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Tue Jan 1, 2013, 07:49 PM

 

Pictures of a desperate people depict the death of a socialist nation (1991)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255693/Last-pictures-life-iron-curtain-collapse-USSR.html

Very sad.

43 replies, 2416 views

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Reply Pictures of a desperate people depict the death of a socialist nation (1991) (Original post)
banned from Kos Jan 2013 OP
Cleita Jan 2013 #1
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #3
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #5
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #14
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #18
white_wolf Jan 2013 #6
reformist2 Jan 2013 #10
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #29
sharp_stick Jan 2013 #13
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #20
Jim Warren Jan 2013 #26
Deep13 Jan 2013 #2
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #4
coalition_unwilling Jan 2013 #25
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #31
coalition_unwilling Jan 2013 #35
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #38
Brickbat Jan 2013 #7
white_wolf Jan 2013 #9
Brickbat Jan 2013 #11
bigbrother05 Jan 2013 #30
reformist2 Jan 2013 #8
Rex Jan 2013 #12
leveymg Jan 2013 #39
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #15
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #22
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #27
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #32
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #16
moondust Jan 2013 #17
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #23
moondust Jan 2013 #34
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #37
marmar Jan 2013 #19
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #21
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #36
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #40
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #42
JHB Jan 2013 #24
whatchamacallit Jan 2013 #28
2ndAmForComputers Jan 2013 #33
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #43
Bonobo Jan 2013 #41

Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 07:54 PM

1. Russians are far worse off today than when the Soviet Union collapsed

and they will tell you if you ask.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:01 PM

3. really?

 

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:05 PM

5. You assume that money is going to the greater population of the former USSR.

 

What does the household income look like with inflation included.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:51 PM

14. I don't know. What does household income look like (1980-2010)?

 

I like this type of discussion.

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:57 PM

18. All I could find was average monthly income of 720.00

 

Not exactly living high the hog since the collapse.

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:09 PM

6. GDP is very innaccurate for showing quality of life and does not reflect the people's opinion.

Here are the opinions of the people.

Here is a story from the Christian Science Monitor that reports that 60% of the Russian people regret the fall of Communism.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2009/1223/Why-nearly-60-percent-of-Russians-deeply-regret-the-USSR-s-demise


Here is another poll showing that support for capitalism is falling in the former Soviet states. Down from 61% in 91 to 53% in 2009. Poland is the one with the highest increase of 4%. However, in the Ukraine support fell from 72% to 30%. In Hungary it went from 74 to 56%, in Bulgaria it fell from 76% to 52%. Only Poland(4%) and Slovakia(1%) saw in an increase in support for "democracy."

http://www.pewglobal.org/2009/11/02/end-of-communism-cheered-but-now-with-more-reservations/

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:13 PM

10. May as well show a graph of the stock market - most people don't really benefit from that, either.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:13 PM

29. Excellent !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! n/t

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Response to Cleita (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:28 PM

13. I know they really miss

the bread lines, and those vacations to help mine in the East were really really good for the soul.

The Soviet Union was a scourge on the planet and the day it collapsed is one of the bright lights of the last 50 years.

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Response to sharp_stick (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:00 PM

20. It was a betrayal, however, to have the West insist

on replacing hard-line Stalnism with hard-line Reaganism-Thatcherism.

Why COULDN'T the West allow any genuinely humane or democratic alternatives for Russia?

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 07:58 PM

2. Well, of a Stalinist autocracy. nt

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:03 PM

4. You can find random pictures like those in the US.

 

Imagine the volumes of books you could make of just the homeless.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:11 PM

25. Good Lord, 1 in 5 American children currently lives in poverty. So if capitalism

 

is so fucking great, then why do 1 in 5 American children live in poverty?

You don't hear anyone in either bourgeois party talking about this.

Thanks for your post. Not that it will get much traction here. But those of us who understand do get it

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:16 PM

31. Yep! I've seen deplorable places in the US. If aired constantly it would make the

US seem horrible, and for many it is ... but they seldom get much press, more often a bump under the rug of la la land America.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:24 PM

35. Back in the early 80s, my then in-laws visited my ex and me, coming

 

here from Helsinki, Finland. We took a commuter train into downtown Chicago from one of the suburbs and I will never forget the looks of horror and dismay on the faces of my father-in-law and his wife at the scenes of urban desolation through which the train travelled.

