, fortunately, a significantly capitalist economy).

    That said, I imagine the mad laughter of some Leibnizian scientist though, running endless different scenarios through a historical simulation machine, and yet discovering that in every alternative historical universe, the person climbing to the relevant position, whether General Secretary of the Soviet Union, or President of the Russian Federation - by cosmic necessity itself, is always going to be Putin.

    USSR hadn’t “collapsed”. Look at Yeltsin: he had a 40 year long uninterrupted political career, died peacefully in his sleep at the top of his summit of power, surrounded by family, showered with regalia and protected by his successor.

    Does that sound like a leader of a ‘collaped’ state?

    The story of other Soviet politicians is the same.

    No, it wasn’t a “collapse”, it was a controlled demolition.

    For Soviet politicians, the post-USSR transition was less traumatic than a typical election year for USA politicians! Very controlled indeed.

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    • Agree: AP
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  25. @anonymous coward

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved
     
    Have you watched modern cartoons? Graphical technology has plummeted to the toilet. Cartoons now use low-polygon 3D models with the crappiest renderers possible and jerking, ugly movements. Old school cartoons were lovingly hand-drawn by actual, honest-to-goodness artists. The difference is night and day.

    I was a bit too vague, I meant the graphical technology available on the market has improved but, counterintuitively, the visual quality of Western animation* have gone down.

    *Well perhaps American animation is more appropriate than Western animation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    counterintuitively, the visual quality of Western animation* have gone down.
     
    I thought it was due to a combination of laziness and money-pinching, but even very popular shows (where they surely can afford to spend money) exhibit this ugly look, so I am not exactly sure why they do this?
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  26. @Hyperborean
    I was a bit too vague, I meant the graphical technology available on the market has improved but, counterintuitively, the visual quality of Western animation* have gone down.

    *Well perhaps American animation is more appropriate than Western animation.

    counterintuitively, the visual quality of Western animation* have gone down.

    I thought it was due to a combination of laziness and money-pinching, but even very popular shows (where they surely can afford to spend money) exhibit this ugly look, so I am not exactly sure why they do this?

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  27. @Verymuchalive
    OT
    AK,I did rather rashly promise to contribute 50 GBP to your funds if Russia didn't make the semi-finals. So furnish me with an account and I will pay up. Sorry don't do Bitcoin or the like.
    Before I leave the subject, 3 points about this World Cup.
    *1 The general standard of play has been the poorest I can remember. Seeded teams have been particularly poor. Not only Germany, but Brazil and Argentina could have been eliminated at the Group Stage. To see Spain and Portugal struggle past the footballing might of Iran and Morocco was not a pretty sight. Few bright features to report.
    *2 The standard of management has also been dire. The number of managers who did not seem to have a Plan B (eg Germany, Poland) was staggeringly high. Even in the Brazil game, Belgium could have lost the game because they chose to spend the second half defending on their 18 yard line, rather than blocking the midfield or going for the 3rd goal.
    *3 Fifa Rankings are a better measure of quality than Elo. Belgium (3) play France (7) and England (12) play Croatia (20). For the first time since the Rankings were established, a team outside the top 10 will contest the final. It would be pleasing if the All Whites ( whose change strip is all black!) would win, but I don't think they have the quality.

    Thanks.
    You can use any of the methods here: http://akarlin.com/donations/ (probably Paypal would be easiest).

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I have sent the money to your email address, [redacted] via google. The money is out of my account and hopefully should be in yours.
    I am now going off to the pub to see if the All Whites can overcome May's Mixtures. Not very hopeful, though, for reasons explained.
    PS I inadvertently sent you £66 as I thought I was sending in dollars ( £50 is approx. $66 ). Please keep the difference.
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  28. @Yevardian
    I grew up during the "dashing 90s" whilst Karlin was gallivanting in London and imbibing his worldview from The Economist. I have pungent memories of that time.

    Actually during the 1990s I was poor and living in comparative shitholes (Aberdeen, Preston). In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans, and our first foreign holiday was in the early 2000s, almost a decade after we emigrated. Unfortunately, my parents were not forward-thinking enough to furnish me with a lifestyle that included “gallivanting in London,” precisely because they were not sovoks.

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    • Replies: @Talha

    In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans
     
    Hopefully you also had to deal with roaches. This all builds character and gives one a threshold for what they are able to tolerate in life.

    Too much comfort in life all the time makes one a pansy or fragile.

    Peace.

    , @Dmitry
    I thought you lived in America.

    It's interesting you lived in England so long ago in the 1990s.

    In general, people going to England only was becoming common from around 2004 or 2005 (maybe I am one or two years inaccurate in either direction?).

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  29. @Yevardian
    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the 'stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn't have a problem unless you subscribed to 'foodie' BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively 'inefficient' (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about 'Sovoks' in particular.
    I'm not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won't recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a 'fake and gay' country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one…

    Correct. But these are marginal phenomena in the capitalist countries.

    Moreover, a moderate background level of unemployment (~5%) is a good thing, as it indicates that people are searching for better jobs and leaving companies that are not providing them.

    Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn’t have a problem unless you subscribed to ‘foodie’ BS.

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    There was however a soslovie that did have access to “foodie BS” (e.g. “luxuries” such as tropical fruit) – the ones that resided in central Moscow and were Communist Party members.

    So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in.

    How is this supposed to reflect well on the USSR?

    But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs…

    The Virgin Soviet High Culture & Education vs. The Chad Mackie D. :)

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.
     
    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Homelessness is a real problem. I don't mean the risk of becoming homeless, but the irritation of dealing with the homeless.

    And wouldn't provincial Soviets typically make their own sausage?
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  30. OT

    The hypersonic Kinzhal missile planned to be integrated to other platforms besides the MiG-31, like the Tu-22M3, the Tu-160, and perhaps even the SU-30SM.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-07/russias-supersonic-bombers-launch-hypersonic-missiles

    Read More
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  31. @anonymous coward

    Even though the technical graphical technology has improved
     
    Have you watched modern cartoons? Graphical technology has plummeted to the toilet. Cartoons now use low-polygon 3D models with the crappiest renderers possible and jerking, ugly movements. Old school cartoons were lovingly hand-drawn by actual, honest-to-goodness artists. The difference is night and day.

    Yup. Its all vectors these days, which has its place but its exceptionally overused. This is especially noticeable in US cartoons, to the point that even high quality work looks like that essentially was a Newgrounds flash animation with more money.

    Read More
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  32. inertial says:

    The electronic screens were produced exclusively by the military factories that also made radar screens for the Soviet Armed Forces. Why? Because none of the civilian factories had the requisite capital equipment to produce them.

    I think you got it backwards. At some point in the Brezhnev era almost all military factories were ordered to produce some consumer goods on the side – so called shirpotreb. So tank factories made tractors, explosives factories made (according to the rumors I heard at the time) macaroni, and so on. I can easily imagine a military electronic factory manager scratching his head. “So, what kind of shirpotreb can we make? Hmm. Aha!”

