USSR. Life under Stalin.

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Memories of Professor Torgasheva.
Immediately after the end of life of the population of the USSR war begins to dramatically improve. In 1946, the increased salary workers, engineers and technical workers (ITR) at 20%, working in factories and construction sites in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. In the same year, a 20% increase the salaries of people with higher and secondary special education (engineers, workers of science, education and medicine). Rises importance of academic degrees and titles. The salary of professors, doctors increased from 1,600 to 5,000 rubles, associate professor, candidate of science – from 1200 to 3200 rubles, the rector of the university from 2500 to 8000 rubles. The research institutes PhD began to add to the basic salary of 1,000 rubles, and the doctor of sciences – 2500 rubles. At the same time, the Federal Minister for salary was 5000 rubles, and the District Party Committee Secretary – 1500 rubles. Stalin, as Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, had a salary of 10 thousand rubles. Scientists in the Soviet Union at that time and have extra income, sometimes exceeding several times the salary. So they were the richest and at the same time the most respected part of Soviet society.

Card system, which allowed during the war to save from starvation many people, causes severe psychological discomfort after the war. The assortment of food products that are sold on the card, was very poor. For example, in bakery it was only 2 types of bread of rye and wheat, which were sold in bulk in accordance with the standards set forth in the cutting card. The choice of other food products was also small. At the same time, the commercial shops was such an abundance of food, which could be the envy of any modern supermarket. However, prices in these stores were not available for the majority of the population, and the products it acquired only for the holiday table. After the abolition of the card system (1947god), all this abundance appeared in conventional grocery stores at reasonable prices. For example, the price of cakes, which were previously only sold in commercial stores, decreased from 30 to 3 rubles. More than 3 times the fallen market prices for the products.

March 1, 1949 – 1951 years is a further decline in prices, on average 20% per year. Each reduction was seen as a national holiday. When the 1 March 1952 did not happen the next lower prices, people have a feeling of disappointment. However, on April 1 of the same year decline in prices is still held. Last price decrease occurred after Stalin’s death April 1, 1953. During the postwar period, food prices and top-selling industrial goods declined on average by more than 2 times. Now, eight years after the war the Soviet people’s lives improved significantly every year. Throughout the known history of mankind in any country similar precedent was not observed.

Soviet population level in the mid-50s can be estimated by studying the materials research budgets of families of workers, employees and collective farmers, held by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) of the USSR from 1935 to 1958 (the material that the Soviet Union had classified as “secret” , published on the website Budgets have been studied in families at 9 groups: farmers, state farm workers, industrial workers, engineers industry serving industry, an elementary school teacher, high school teachers, doctors and nurses. Most secured part of the population to which the employees of defense industry enterprises, design organizations, research institutions, university professors, workers cooperatives and the military, unfortunately, did not get into the field of view of the CSB.

From the above study groups was the greatest income for doctors. For every member of their family had 800 rubles monthly income. Of the urban population in the lowest income has been serving the industry – 525 rubles per month accounted for each family member. In the rural population per capita monthly income was 350 rubles. In this case, if the workers of state farms the income was expressly cash, then the farmers it being based on the value of state-set prices of their own products consumed in the home.

Consumption of the product is in all population groups, including agriculture, about the same level of 200-210 rubles per month per family member. Only in the family food basket medical costs reached 250 rubles due to greater consumption of butter, meat products, eggs, fish and vegetables while reducing bread and potatoes. The villagers consumed the most bread, potatoes, eggs and milk, but much less butter, fish, sugar and confectionery products. It should be noted that the sum of 200 rubles spent on food was linked not directly to the family income or a limited selection of products, as determined by family traditions. In my family, consisting in 1955 of four people, including two students, the monthly income per capita was 1,200 rubles. Selection of products in grocery stores Leningrad was considerably wider than in the modern supermarket. However, our family spending on food, including school breakfasts and lunches in the departmental canteens parents, did not exceed 800 rubles per month.

It was a cheap meal in departmental canteens. Lunch in the student cafeteria, which includes soup with meat, the second with meat and stewed fruit or tea with pie, worth about 2 rubles. Complimentary bread was always on the table. Therefore, in the days before the issuance of the scholarship, some students living on their own, to buy tea for 20 cents, and load up the bread with mustard and tea. By the way, salt, pepper and mustard, as always stood on the tables. Scholarship at the institute where I was, since 1955, was 290 rubles (if different estimates – 390 rubles). 40 rubles from nonresident students took to the dormitory fee. The remaining 250 rubles (7,500 rubles today) is quite enough for a normal student life in the big city. At the same time, as a rule, non-resident students do not receive assistance from home and earned money in your spare time.