Likewise, even earlier, I was teaching in a French residential lycee when Philly police firebombed MOVE headquarters and killed a bunch of women and children. (Yay, Philly police . I will never forget the looks of horror on my French students' faces watching the evening television newscast about it. How could I explain such things to them? I was in my early 20s myself. But America is a brutal and horrifying place for many.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:33 PM

38. The propaganda that we are the best runs far, wide and thick in the US keeping the masses under

control. And what is even more amazing, is it works so effectively in keeping people in line that they often work in their own worst interest.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:09 PM

7. A photo of a prostitute in 1991 in the USSR is a symbol of the failed socialist state.

A photo of a prostitute in 2013 in the United States is...what?

The Daily Mail never fails to hype. Things were definitely falling apart at the end, no doubt about it. "Desperate" and "down-trodden" aren't exactly the words that accurately describe the people I knew from Russia during that time.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:12 PM

9. A photo of a prostitute in 2013 in the United States is...what?

The glories of free market capitalism I guess.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:13 PM

11. Exactly.

People like to make symbols out of images to fit their ideas. Basic propaganda.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:14 PM

30. An HBO series

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:10 PM

8. Those pictures are actually how it looked years before the collapse.

I know, I was there.

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Response to Rex (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:33 PM

39. Got much worse during the Larry Summers IMF "structural adjustment" period. Much worse.

Even with the shortages, 1991 was still a "socialist paradise" compared to the IMF restructuring period a few years later when the state subsidies were pared back to practically nothing, unemployment rose to 30-40 percent, and old age pensions became practically worthless. I still remember the photos from that wonderful period of capitalist awakening of retired widows selling their last remaining spoons and shawls to raise a few kopeks. Frightening, and unnecessary. A portent of the wider Austerities coming to America and much of the West, I'm afraid.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:53 PM

15. No wonder they needed a wall to keep their people from escaping.

Very sad. What a horrible, disastrous system.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:07 PM

22. But NOT a "socialist" system in any real sense.

To be genuinely socialist, you need democratic decision-making on economic issues.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:12 PM

27. Not true, a democracy will likely reject socialism in favor of a market system.

 

At least in the West.

Venezuela and Cuba are exceptions (in theory).

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:16 PM

32. It goes back and forth on popular support for socialism.

And many of the times when socialism has lost at the polls in "the West", it was beaten ONLY because the leaders of the U.S. and the international financial markets made dire threats about what would happen if the people voted to put human needs and human dignity before private profit.

Why are you so obsessively anti-socialist, anyway? It would make it impossible to get ANY sort of progressive social change(remember, progressive change involves working for social and human equality)if the idea of socialism were to be crushed once and for all.

Without the impetus for equality, there can't be compassion and social justice.

A market society will always be moving further and further to the right-it will always be a bad place for "the other".

And actually, what I was talking about in the post you responded to was the nature of decision-making in an ostensibly "socialist" society. The big reason the USSR lost international popular support and lost internal political and ideoligical vitality was that it refused to democratize, particularly on the questions of economic planning. It didn't give the farmers decision-making power on agricultural policy, or give the workers actual democratic control of the workplace in the industrial sphere. It wasn't the idea of egalitarianism itself that failed, or the idea of changing who should have the say...ALL that failed was the idea of handing decision-making power over to a cynical, disinterested and generally clueless bureaucracy.

The idea of letting the people shape life democratically was never tried...and is still compelling. We don't NEED the boss...or the commissar-we can come together and run life ourselves, from below, for the good of all...and we have no reason not to try.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:56 PM

16. I could have sworn the USSR was a totalitarian Communist state

At least that's what I learned way back in HS in the late 60's.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:57 PM

17. A Russian's comparison of then and now:

"Are things now better or worse than during the Soviet era?"


Situation with consumer goods and services - better (of course, if you have money to buy them). Soviet Union had shortages of many goods, lines in shops, many things could be simply unavailable etc. - "shortage economy".

Freedom of speech - better than in USSR. Still far from ideal.

Poverty and equality - much worse than in USSR, one of the biggest negative changes. The poor are poorer, less social spending, rich oligarchs who don't deserve their wealth etc.

Crime and violence - much worse than in USSR.

Racism, nationalism - again, worse.

Conservatism, homophobia - actually better than in USSR (despite of state atheism).

Alcoholism - about the same.

Traffic and transport - much worse. USSR had few cars and no traffic jams, buses were much faster and better because of it.

(early November 2012)

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Response to moondust (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:08 PM

23. Interesting. Is this your observations or from a source?

 

We get a lot of Russians in Alaska and the say it is incredibly disparate worlds people live in.

Similar to the US but very little middle class.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:24 PM

34. Admittedly,

I can't verify the identity or status of this individual. I asked him this question after he posted the stuff below in a Reddit thread of people complaining about bad conditions in their various countries. Just judging from my own rather distant background in Russian language and cultural studies, his opinions seem sincere and believable to me and I have no reason to doubt them. If interested, you could probably compare his version of things with that of your Alaskan friends.