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  33. inertial says:
    @Yevardian
    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the 'stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn't have a problem unless you subscribed to 'foodie' BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively 'inefficient' (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about 'Sovoks' in particular.
    I'm not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won't recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a 'fake and gay' country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

    USSR in the 1960s through 1980s was the best time and place in history to be a kid. It was pretty good for many adults too. One thing that only those who lived there can understand is how safe it felt. Nothing bad happened, nothing bad could happen…

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The safety thing was hardly unique to the USSR. Prior to the unleashing of negro pandemonium Americans routinely left their keys in their cars--unlocked.

    There was a time not so long ago in Scandinavia where the occurrence of a murder was so unusual it was front page news nationwide (and usually in the fraternal countries).

    I also get the sense that the early Silent and early Baby Boomer generations throughout the West enjoyed extremely happy, prosperous, and safe childhoods. A lost Eden.
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  34. Talha says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Actually during the 1990s I was poor and living in comparative shitholes (Aberdeen, Preston). In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans, and our first foreign holiday was in the early 2000s, almost a decade after we emigrated. Unfortunately, my parents were not forward-thinking enough to furnish me with a lifestyle that included "gallivanting in London," precisely because they were not sovoks.

    In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans

    Hopefully you also had to deal with roaches. This all builds character and gives one a threshold for what they are able to tolerate in life.

    Too much comfort in life all the time makes one a pansy or fragile.

    Peace.

    Read More
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  35. Anonymous[148] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one...
     
    Correct. But these are marginal phenomena in the capitalist countries.

    Moreover, a moderate background level of unemployment (~5%) is a good thing, as it indicates that people are searching for better jobs and leaving companies that are not providing them.

    Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn’t have a problem unless you subscribed to ‘foodie’ BS.
     
    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    There was however a soslovie that did have access to "foodie BS" (e.g. "luxuries" such as tropical fruit) - the ones that resided in central Moscow and were Communist Party members.

    So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in.
     
    How is this supposed to reflect well on the USSR?

    But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs...
     
    The Virgin Soviet High Culture & Education vs. The Chad Mackie D. :)

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    This seems improbable.
     
    Why? Hungary had better living standards, and by late afternoon you couldn't buy bread anywhere. My parents often quarreled when my dad forgot to buy (it was usually my mom's job, just sometimes she couldn't do that) and we were left without bread for an afternoon/evening.

    They produced a lot of weapons, though, which was some 20% of GDP outright.
    , @AP

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.


    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

     

    Soviet GDP in the 1970s to early 1980s was 30% to 40% of American GDP (it was about 37%):

    http://akarlin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/fennoscandia-russia-gdp-usa-compared.png

    Per quick google search, about 18% of the 1970s to 1980s Soviet GDP was spent on the military, compared to only 5% to 6% of American GDP spent on the military at that time.

    Taking into account what the military took out of the Soviet economy, Soviet consumers had less than a third of American per capita GDP in the 1970s and 1980s. One can also add other things such as paying to have zero unemployment that further decreased what was left over for consumers.

    And keep in mind that 1970s America was poorer than it is now, after the 90s boom. The Soviet Golden Age was one where regular people had less than third of what Americans during the stagnant 70s had.
    , @inertial
    Production in the USSR was mostly fine if basic, but distribution was wacky. A very common situation: you can't find something in the stores but everyone has enough of it, one way or the other.
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  36. @Anonymous

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.
     
    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

    This seems improbable.

    Why? Hungary had better living standards, and by late afternoon you couldn’t buy bread anywhere. My parents often quarreled when my dad forgot to buy (it was usually my mom’s job, just sometimes she couldn’t do that) and we were left without bread for an afternoon/evening.

    They produced a lot of weapons, though, which was some 20% of GDP outright.

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  37. AP says:
    @Anonymous

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.
     
    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

    Soviet GDP in the 1970s to early 1980s was 30% to 40% of American GDP (it was about 37%):

    Per quick google search, about 18% of the 1970s to 1980s Soviet GDP was spent on the military, compared to only 5% to 6% of American GDP spent on the military at that time.

    Taking into account what the military took out of the Soviet economy, Soviet consumers had less than a third of American per capita GDP in the 1970s and 1980s. One can also add other things such as paying to have zero unemployment that further decreased what was left over for consumers.

    And keep in mind that 1970s America was poorer than it is now, after the 90s boom. The Soviet Golden Age was one where regular people had less than third of what Americans during the stagnant 70s had.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They also had probably more bread and milk and sugar and less sausages. Randomly they also had sausages maybe 30% of the days (and 100% of the days in Moscow), so probably by numbers alone food consumption didn't look so bad.

    Electricity or gasoline consumption was proportional to GDP (or better than proportional), but it's deceptive, because there were frequent brownouts and gasoline was used by Soviet cars which were of much lower quality. You occasionally randomly couldn't buy some products, or had to spend a lot of time getting them, like shoes which both fit your feet and looked good: you had to spend a lot of time getting them, and sometimes you had to make do with shoes which fit your feet but were ugly. On paper, the numbers won't look so bad, but they didn't necessarily reflect material well-being.

    The subjective side might not have been so bad for all, but some books were difficult or impossible to read, because they were banned or (at least in Hungary) quite often made near unavailable, but ultimately not banned. You were forced to pay lip service to slogans you didn't believe in. (Not that it's better now in the US, but we're talking about 1960s through 1980s, when the US wasn't so bad yet.)
    , @Yevardian
    GDP as always is an extremely contentious and unreliable method of measuring anything outside of abstract market transactions. Huge percentage of American GDP is debt and military waste.

    Outside of a few well known examples such as 70's NYC, American standard of living 1970's was likely higher than that of the 1990's. Wealth distribution shifted dramatically towards to top 10% with Reagan, alongside deindustralisation and stagnation in wages. Off-hand, 70's is about the last period you could pick almost any American film, music or serial and be assured of some minimum level of quality, after which standards seriously dropped off in the 80's.

    GDP doesn't indicate likelihood or getting mugged on street, stability of livelihood, social unrest, quality of entertainment or educational level. Comparing any real country to the US, a place that hasn't been invaded since 1812 and vassalised Western Europe more or less for free, is a bit of a misnomer anyway.

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  38. @AP

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.


    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

     

    Soviet GDP in the 1970s to early 1980s was 30% to 40% of American GDP (it was about 37%):

    http://akarlin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/fennoscandia-russia-gdp-usa-compared.png

    Per quick google search, about 18% of the 1970s to 1980s Soviet GDP was spent on the military, compared to only 5% to 6% of American GDP spent on the military at that time.

    Taking into account what the military took out of the Soviet economy, Soviet consumers had less than a third of American per capita GDP in the 1970s and 1980s. One can also add other things such as paying to have zero unemployment that further decreased what was left over for consumers.

    And keep in mind that 1970s America was poorer than it is now, after the 90s boom. The Soviet Golden Age was one where regular people had less than third of what Americans during the stagnant 70s had.

    They also had probably more bread and milk and sugar and less sausages. Randomly they also had sausages maybe 30% of the days (and 100% of the days in Moscow), so probably by numbers alone food consumption didn’t look so bad.

