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Thu Jun 18, 2020, 05:21 AM

In Photos: What Was Life Really Like In The U.S.S.R.? (8 pics)

https://www.rferl.org/a/photographs-shot-by-soviet-engineer-show-the-harsh-reality-of-life-in-the-ussr/30675553.html

Valeriy Reshetnyak led a double life during the Soviet era. Officially, he was an engineer in Kyiv. But in his spare time, he photographed ordinary people in the Soviet Union.

"None of my coworkers knew what I was doing. It was a kind of dissent,” says Reshetnyak.

He knew that his photos would not be printed or exhibited anywhere while the Soviet system was firmly in place.

“I naively thought that one day people would look at my photos and reflect on their lives, but I was wrong," Reshetnyak says.


A village teacher returning home from school in the Sumy Oblast.


On the left is the 'elite' passenger transport. Only the head of the collective farm or local Communist Party 'princes' could ride in such sledges. Ordinary people were only allowed to use the sleds at critical moments like carrying a patient to the hospital.


Children were constantly prepared for war -- this was the basis of Soviet ideological education.


All of the people in this photo apparently survived the famine of 1932-33. During the Soviet era, the Holodomor was spoken about only among one’s closest companions. My father and a colleague told me how they were almost killed and eaten by a local cannibal.


A father with his two sons and wife. The lives of village women were harsher than that of men. Both the responsibilities of the household, and for the work in the fields, lay on the women’s shoulders.


The last inhabitants of a ‘liquidated’ village in Belarus.


Most of the workers came from villages and didn’t have their own housing. Soviet organizations built cheap housing for them


Locals waiting outside a government office in Lviv for a ‘reception’ with local officials.

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply In Photos: What Was Life Really Like In The U.S.S.R.? (8 pics) (Original post)
rpannier Jun 18 OP
irisblue Jun 18 #1
gademocrat7 Jun 18 #2
Ilsa Jun 18 #3
TheRickles Jun 18 #4
Ilsa Jun 18 #8
Danascot Jun 18 #5
TomVilmer Jun 18 #6
flotsam Jun 18 #9
misanthrope Jun 18 #11
BComplex Jun 19 #12
TomVilmer Jun 19 #14
ananda Jun 18 #7
misanthrope Jun 18 #10
smirkymonkey Jun 19 #13

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 06:58 AM

1. Wow, impressive and horrible

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:24 AM

2. These photographs are a glimpse into the lives of Soviet citizens.

They show the bleak harshness many endured.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:29 AM

3. Fantastic photography.

Dates and location would also help put the scenes into perspective.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:41 AM

4. Agreed, though the link gives a bit more info

Esp. about the people in the photos and what they're doing, but the dates of the photos are only hinted at. His best photos were described as being taken "from 1977-1990", yet some of these look like they're from much earlier, maybe from the '50s.

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Response to TheRickles (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 08:46 AM

8. Thank you. Photo #7 of the woman washing dishes

with her toddler in a public facility reminds me of the comfort stations in the public camps and parks built by the CCC during the New Deal, circa 1933, except her dress is shorter.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:45 AM

5. #6 looks like a painting

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:46 AM

6. In Photos: What Was Life Really Like In The U.S?







http://www.american-pictures.com/gallery/

Since I myself have been visiting Russia for years, I could paint a quite different impression. Though I never liked their system, now or then, I found many nice people there living a good life.

In a big world it is easy to focus on the bad - or the good. As a friend has done with the images above...

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Response to TomVilmer (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 09:51 PM

9. +many...

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Response to TomVilmer (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 10:08 PM

11. +1,000

Thanks

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Response to TomVilmer (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 19, 2020, 12:57 AM

12. The look in that man's eyes; the death of hope.

The land of plenty.

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Response to TomVilmer (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 19, 2020, 04:45 AM

14. Thanx for nice replies!

I get sad when I see such weird generalizations as "What Was Life Really Like In The U.S.S.R.?". That area stretched ten time zones and a myriad of different cultures over 70 years - every area making their very own interpretation of what a Soviet society could be. The Baltic countries and East Germany was way richer than Russia. The wealth was actually more diverse between states than inside them.

Then and now the poverty in Russia is quite equally spread out - with the very exception of the oligarchs. And yes, you could make USSR photos like the ones shown, but without exact area and date they are meaningless.

We all know other photos with more wealth from the US. So, here are some selected photos of "What Was Life Really Like In The U.S.S.R.":
'








http://www.maxsher.com/work/a-remote-barely-audible-evening-waltz/

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 07:50 AM

7. And that was before the purges.

How the Soviets survived it is amazing.

But look where they are now ... under a severely
oppressive oligarchical system so brutal and corrupt
it makes our system look better, and ours is very
very bad.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Jun 18, 2020, 10:08 PM

10. So not terribly far from the way it would have been here

had the lords of the Gilded Age had their way completely unfettered?

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2020, 03:08 AM

13. Incredible photos.

Very bleak. I honestly think I would have killed myself if I had to live like that. I would just see no point in living.

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