Was Life Really That Bad In The USSR?


Many people have a negative reaction when they hear the words communism or the USSR.  However, if you ask why, you will often get a vague answer that is only partly true or even incorrect. The reason for this may be the fierce propaganda from the West, but that is another topic for discussion. In this article, we will try to understand what the lives of ordinary people in the USSR were like, mainly from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.

One of the important factors determining happiness is how much money a person will receive. In the USSR in 1988, the average monthly salary, regardless of specialty, was 219.8 rubles, which is equal to 379 U.S. dollars at the rate of 0.58 rubles per dollar. On average, a food basket with a full ration per person was 477.73 rubles per year. In addition, the Constitution of the USSR gave a free apartment in a certain area to every worker, but this process could sometimes take up to 10 years, due to the large queue of people. Medicine in the USSR was available to anyone, thanks to the Semashko system. It provided state institutions with money from the national fund, and the state also paid for vouchers to sanatoriums for everyone- but no more than once a year.

In Soviet times, the way people thought had several differences in comparison with our time. The citizens of the USSR developed the practice of helping one another, though there were occasional reverse cases. Starting in elementary school, children are taught to help one another; for example, there were Octobrists with Pioneers who volunteered and assisted those in need. The practice of subbotniks was also widespread, during which, Saturday was allocated in order to work free of charge for the benefit of society. Also, people in the USSR were open and unafraid of crime. To some extent, due to strict censorship and the lack of consumerism. For example, people had no fear of walking late at night, leaving a bicycle on the street without a lock, or asking a passerby to look after luggage for a while. In general, society in the USSR was much safer and more conscientious than it is now.

Ultimately, we can say that life in the USSR was certainly not bad, but the information that was considered in this article is not enough to fully describe the life of an ordinary person in the USSR. This article does not deal with any political topics or freedoms, and is aimed at the daily lives of people. When it comes to political freedom, the United States clearly has the edge there.