Corruption at many levels. People pay bribes for drivers' licenses, pay bribes for exams in universities (instead of studying), kickbacks are norm in both public and private sector, police and courts are corrupt, rich people commit crimes and then bribe judges etc.

Drunken driving, risky driving. Crime and violence. Criminal culture: Russia not only has high crime and corruption, but many people see them as normal and acceptable, and openly talk about it.

Racism, nationalism, homophobia, sexism, gender policing for both sexes, victim blaming, social conservatism. BTW, one of reasons to be on reddit instead of Russian Internet.

Putin and his policy.

Russian Orthodox Church.

High inequality. Even worse than in USA - Russia has regressive taxation and very low taxes on wealthy. And Russian economic elite became rich mainly through privatization of Soviet enterprises, oil, corruption and other rent-seeking.

Excessive drinking, alcoholism.

Conscription army with horrible conditions, bullying and violence, it's more like a prison. I don't like mandatory service in general, but Russian army is especially disgusting.

Russian TV is a dump.

Dogs shitting everywhere and biting people. There is almost no regulation for dogs, there are a lot of stray dogs in big cities, some of them are aggressive.

Moscow transport - huge traffic jams (buses stand in them too), overcrowding in metro trains and transfer stations, almost all transfers between lines are in center of city.

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Response to moondust (Reply #34)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:28 PM

37. Yeah, pretty much verbatim from what I hear.

 

Corruption and crime are the main issues.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:59 PM

19. You can tell a system is crumbling (i.e. capitalism) when its boosters start comparing it to......


...... collapsed regimes.


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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:06 PM

21. The Soviet Union was NOT "socialist" in any meaningful sense by 1991

It had essentially stopped being socialist when Lenin was replaced by Stalin and the last vestiges of the autonomy of the soviets(workers' councils)were removed. Arguably, socialism had been dying in the USSR ever since the Krondstadt uprising was put down in 1921.

So what died in 1991 was a bureaucratic police state. It's disgusting that you're blaming "socialism" for what the USSR had decayed into by the end.

And nothing "progressive" or positive came to the Russia with the introduction of "market values".

Workers lost. Women lost(the gains made by women after 1917 essentially were wiped out in the Yeltsin and Putin eras). No one but the rich gained.

If you're this rabidly "anti-socialist", you are against any progressive or humane future-because if market values totally prevail(as they ultimately have to under any "free market" system)all that is progressive, all that is egalitarian, all that is democratic and humane ends up dying...leaving nothing but greed, arrogance and "effeciency" for effeciency's sake.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:24 PM

36. Socialism is the control or ownership of the means of production

 

The USSR certainly fit that bill.

The police state is a side issue. In a benevolent egalitarian socialist society the police state would be minimal. But in the real world that does not occur.

Unfortunately scarcity will inflict any type system. See the 1930s (when taxes were low) and the current deflation period in the West.

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Response to banned from Kos (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:34 PM

40. What you are talking about is statism, not "socialism"

All that has failed is bureaucratic statism...democratic, worker-run socialism hasn't yet been tried, so it can't be said to failed.

Besides, if we were to say that "socialism" has failed, that's the same thing as giving up on ANY form of progressive change, or any humane values. Nothing but barbarism and ugliness can ultimately survive in "free market" countries...you can see that here in the way that OUR country has mainly become much, much uglier as we've become much, much more "free market" in our values since 1980.

And in any case, given that nobody favors Soviet-style bureaucratic statism anymore, why did you start this thread? Why are you talking about an extinct model of social organization that no one else is proposing anywhere anymore?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:51 PM

42. OK, we have a fundamental disagreement on the definition of "socialism".

 

I believe in the private ownership of production.

Period.

See Germany or Sweden.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:10 PM

24. Is this "socialist" in the sense of what the Soviets called themselves...

...or the "European socialist" sense commonly used by conservatives and centrists in American political discourse (or what passes for it) in 2012/2013?

Not accusing bfK of anything, but I just feel the need to thump a drum on this point. I'm really tired of overly-broad definitions in order to equate well-funded public services & infrastructure with Stalinist police states.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:13 PM

28. How come this forum doesn't have the brains or balls

to do what Kos did?

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:17 PM

33. Heh

Well played, sir, well played.

(Been wondering that myself.)

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:11 PM

43. I know, it's baffling.

If linking to stories about life in the former USSR is not a bannable offense, I don't know what is. I remember only too well when Hannah Bell got banned for her posts about North Korea.

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Response to banned from Kos (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:39 PM

41. Do a search on "Russia new drug krokodil" and tell me again they are better off. nt

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