    Electricity or gasoline consumption was proportional to GDP (or better than proportional), but it’s deceptive, because there were frequent brownouts and gasoline was used by Soviet cars which were of much lower quality. You occasionally randomly couldn’t buy some products, or had to spend a lot of time getting them, like shoes which both fit your feet and looked good: you had to spend a lot of time getting them, and sometimes you had to make do with shoes which fit your feet but were ugly. On paper, the numbers won’t look so bad, but they didn’t necessarily reflect material well-being.

    The subjective side might not have been so bad for all, but some books were difficult or impossible to read, because they were banned or (at least in Hungary) quite often made near unavailable, but ultimately not banned. You were forced to pay lip service to slogans you didn’t believe in. (Not that it’s better now in the US, but we’re talking about 1960s through 1980s, when the US wasn’t so bad yet.)

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    I guess I'm biased on this issue as I recall the same shortages until 1997-8 or so.
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  39. LatW says:

    The subjective side might not have been so bad for all, but some books were difficult or impossible to read, because they were banned or (at least in Hungary) quite often made near unavailable, but ultimately not banned.

    This was the most painful thing to me as I grew up and realized what books they had banned and kept away from us — wonderful books by patriotic authors from the 1930s (and before) that encapsulated the spirit of the nation. Just a very nice, artistic part of the heritage that was denied.

    The sausage part was not that bad… of course, nowhere near the choice there is today (frankly, it’s incomparable), but we had a lot of meat (in the Baltic states, at least). The funny thing is that there was more meat outside of the city, one could source the meat from the farmers who had little private households. Animals grazed, so a lot of it was grass fed (even though the animals in larger farms were fed on the so called kombikorm (combined feed), I guess that was some kind of corn, probably not that great, but today you have to pay extra attention to figure out what the animal was fed). In smaller towns and villages people made fantastic dishes – pork cutlets (patties), chicken fried steak (there is a European equivalent), ground beef in white sauce, chanterelle sauce with bacon bits, you could have it several times a week. With organic vegetables.

    There were queues, too, of course, and those were ridiculous. The production simply wasn’t keeping up with the needs. But, as I said, one could source food privately and that was of higher quality.

    I’m very curious as to what countries such as Holland, Belgium, Scandinavian countries were like in the 1980s, the UK even. They must have had much less immigration still at that point.

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  40. inertial says:
    @Anonymous

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.
     
    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

    Production in the USSR was mostly fine if basic, but distribution was wacky. A very common situation: you can’t find something in the stores but everyone has enough of it, one way or the other.

    Read More
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  41. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    The USSR could’ve survived adverse economic circumstances, like Cuba or North Korea did, but I doubt Yevardian or Glossy would like it. It would economically liberalize anyway, but it’d keep the mostly ugly (though occasionally appealing) Sovok aesthetics.

    Putin was an accident, he resigned from the KGB during the 1991 August “coup,” of course he would never be the top leader.

    Putin was not happy with that job, and such a man would surely have climbed and climbed, in any political system, to score his destiny as leader in either system.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There are many careerists. But only one top leader.

    He would have climbed very high, but being the general director of a medium sized company or party secretary of a medium sized city is already very high. He was predestined to be high. It was pure chance that he became the biggest guy in the whole of Russia.
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  42. fish says:
    @Yevardian
    No. And the late USSR was a far more pleasant country to live in than the USA today.

    I was prepared to dismiss your comment out of hand but you do raise the following quite valid points!

    High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop ‘culture’ gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.

    We have in most respects abandoned higher culture entirely (there are certainly enclaves in the US where it is preserved and celebrated but for the most part we’ve wholly embraced prolefeed!

    All the Russian and other emigre’s from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were remarkably bright and in almost all instances utterly charming! Makes me wonder why all the animosity! The two cultures were certainly more similar at the height of the cold war than now!

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  43. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Actually during the 1990s I was poor and living in comparative shitholes (Aberdeen, Preston). In our first 2 years in the UK we subsisted on spam and baked beans, and our first foreign holiday was in the early 2000s, almost a decade after we emigrated. Unfortunately, my parents were not forward-thinking enough to furnish me with a lifestyle that included "gallivanting in London," precisely because they were not sovoks.

    I thought you lived in America.

    It’s interesting you lived in England so long ago in the 1990s.

    In general, people going to England only was becoming common from around 2004 or 2005 (maybe I am one or two years inaccurate in either direction?).

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    AK Bio 101: 1988-94: Russia; 1994-96; Scotland (Aberdeen); 1996-2006: England (mostly Preston); 2006-2016: USA (California); 2016-18: Russia (Moscow).
    Some relatives are still in England (now in London), hence why I'm "gallivanting" there occasionally.
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  44. @Dmitry
    I thought you lived in America.

    It's interesting you lived in England so long ago in the 1990s.

    In general, people going to England only was becoming common from around 2004 or 2005 (maybe I am one or two years inaccurate in either direction?).

    AK Bio 101: 1988-94: Russia; 1994-96; Scotland (Aberdeen); 1996-2006: England (mostly Preston); 2006-2016: USA (California); 2016-18: Russia (Moscow).
    Some relatives are still in England (now in London), hence why I’m “gallivanting” there occasionally.

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  45. @Dmitry
    Putin was not happy with that job, and such a man would surely have climbed and climbed, in any political system, to score his destiny as leader in either system.

    There are many careerists. But only one top leader.

    He would have climbed very high, but being the general director of a medium sized company or party secretary of a medium sized city is already very high. He was predestined to be high. It was pure chance that he became the biggest guy in the whole of Russia.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Putin personally doesn't strike me as a careerist, highly ambitious or even particularly vain, despite all the stupid photoshoots. I think that showman sort of behavior is generally put on and was adopted on the advice of others.
    I think he was selected as a sort of placeholder strongman by oligarchs and their ilk until they felt confident in installing one of their own, but then everybody including Putin himself was surprised how naturally he took to the job.
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  46. @Yevardian
    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one, though all but the most wretched were prevented from dropping out of society through conscription and make-work (some might argue about this, but imo it is far cheaper in the long run to maintain menial jobs than to let people rot stew on welfare or turn to crime).
    Mass-immigration was a non-issue as the 'stans and the caucasus were ruled effectively and being civilised, similarly, the intensive commodification of food and travel did not exist. The endless lines and shortages only became a serious issue under Gorbachev. Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn't have a problem unless you subscribed to 'foodie' BS.
    Homosexuality was strongly disapproved of and discouraged but tolerated in private, a mean no country seems to understand anymore. High culture was promoted by the state whilst the pop 'culture' gutter trash that defines modern America was kept at arms length. Educational standards were universally very high, with an emphasis on technical disciplines, whilst remaining tuition-free and barring off dullards with rigorous entrance exams.
    It was a conservative, dull and relatively 'inefficient' (for the elites) system that nonetheless was beneficial for the >90% of its population in all areas except for accumulating excessive material wealth. It was collapsed from inside by a naive idiot and the ambitious traitors and greedy vermin who egged him on because they desired all the vulgar extravagances of fashionable Western socialites. So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in. But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs, so that infamous McDonalds line-up photo Karlin loves to use to mock regular Russians says absolutely nothing about 'Sovoks' in particular.
    I'm not reminiscing the USSR as some lost utopia, but the country nonetheless underwent a cultural, educational and political collapse that modern Russia won't recover from for generations, to say nothing of the other republics.
    America has been a 'fake and gay' country for centuries. No state has anything to learn from or aspire to, though its core population is fine.