A few words about Leningrad grocery stores at that time. The greatest variety of different fish department. Several varieties of red and black caviar were put in a large bowl. Full range of white fish hot and cold smoked red fish on chum salmon to salmon, smoked eel and marinated lampreys, herring in jars and barrels. Live fish of rivers and inland bodies of water delivered immediately after the catch in special tankers with the word “fish”. there was no frozen fish. She appeared only in the early 60s. There was a lot of canned fish, of which I remember gobies in tomato sauce, the ubiquitous crab 4 rubles to the bank and a favorite product of students living in the hostel – cod liver. Beef and mutton was divided into four categories with different price depending on the parts of the carcass. The semi-finished products department were presented splints, steaks, schnitzels and scallops. Variety of sausages was substantially wider than it is now, and their taste, I still remember. Now only in Finland, you can try the sausage, reminiscent of the Soviet of those times. It should be said that the taste of cooked sausages changed in the early ’60s, when Khrushchev ordered to be added to the soy sausage. This provision was ignored only in the Baltic republics, where in the 70s you could buy a normal doctor’s sausage.

Provision of the population in industrial goods in the mid-50s was rather high. For example, in working-class families for each person each year purchased more than 3 pairs of shoes. The quality and variety of consumer products exclusively domestic production (clothing, shoes, dishes, toys, furniture and other household goods) was much higher than in the following years. The fact that the majority of these goods are not produced by state enterprises, and cooperative. And the products are sold to cooperatives in the ordinary state stores. As soon as the new trends in fashion, they quickly tracked, and after a few months of fashionable products appear in abundance on the shelves. For example, in the mid-50s there was a youth fashion shoes with thick rubber soles white color in imitation of the extremely popular in those years, the executor of songs in the style of rock and roll Elvis Presley. These shoes domestic production I quietly bought in the usual department store in autumn 1955, along with other fashion item – a tie with brightly colored picture. The only item that is not always possible to buy, it is popular record. However, I have been in 1955, records purchased in stores, almost all popular at the time, American jazz musicians and singers such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller. Only Elvis Presley records, illegally performed on the x-ray film (as they said “on the bones”) had to buy with it. I can not remember at the time imported goods. And the clothes and shoes produced in small batches and a wide variety of different models. In addition, there was widespread manufacturing of clothing and footwear under individual orders in numerous sewing and knitting atelier in shoe shops belonging to the trade cooperation. There were many tailors and shoemakers, working individually. The most popular goods at the time were the fabric. I still remember the name of the popular at the time as the fabric drape, Cheviot, boston, crepe de chine.

To illustrate the life of the population of the USSR in 1955, I can at the example of his family. The family consisted of 4 people. His father, 50 years old, head of the Design Institute. The mother, 45 years old, engineer-geologist Lenmetrostroya. Son, 18 years old, high school graduate. Son, 10 years old, student. Family income consisted of three parts: base salary (2200 rubles from his father and mother at 1,400 rubles), a quarterly award for implementation of the plan is usually 60% of the salary, and a separate award for above-plan work. Whether such a premium mom gets, I do not know, but my father got it about once a year, and in 1955 the prize was 6,000 rubles. In other years, it had about the same amount. I remember how the father received this award, laid out a lot of hundred-ruble notes on the dining table in the form of card solitaire, and then we organized a gala dinner. The average monthly income of the family amounted to 4800 rubles or 1,200 rubles per person.

Of this amount, 550 rubles deducted for taxes, party and union dues. On the food took 800 rubles. 150 rubles was spent for housing and utilities (water, heating, electricity, gas, telephone). 500 rubles spent on clothes, shoes, transportation, entertainment. Thus, the regular monthly expenses of the family of 4 persons is 2000 rubles. Unspent money remains in 2800 rubles per month, or 33,600 rubles (RUR million today) a year.