    Did I really write all this? Slow work day.

    Thank you for your detailed response.

    The homeless are a real quality of life nuisance in major cities.

    Though I like the Vegas homeless.

    America has been good to me, but I share many of your frustrations.

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  47. @inertial
    USSR in the 1960s through 1980s was the best time and place in history to be a kid. It was pretty good for many adults too. One thing that only those who lived there can understand is how safe it felt. Nothing bad happened, nothing bad could happen...

    The safety thing was hardly unique to the USSR. Prior to the unleashing of negro pandemonium Americans routinely left their keys in their cars–unlocked.

    There was a time not so long ago in Scandinavia where the occurrence of a murder was so unusual it was front page news nationwide (and usually in the fraternal countries).

    I also get the sense that the early Silent and early Baby Boomer generations throughout the West enjoyed extremely happy, prosperous, and safe childhoods. A lost Eden.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    I don't just mean low street crime, although that too. It's the whole outlook. The world is bright, and sunny, and welcoming; and the people are generally decent and nice, and they will always help you if you are in trouble. Bad stuff exists out there somewhere but definitely not here. Nothing truly bad can ever happen here.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s (which, incidentally, is almost totally unknown in the West.) It often looks as though it was made by elves for elves. Earnest, naive, bright, sometimes a bit boring. Think of smiling Eduard Khil.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that. It's because of the freedom thing. People crave bad news and want to be scared, or they get bored. Even during the best times in America like the 1950s there were plenty of voices wailing that things were going to hell. On the popular entertainment front, Americans were flocking to movies about alien invasions or horror movies. There were no horror movies in the USSR. That's because the underlying philosophy behind every horror movie is that the world is horrible, even and especially the homey things. This kind of philosophy was anathema in the USSR.
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  48. @Anatoly Karlin

    Homelessness and unemployment were virtually nonexistent for one...
     
    Correct. But these are marginal phenomena in the capitalist countries.

    Moreover, a moderate background level of unemployment (~5%) is a good thing, as it indicates that people are searching for better jobs and leaving companies that are not providing them.

    Cuisine was simple but cheap, you wouldn’t have a problem unless you subscribed to ‘foodie’ BS.
     
    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.

    There was however a soslovie that did have access to "foodie BS" (e.g. "luxuries" such as tropical fruit) - the ones that resided in central Moscow and were Communist Party members.

    So the chattering class convinced the population that McDonalds, Levi Jeans and the approval of Thatcher and Reagan was worth selling off their sovereignty for, at least until serious deprivation set in.
     
    How is this supposed to reflect well on the USSR?

    But most people everywhere instinctively have the cultural aspirations of pigs...
     
    The Virgin Soviet High Culture & Education vs. The Chad Mackie D. :)

    Homelessness is a real problem. I don’t mean the risk of becoming homeless, but the irritation of dealing with the homeless.

    And wouldn’t provincial Soviets typically make their own sausage?

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  49. Yevardian says:
    @AP

    Simple as in no sausage in towns 100km outside Moscow. Simple as in the only items reliably available in provincial food stores being vodka, flour, sugar, and matches.


    This seems improbable. Soviet GDP per capita was about 40-50% of US GDP per capita in nominal terms in 1990. How could living standards be so bad?

     

    Soviet GDP in the 1970s to early 1980s was 30% to 40% of American GDP (it was about 37%):

    http://akarlin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/fennoscandia-russia-gdp-usa-compared.png

    Per quick google search, about 18% of the 1970s to 1980s Soviet GDP was spent on the military, compared to only 5% to 6% of American GDP spent on the military at that time.

    Taking into account what the military took out of the Soviet economy, Soviet consumers had less than a third of American per capita GDP in the 1970s and 1980s. One can also add other things such as paying to have zero unemployment that further decreased what was left over for consumers.

    And keep in mind that 1970s America was poorer than it is now, after the 90s boom. The Soviet Golden Age was one where regular people had less than third of what Americans during the stagnant 70s had.

    GDP as always is an extremely contentious and unreliable method of measuring anything outside of abstract market transactions. Huge percentage of American GDP is debt and military waste.

    Outside of a few well known examples such as 70′s NYC, American standard of living 1970′s was likely higher than that of the 1990′s. Wealth distribution shifted dramatically towards to top 10% with Reagan, alongside deindustralisation and stagnation in wages. Off-hand, 70′s is about the last period you could pick almost any American film, music or serial and be assured of some minimum level of quality, after which standards seriously dropped off in the 80′s.

    GDP doesn’t indicate likelihood or getting mugged on street, stability of livelihood, social unrest, quality of entertainment or educational level. Comparing any real country to the US, a place that hasn’t been invaded since 1812 and vassalised Western Europe more or less for free, is a bit of a misnomer anyway.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Huge percentage of American GDP is debt and military waste.
     
    About 6% of USA's GDP was spent on the military (including waste), 18% of the USSR's.

    Debt means people have more stuff. It magnifies the differences. So a middle-class family in 1970's America would get a mortgage and start a family in a house with their own fenced yard, and every adult would have a car that was much more luxurious than the USSR could ever offer. A "middle-class" Soviet family in the 1970s might have a few generations crammed into an apartment...but not have debt.

    Outside of a few well known examples such as 70′s NYC, American standard of living 1970′s was likely higher than that of the 1990′s.
     
    Materially, no. Murray wrote about this in Coming Apart. Look at Don Draper's house (ok, 1960s), very modest by modern standards. The top 1% have done disproportionately better by orders of magnitude, but the middle has also improved (even if their improvement has been much lower than their productivity):

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Productivity_and_Real_Median_Family_Income_Growth_1947-2009.png/400px-Productivity_and_Real_Median_Family_Income_Growth_1947-2009.png
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  50. Yevardian says:
    @reiner Tor
    They also had probably more bread and milk and sugar and less sausages. Randomly they also had sausages maybe 30% of the days (and 100% of the days in Moscow), so probably by numbers alone food consumption didn't look so bad.

    Electricity or gasoline consumption was proportional to GDP (or better than proportional), but it's deceptive, because there were frequent brownouts and gasoline was used by Soviet cars which were of much lower quality. You occasionally randomly couldn't buy some products, or had to spend a lot of time getting them, like shoes which both fit your feet and looked good: you had to spend a lot of time getting them, and sometimes you had to make do with shoes which fit your feet but were ugly. On paper, the numbers won't look so bad, but they didn't necessarily reflect material well-being.

    The subjective side might not have been so bad for all, but some books were difficult or impossible to read, because they were banned or (at least in Hungary) quite often made near unavailable, but ultimately not banned. You were forced to pay lip service to slogans you didn't believe in. (Not that it's better now in the US, but we're talking about 1960s through 1980s, when the US wasn't so bad yet.)

    I guess I’m biased on this issue as I recall the same shortages until 1997-8 or so.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In Hungary the shortages started to disappear around 1989. I remember my dad forgetting to buy bread, but because he forgot some other things which were possible to buy even then, he went to buy groceries anyway. He was greatly surprised to find bread someplace. Pretty soon it became standard, so much so that it got worth it to buy it only in the evening, because then you could eat fresher bread.

    Now living standards were dropping for the majority in the early 1990s, but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.
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  51. Yevardian says:
    @reiner Tor
    There are many careerists. But only one top leader.

    He would have climbed very high, but being the general director of a medium sized company or party secretary of a medium sized city is already very high. He was predestined to be high. It was pure chance that he became the biggest guy in the whole of Russia.

    Putin personally doesn’t strike me as a careerist, highly ambitious or even particularly vain, despite all the stupid photoshoots. I think that showman sort of behavior is generally put on and was adopted on the advice of others.
    I think he was selected as a sort of placeholder strongman by oligarchs and their ilk until they felt confident in installing one of their own, but then everybody including Putin himself was surprised how naturally he took to the job.

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  52. AP says:
    @Yevardian
    GDP as always is an extremely contentious and unreliable method of measuring anything outside of abstract market transactions. Huge percentage of American GDP is debt and military waste.

    Outside of a few well known examples such as 70's NYC, American standard of living 1970's was likely higher than that of the 1990's. Wealth distribution shifted dramatically towards to top 10% with Reagan, alongside deindustralisation and stagnation in wages. Off-hand, 70's is about the last period you could pick almost any American film, music or serial and be assured of some minimum level of quality, after which standards seriously dropped off in the 80's.

    GDP doesn't indicate likelihood or getting mugged on street, stability of livelihood, social unrest, quality of entertainment or educational level. Comparing any real country to the US, a place that hasn't been invaded since 1812 and vassalised Western Europe more or less for free, is a bit of a misnomer anyway.

    Huge percentage of American GDP is debt and military waste.

    About 6% of USA’s GDP was spent on the military (including waste), 18% of the USSR’s.

    Debt means people have more stuff. It magnifies the differences. So a middle-class family in 1970′s America would get a mortgage and start a family in a house with their own fenced yard, and every adult would have a car that was much more luxurious than the USSR could ever offer. A “middle-class” Soviet family in the 1970s might have a few generations crammed into an apartment…but not have debt.

    Outside of a few well known examples such as 70′s NYC, American standard of living 1970′s was likely higher than that of the 1990′s.

    Materially, no. Murray wrote about this in Coming Apart. Look at Don Draper’s house (ok, 1960s), very modest by modern standards. The top 1% have done disproportionately better by orders of magnitude, but the middle has also improved (even if their improvement has been much lower than their productivity):

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  53. inertial says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    The safety thing was hardly unique to the USSR. Prior to the unleashing of negro pandemonium Americans routinely left their keys in their cars--unlocked.

    There was a time not so long ago in Scandinavia where the occurrence of a murder was so unusual it was front page news nationwide (and usually in the fraternal countries).

    I also get the sense that the early Silent and early Baby Boomer generations throughout the West enjoyed extremely happy, prosperous, and safe childhoods. A lost Eden.

    I don’t just mean low street crime, although that too. It’s the whole outlook. The world is bright, and sunny, and welcoming; and the people are generally decent and nice, and they will always help you if you are in trouble. Bad stuff exists out there somewhere but definitely not here. Nothing truly bad can ever happen here.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s (which, incidentally, is almost totally unknown in the West.) It often looks as though it was made by elves for elves. Earnest, naive, bright, sometimes a bit boring. Think of smiling Eduard Khil.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that. It’s because of the freedom thing. People crave bad news and want to be scared, or they get bored. Even during the best times in America like the 1950s there were plenty of voices wailing that things were going to hell. On the popular entertainment front, Americans were flocking to movies about alien invasions or horror movies. There were no horror movies in the USSR. That’s because the underlying philosophy behind every horror movie is that the world is horrible, even and especially the homey things. This kind of philosophy was anathema in the USSR.

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    • Replies: @AP

    I don’t just mean low street crime, although that too.
     
    Street crime was no better than in the USA areas that were not "diverse." Americans weren't locking their doors in the 1970's unless they lived in diverse areas, and unlike Soviets they had plenty to steal. Actually Soviet crime was probably worse than American crime in non-diverse areas - there were more drunks and gypsies. Where there is drinking there is all kinds of assault. Where there are gypsies, there is petty theft. American panhandlers are nothing compared to a horde of gypsies. There was a group of them terrorizing people near MGU in late Soviet times, the police never touched them.

    Of course since everyone was about equally poor there wasn't serous theft, - why bother? And naturally this stuff would not be on the news in the Soviet Union.

    Here is a Soviet-era serial killer, much worse than Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer, but whose crimes weren't publicized by Soviet media:

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

    I suspect problems like child abduction were no less prevalent (or equally rare, if one sees the glass as half-full) but there was no media coverage about it so no one knew about it.

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA. This means they were higher than in the White USA.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s
     
    Sure, that was a really honest presentation of real life.

    Western mass media liked to present interesting stories with criminals, murders, etc. because such things sell. Soviet media, unconcerned with selling but concerned with propaganda, presented a fake idyll. Maybe, even probably, it was better that way. But don't confuse this presentation with real life.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that.
     
    No one living in Soviet Russia knew that "reality" either.
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  54. AP says:
    @inertial
    I don't just mean low street crime, although that too. It's the whole outlook. The world is bright, and sunny, and welcoming; and the people are generally decent and nice, and they will always help you if you are in trouble. Bad stuff exists out there somewhere but definitely not here. Nothing truly bad can ever happen here.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s (which, incidentally, is almost totally unknown in the West.) It often looks as though it was made by elves for elves. Earnest, naive, bright, sometimes a bit boring. Think of smiling Eduard Khil.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that. It's because of the freedom thing. People crave bad news and want to be scared, or they get bored. Even during the best times in America like the 1950s there were plenty of voices wailing that things were going to hell. On the popular entertainment front, Americans were flocking to movies about alien invasions or horror movies. There were no horror movies in the USSR. That's because the underlying philosophy behind every horror movie is that the world is horrible, even and especially the homey things. This kind of philosophy was anathema in the USSR.

    I don’t just mean low street crime, although that too.

    Street crime was no better than in the USA areas that were not “diverse.” Americans weren’t locking their doors in the 1970′s unless they lived in diverse areas, and unlike Soviets they had plenty to steal. Actually Soviet crime was probably worse than American crime in non-diverse areas – there were more drunks and gypsies. Where there is drinking there is all kinds of assault. Where there are gypsies, there is petty theft. American panhandlers are nothing compared to a horde of gypsies. There was a group of them terrorizing people near MGU in late Soviet times, the police never touched them.

    Of course since everyone was about equally poor there wasn’t serous theft, – why bother? And naturally this stuff would not be on the news in the Soviet Union.

    Here is a Soviet-era serial killer, much worse than Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer, but whose crimes weren’t publicized by Soviet media:

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

    I suspect problems like child abduction were no less prevalent (or equally rare, if one sees the glass as half-full) but there was no media coverage about it so no one knew about it.

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA. This means they were higher than in the White USA.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s

    Sure, that was a really honest presentation of real life.

    Western mass media liked to present interesting stories with criminals, murders, etc. because such things sell. Soviet media, unconcerned with selling but concerned with propaganda, presented a fake idyll. Maybe, even probably, it was better that way. But don’t confuse this presentation with real life.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that.