Revenues of our family were closer to the average than the upper. For higher incomes were in the private sector (cooperatives), which accounted for more than 5% of the urban population. High wages were the army officers, Interior Ministry, Ministry of State Security. For example, a conventional army lieutenant platoon leader had a monthly income of 2600-3600 rubles, depending on the location and the service specifics. At the same time military income is not taxed. To illustrate the income of employees of the defense industry will give me a good example of a young family friend who worked in the Experimental Design Bureau of the Ministry of Aviation Industry. Male, 25 years old, a senior engineer with a salary of 1,400 rubles and a monthly income given various awards and travel 2500 rubles. His wife, 24 years old, a senior technician with a salary of 900 rubles and a monthly income of 1,500 rubles. In general, the monthly income of a family of two persons is 4000 rubles. The year was about 15 thousand rubles unspent money. I believe that a substantial proportion of urban families had the opportunity to annually set aside 5 – 10 thousand rubles (150 – 300 thousand rubles today).

From high-value goods vehicles should be allocated. The assortment of cars was small, but problems with their purchase was not. In Leningrad, in a large department store “Apraksin Yard” was Motor Show. I remember that in 1955 there were exhibited for the free sale of cars Moskvich-400 for 9,000 rubles (economy class), Victory for 16,000 rubles (business class) and ZIM (later Seagull) for 40,000 rubles (executive class). Our family had enough savings to purchase any of the cars listed above, including ZIM. A Moskvich car at all was available for the majority of the population. Nevertheless, the real demand for automobiles was not. While cars were seen as expensive toys, creating a lot of problems in content and services. My uncle was a Moskvich car on which it is only a few times a year went out of town. I bought this car uncle in 1949 because in the courtyard of his house in the former stables, he could arrange a garage. Father at work offered to buy a decommissioned American Willis, a military jeep that time, only 1,500 rubles. His father abandoned the car, because there was no place to keep it.

I will mention some of the prices in 1955: rye bread – 1 rub. / Kg, roll – rub./0.5 1.5 kg of meat – 12.5-18 rubles. / Kg live fish (carp) – 5 rub. / Kg sturgeon caviar – 180 rubles / kg, lunch in the dining room -. 2-3 rubles, dinner in a restaurant with wine for two -. 25 rubles, leather shoes – 150 – 250 rubles, 3-speed bike Tourist -. 900 rubles, motorcycle IL-49. 350 cc engine. cm – 2500 rubles, a movie ticket -. 0.5-1 rubles, tickets to the theater or a concert -. 3-10 rubles.
Material level of the USSR living in the mid-50s was higher than in the United States, the richest country of the time, and is higher than in present-day America, not to mention the modern Russia. In addition, the population of the USSR provided benefits that were unthinkable for any other countries of the world:

Network dairy kitchens, provides free meals babies up to 2 years;
wide network of pre-school institutions (nurseries and gardens) with a minimum payment of child support – 30-40 rubles per month, and for the farmers free of charge;
summer holidays for children in summer camps for a small fee or free of charge;
children’s music schools, allowing children to receive music education at an early stage and identify the musical talents;
children’s sports schools, including boarding schools;
free group day care in schools;
Pioneer and Pioneer Palace, providing free children’s activities;
House Culture and Recreation centers providing adult leisure;
sports associations, provide for the physical education of the population;
wide network of sanatoria, rest homes, tourist centers, provide treatment and rest for free or for a small fee available to all segments of the population;
the broadest access to free education and training for all segments of the population in the daytime, evening or correspondence form;
guaranteed housing and work in the specialty, the maximum social protection, full of confidence in the future.

The vast majority of citizens of modern Russia from liberals to communists, convinced that the Soviet people have always lived considerably worse than in Western countries. No one suspects that it was under Stalin, and only thanks to Stalin, the Soviet people in the middle of the last century, lived much better in material and moral terms, than in any other country at the time and better than in the United States today, not to mention the modern Russia. And then came an evil Khrushchev and ruined everything. And after 1960 the USSR citizens unwittingly found themselves in a different country, and after a while you forget how they used to live. It is in this new country, and there were all those negative traits that are considered organically inherent in the socialist system. It is this pseudo country, quite unlike the former Soviet Union, collapsed under the weight of accumulated problems in 1991, and Gorbachev only accelerated this process, working in the style of Khrushchev.

So I decided to talk about how wonderful the country was the post-war Stalinist Soviet Union, which I remember.
Valeriy Antonovich Torgashev, professor.

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