    No one living in Soviet Russia knew that “reality” either.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Rather I remained in ignorance about this man...

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


    Marriage

    In 1963 Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, to whom he had been introduced by his younger sister. According to Chikatilo, although he was attracted to Feodosia, his marriage was basically an arranged one which occurred barely two weeks after they had met and in which the decisive roles were played by his sister and her husband.[32]

    Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood he was unable to maintain an erection, they agreed she would conceive by him ejaculating externally and pushing his semen inside her vagina with his fingers.[33] In 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.
     

    Dysfunctional intimate lives of modest men who explode in violence seems to be a common thread with nearly all these people. Bundy seems to have been quite unusual in that he was personally charismatic and was not impotent or a repressed homosexual.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA.
     
    Correct.

    Even the trends were similar - low in the 1950s-60s; much higher in the 70s-80s, though with a marked but temporary dip in the late 80s USSR - are to guess why? :)

    Of course, the pattern was rather different.

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.
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  55. Yevardian says:
    @AP

    I don’t just mean low street crime, although that too.
     
    Street crime was no better than in the USA areas that were not "diverse." Americans weren't locking their doors in the 1970's unless they lived in diverse areas, and unlike Soviets they had plenty to steal. Actually Soviet crime was probably worse than American crime in non-diverse areas - there were more drunks and gypsies. Where there is drinking there is all kinds of assault. Where there are gypsies, there is petty theft. American panhandlers are nothing compared to a horde of gypsies. There was a group of them terrorizing people near MGU in late Soviet times, the police never touched them.

    Of course since everyone was about equally poor there wasn't serous theft, - why bother? And naturally this stuff would not be on the news in the Soviet Union.

    Here is a Soviet-era serial killer, much worse than Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer, but whose crimes weren't publicized by Soviet media:

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

    I suspect problems like child abduction were no less prevalent (or equally rare, if one sees the glass as half-full) but there was no media coverage about it so no one knew about it.

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA. This means they were higher than in the White USA.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s
     
    Sure, that was a really honest presentation of real life.

    Western mass media liked to present interesting stories with criminals, murders, etc. because such things sell. Soviet media, unconcerned with selling but concerned with propaganda, presented a fake idyll. Maybe, even probably, it was better that way. But don't confuse this presentation with real life.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that.
     
    No one living in Soviet Russia knew that "reality" either.

    Rather I remained in ignorance about this man…

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

    Marriage

    In 1963 Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, to whom he had been introduced by his younger sister. According to Chikatilo, although he was attracted to Feodosia, his marriage was basically an arranged one which occurred barely two weeks after they had met and in which the decisive roles were played by his sister and her husband.[32]

    Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood he was unable to maintain an erection, they agreed she would conceive by him ejaculating externally and pushing his semen inside her vagina with his fingers.[33] In 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.

    Dysfunctional intimate lives of modest men who explode in violence seems to be a common thread with nearly all these people. Bundy seems to have been quite unusual in that he was personally charismatic and was not impotent or a repressed homosexual.

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  56. @AP

    I don’t just mean low street crime, although that too.
     
    Street crime was no better than in the USA areas that were not "diverse." Americans weren't locking their doors in the 1970's unless they lived in diverse areas, and unlike Soviets they had plenty to steal. Actually Soviet crime was probably worse than American crime in non-diverse areas - there were more drunks and gypsies. Where there is drinking there is all kinds of assault. Where there are gypsies, there is petty theft. American panhandlers are nothing compared to a horde of gypsies. There was a group of them terrorizing people near MGU in late Soviet times, the police never touched them.

    Of course since everyone was about equally poor there wasn't serous theft, - why bother? And naturally this stuff would not be on the news in the Soviet Union.

    Here is a Soviet-era serial killer, much worse than Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer, but whose crimes weren't publicized by Soviet media:

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

    I suspect problems like child abduction were no less prevalent (or equally rare, if one sees the glass as half-full) but there was no media coverage about it so no one knew about it.

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA. This means they were higher than in the White USA.

    You can see it if you peruse Soviet popular culture of the 1960s-80s
     
    Sure, that was a really honest presentation of real life.

    Western mass media liked to present interesting stories with criminals, murders, etc. because such things sell. Soviet media, unconcerned with selling but concerned with propaganda, presented a fake idyll. Maybe, even probably, it was better that way. But don't confuse this presentation with real life.

    No one born in the West (or in the post-Soviet Russia) has ever known anything like that.
     
    No one living in Soviet Russia knew that "reality" either.

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA.

    Correct.

    Even the trends were similar – low in the 1950s-60s; much higher in the 70s-80s, though with a marked but temporary dip in the late 80s USSR – are to guess why? :)

    Of course, the pattern was rather different.

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.
     
    Sounds about right. However in Soviet times drunks could also harass innocent bystanders. My wife was terrified of them when she was in grade school; she had once been grabbed by the neck by a drunk in the middle of the day when coming home from school, by her apartment. Fortunately that's all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn't have ever been shown in those classic 1960s - 1980s Soviet movies.

    This was not a typical white American experience of the 1970s and 1980s but I suspect American kids in ghettos had to put up with similar experiences at the hands of random people drunk or strung out on crack. A similarity, like housing size and quality, between Soviet middle class life and American ghetto life.
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  57. @Yevardian
    I guess I'm biased on this issue as I recall the same shortages until 1997-8 or so.

    In Hungary the shortages started to disappear around 1989. I remember my dad forgetting to buy bread, but because he forgot some other things which were possible to buy even then, he went to buy groceries anyway. He was greatly surprised to find bread someplace. Pretty soon it became standard, so much so that it got worth it to buy it only in the evening, because then you could eat fresher bread.

    Now living standards were dropping for the majority in the early 1990s, but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu

    but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.
     
    How old are you? I was to Hungary several times in 1from late 1960s to early 1980s and did not have impressions of shortages. And the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in "Moscow on the Hudson."
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  58. utu says:
    @reiner Tor
    In Hungary the shortages started to disappear around 1989. I remember my dad forgetting to buy bread, but because he forgot some other things which were possible to buy even then, he went to buy groceries anyway. He was greatly surprised to find bread someplace. Pretty soon it became standard, so much so that it got worth it to buy it only in the evening, because then you could eat fresher bread.

    Now living standards were dropping for the majority in the early 1990s, but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.

    but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.

    How old are you? I was to Hungary several times in 1from late 1960s to early 1980s and did not have impressions of shortages. And the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in “Moscow on the Hudson.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I do not disclose my age.

    Did you visit Budapest? The situation was always better there. Or Lake Balaton? Ditto. In my city, you couldn't buy bread late in the afternoon (like after 4pm). Also you couldn't easily buy shoes in any sizes. As a child, this was a very important experience, because my feet were, you know, growing, and we had to buy new shoes at least once a year. (Actually, more often, I needed winter shoes, sports sneakers, etc. This was much better than when my parents were kids, for example I have pics of my mom wearing winter boots in the summer, because she didn't have a separate pair for the summer. But it might've been just a decision by my grandparents to save on shoes and so have more money for other purposes, because I think my dad had sandals on pic from a similar time.) The problem somehow disappeared around 1990 or shortly afterwards.

    the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in “Moscow on the Hudson.”
     
    I have never heard of "Moscow on the Hudson," so I have no idea. I can only tell you my memories about buying shoes with my mom: very often we couldn't find my size. Basically it was like a sale nowadays: you can find many different kinds of shoes, and many different sizes, but most kinds of shoes only exist in certain sizes, and there were sizes which were limited to one kind or were absolutely nonexistent. Because they could sell anything, they didn't bother to reserve one for you, should new shoes get delivered.
    , @reiner Tor
    Oh, and did you try to buy shoes? Or just cursorily looked at the store windows and nodded that there were many different types of shoes on display?
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  59. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Wiki says that until the late 1980s homicide rates in Soviet Russia were about the same as in the USA.
     
    Correct.

    Even the trends were similar - low in the 1950s-60s; much higher in the 70s-80s, though with a marked but temporary dip in the late 80s USSR - are to guess why? :)

    Of course, the pattern was rather different.

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.

    Sounds about right. However in Soviet times drunks could also harass innocent bystanders. My wife was terrified of them when she was in grade school; she had once been grabbed by the neck by a drunk in the middle of the day when coming home from school, by her apartment. Fortunately that’s all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn’t have ever been shown in those classic 1960s – 1980s Soviet movies.

    This was not a typical white American experience of the 1970s and 1980s but I suspect American kids in ghettos had to put up with similar experiences at the hands of random people drunk or strung out on crack. A similarity, like housing size and quality, between Soviet middle class life and American ghetto life.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Fortunately that’s all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn’t have ever been shown in those classic 1960s – 1980s Soviet movies.
     
    Plausible. So perhaps similar to the crime situation specifically in prole White areas of the US, especially its rustbelt sections (Fishtown), not the middle-class ones (Belmont).
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  60. @utu

    but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.
     
    How old are you? I was to Hungary several times in 1from late 1960s to early 1980s and did not have impressions of shortages. And the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in "Moscow on the Hudson."

    I do not disclose my age.

    Did you visit Budapest? The situation was always better there. Or Lake Balaton? Ditto. In my city, you couldn’t buy bread late in the afternoon (like after 4pm). Also you couldn’t easily buy shoes in any sizes. As a child, this was a very important experience, because my feet were, you know, growing, and we had to buy new shoes at least once a year. (Actually, more often, I needed winter shoes, sports sneakers, etc. This was much better than when my parents were kids, for example I have pics of my mom wearing winter boots in the summer, because she didn’t have a separate pair for the summer. But it might’ve been just a decision by my grandparents to save on shoes and so have more money for other purposes, because I think my dad had sandals on pic from a similar time.) The problem somehow disappeared around 1990 or shortly afterwards.

    the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in “Moscow on the Hudson.”

    I have never heard of “Moscow on the Hudson,” so I have no idea. I can only tell you my memories about buying shoes with my mom: very often we couldn’t find my size. Basically it was like a sale nowadays: you can find many different kinds of shoes, and many different sizes, but most kinds of shoes only exist in certain sizes, and there were sizes which were limited to one kind or were absolutely nonexistent. Because they could sell anything, they didn’t bother to reserve one for you, should new shoes get delivered.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I do not trust childhood memories that much. Particularly because they are tainted with strong emotional content and are lacking the knowledge of comparative context.

    For example, when bread is available or supposed to be available? Bakers in small bakeries work over night and sell fresh bread in the morning and often nothing is left late afternoon. No stale bread was/is sold and no preservatives were/are used to keep it semi fresh. Not having bread available in late afternoon was normal and even desirable.

    No question that there were awful and grotesque shortages in the Eastern Block and they came and went in waves often correlated with other countries but also there were differences of what was available in Czechoslovakia, Poland, DDR or Hungary at given time. I traveled them all. Beyond Budapest and Balaton I was to Pecs, Sopron and Szeged.

    Buying shoes for a child is often traumatic. The interrogation by parents whether they were too tight or not or too stiff was stressful for me. In the US they used to have X-ray machines to make the process less stressful. And then you got blisters form the new shoes. New shoes one could take to a shoe repair shop to have them stretched and softened. This was old practice and custom that had nothing to do with communism but more with technology. Shoes were expensive in old times and they supposed to last. I wore my older sister's shoes and was vaguely aware that something was wrong with it.

    I have seen pictures of my mother dancing in her ski shoes because she like most young girls who went skiing did not take other shoes. Lower classes did not ski and higher classes took luggage, often carried by servants, with more shoes. The ski shoes were relatively light in which you also walked. I remember in elementary school one kid was playing soccer in ski shoes and we were upset with him because he could hurt us more than we could hurt him. But nobody thought that he had no other winter shoes and was poor. Actually his family was well off. It is possible he did not have other inter shoes but it was normal. Shoes were multifunctional not like now when you have running, walking , standing and sitting/driving shoes.

    Your memories are correct but you are lacking a context and drawing unbalanced conclusions.

    The Moscow on the Hudson was a funny movie when I watched it in early 1980s during Reagan era. The movie was tailor made for the Zeitgeist with memes of 'the evil empire' and 'let our people go'. Only in retrospect one could see its manipulative message. But there was one deeper truth there which most people overlooked when Robin Williams is with a Black family in NY and they run out of cereal for a breakfast which unlike the shortages people faced in the USSR was not funny at all. In capitalism the bottom line is the bottom line while in communism you could blame it on the system and laugh at it.
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  61. @utu

    but for example for the first time since the war you could buy a shoe based on how it looked, because you could even choose at your pleasure from the shoes which fit your feet.
     
    How old are you? I was to Hungary several times in 1from late 1960s to early 1980s and did not have impressions of shortages. And the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in "Moscow on the Hudson."

    Oh, and did you try to buy shoes? Or just cursorily looked at the store windows and nodded that there were many different types of shoes on display?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Russian Reaction: the central hub to discuss footwear acquisition in a right-wing context.
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  62. @AP

    In the US: Very idyllic in White areas; highly criminalized in Black areas. Typical homicide: 25 y/o Black male in a shoot-out.

    In the USSR: Low violent street crime, probably similar to the White areas in the US, but many alcohol-related murders. Typical homicide: 45 y/o prole male bludgeoned or stabbed to death during a zapoi.
     
    Sounds about right. However in Soviet times drunks could also harass innocent bystanders. My wife was terrified of them when she was in grade school; she had once been grabbed by the neck by a drunk in the middle of the day when coming home from school, by her apartment. Fortunately that's all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn't have ever been shown in those classic 1960s - 1980s Soviet movies.

    This was not a typical white American experience of the 1970s and 1980s but I suspect American kids in ghettos had to put up with similar experiences at the hands of random people drunk or strung out on crack. A similarity, like housing size and quality, between Soviet middle class life and American ghetto life.

    Fortunately that’s all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn’t have ever been shown in those classic 1960s – 1980s Soviet movies.

    Plausible. So perhaps similar to the crime situation specifically in prole White areas of the US, especially its rustbelt sections (Fishtown), not the middle-class ones (Belmont).

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Probably. But she lived in an elite apartment. So the "democratic" nature of the USSR is that people in elite apartments had experiences akin to those of poor white American proles.
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  63. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Fortunately that’s all he did, but I suspect there were many cases of worse happening to others. This sort of thing wouldn’t have ever been shown in those classic 1960s – 1980s Soviet movies.
     
    Plausible. So perhaps similar to the crime situation specifically in prole White areas of the US, especially its rustbelt sections (Fishtown), not the middle-class ones (Belmont).

    Probably. But she lived in an elite apartment. So the “democratic” nature of the USSR is that people in elite apartments had experiences akin to those of poor white American proles.

    Read More
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  64. @reiner Tor
    Oh, and did you try to buy shoes? Or just cursorily looked at the store windows and nodded that there were many different types of shoes on display?

    Russian Reaction: the central hub to discuss footwear acquisition in a right-wing context.

    Read More
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  65. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks.
    You can use any of the methods here: http://akarlin.com/donations/ (probably Paypal would be easiest).

    I have sent the money to your email address, [redacted] via google. The money is out of my account and hopefully should be in yours.
    I am now going off to the pub to see if the All Whites can overcome May’s Mixtures. Not very hopeful, though, for reasons explained.
    PS I inadvertently sent you £66 as I thought I was sending in dollars ( £50 is approx. $66 ). Please keep the difference.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Good of you to honor the bet. Hats off, sir.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks, much appreciated.
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  66. @Verymuchalive
    I have sent the money to your email address, [redacted] via google. The money is out of my account and hopefully should be in yours.
    I am now going off to the pub to see if the All Whites can overcome May's Mixtures. Not very hopeful, though, for reasons explained.
    PS I inadvertently sent you £66 as I thought I was sending in dollars ( £50 is approx. $66 ). Please keep the difference.

    Good of you to honor the bet. Hats off, sir.

    Read More
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  67. @Verymuchalive
    I have sent the money to your email address, [redacted] via google. The money is out of my account and hopefully should be in yours.
    I am now going off to the pub to see if the All Whites can overcome May's Mixtures. Not very hopeful, though, for reasons explained.
    PS I inadvertently sent you £66 as I thought I was sending in dollars ( £50 is approx. $66 ). Please keep the difference.

    Thanks, much appreciated.

    Read More
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  68. @reiner Tor
    OT

    The S-400 deal with Turkey is a double edged weapon. It could provide the USA access to an advanced Russian weapon system.

    https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ragip-soylu/2018/06/28/turkey-extends-s-400-offer-to-washington

    Good point.

    But even apart from the risk of the US getting Russian tech from turkey, Russia’s foolish to sell any advanced weaponry, even “defensive”, to turkey or any other sizable Muslim country next door to Russia.

    Not anywhere near as evil and foolish as the us and friends arming and aiding ISIS and other islamists, but not wise.

    Read More
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  69. @Yevardian
    I grew up during the "dashing 90s" whilst Karlin was gallivanting in London and imbibing his worldview from The Economist. I have pungent memories of that time.

    AK’s views on Russia, as well as mass third world settlement of white countries, seem diametrically opposed to the Economist’s views.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yevardian
    My point was simply that The Economist was one of our erstwhile blogger's introduction to politics, as he wrote way back on Sublime Oblivion, the tone of which was completly different to how he writes now.
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  70. utu says:
    @reiner Tor
    I do not disclose my age.

    Did you visit Budapest? The situation was always better there. Or Lake Balaton? Ditto. In my city, you couldn't buy bread late in the afternoon (like after 4pm). Also you couldn't easily buy shoes in any sizes. As a child, this was a very important experience, because my feet were, you know, growing, and we had to buy new shoes at least once a year. (Actually, more often, I needed winter shoes, sports sneakers, etc. This was much better than when my parents were kids, for example I have pics of my mom wearing winter boots in the summer, because she didn't have a separate pair for the summer. But it might've been just a decision by my grandparents to save on shoes and so have more money for other purposes, because I think my dad had sandals on pic from a similar time.) The problem somehow disappeared around 1990 or shortly afterwards.

    the story about the shoes is from a joke about Russia which was utilized in “Moscow on the Hudson.”
     
    I have never heard of "Moscow on the Hudson," so I have no idea. I can only tell you my memories about buying shoes with my mom: very often we couldn't find my size. Basically it was like a sale nowadays: you can find many different kinds of shoes, and many different sizes, but most kinds of shoes only exist in certain sizes, and there were sizes which were limited to one kind or were absolutely nonexistent. Because they could sell anything, they didn't bother to reserve one for you, should new shoes get delivered.

    I do not trust childhood memories that much. Particularly because they are tainted with strong emotional content and are lacking the knowledge of comparative context.

    For example, when bread is available or supposed to be available? Bakers in small bakeries work over night and sell fresh bread in the morning and often nothing is left late afternoon. No stale bread was/is sold and no preservatives were/are used to keep it semi fresh. Not having bread available in late afternoon was normal and even desirable.

    No question that there were awful and grotesque shortages in the Eastern Block and they came and went in waves often correlated with other countries but also there were differences of what was available in Czechoslovakia, Poland, DDR or Hungary at given time. I traveled them all. Beyond Budapest and Balaton I was to Pecs, Sopron and Szeged.

    Buying shoes for a child is often traumatic. The interrogation by parents whether they were too tight or not or too stiff was stressful for me. In the US they used to have X-ray machines to make the process less stressful. And then you got blisters form the new shoes. New shoes one could take to a shoe repair shop to have them stretched and softened. This was old practice and custom that had nothing to do with communism but more with technology. Shoes were expensive in old times and they supposed to last. I wore my older sister’s shoes and was vaguely aware that something was wrong with it.

    I have seen pictures of my mother dancing in her ski shoes because she like most young girls who went skiing did not take other shoes. Lower classes did not ski and higher classes took luggage, often carried by servants, with more shoes. The ski shoes were relatively light in which you also walked. I remember in elementary school one kid was playing soccer in ski shoes and we were upset with him because he could hurt us more than we could hurt him. But nobody thought that he had no other winter shoes and was poor. Actually his family was well off. It is possible he did not have other inter shoes but it was normal. Shoes were multifunctional not like now when you have running, walking , standing and sitting/driving shoes.

    Your memories are correct but you are lacking a context and drawing unbalanced conclusions.

    The Moscow on the Hudson was a funny movie when I watched it in early 1980s during Reagan era. The movie was tailor made for the Zeitgeist with memes of ‘the evil empire’ and ‘let our people go’. Only in retrospect one could see its manipulative message. But there was one deeper truth there which most people overlooked when Robin Williams is with a Black family in NY and they run out of cereal for a breakfast which unlike the shortages people faced in the USSR was not funny at all. In capitalism the bottom line is the bottom line while in communism you could blame it on the system and laugh at it.

    Read More
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  71. Andrei says:

    What a coincidene! I was just there two weeks ago in my final day of my world cup tour. It would have been really lottery like odds if i could see you there heh

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  72. Yevardian says:
    @RadicalCenter
    AK’s views on Russia, as well as mass third world settlement of white countries, seem diametrically opposed to the Economist’s views.

    My point was simply that The Economist was one of our erstwhile blogger’s introduction to politics, as he wrote way back on Sublime Oblivion, the tone of which was completly different to how he writes now.

    Read More
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