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Russia (News & Politics)/Life in Russia in the 1970s


The current economic turmoil in world economies suggests that alternatives may be sought. Socialism has been gaining ground, but socialism is cateogrized as a failure.

If we were able to see what life in Russia was like in the 1970s then it would helps us learn:

This article paints a far better picture of Russia than what the Western media has done. Friends who have studied in Russia aslso say that life got worse after the breakup of the USSR.

To what extent it the following article accurate?

I read the article, describing everyday-life in Russia in the 1970s. As some ideas written in the article are shared by me, in general I think the article is too propagandistic. In it, everything is fine. There are no critical points, thus giving us a picture of the time "hagiographic" and "apologetic".
The Seventies were very important in the USSR. In those years, unlike previous periods, the Brezhnev administration decided to invest heavily in the consumer goods sector, social welfare and services to individuals. The Brezhnev administration focused on the so-called unproductive sphere (the service sector) and no longer on the productive sector (heavy industry). It was really a revolution with a positive impact on soviet people. But by the end of the Seventies, something was not working already more. Why? Because the widespread expansion of services, focusing more on the number of persons to occupy in these same services and not on their performances (level of productivity and effectiveness of service), had created over time a more and more shoddy production of consumer goods and services. The socialist concept of full employment, without any attention to the productivity, which requires in some cases to use intensive employment processes and not expansive, in a already weak general economy (in the Seventies much money were also invested in the field of military defence), led to the collapse. This collapse was manifested by increasingly poor public services and, because of the public debt that the USSR was accumulating (up to apply for a loan to the IMF), by services - such as the trade sector - without merchandise. Those who lived through that era can remember sad and empty warehouses. Those who say the exact opposite are not in my opinion "objective" in their analysis. I do not intend to "demonize" the entire Soviet era that in many ways it was an experience of great emancipation of people. But the USSR is definitely imploded by its own internal contradictions ....Of course, the era of liberal Russia (Yeltsin administration) was murky era, was the era of robbery of the country's resources. More than 50 million of Russians went under the absolute poverty line. But the comparison of the two periods (Yeltsin and Brezhnev) can not lead to regret the soviet past time. This would be today anachronistic and no longer feasible. Also because Putin's Russia (proceeding forward in time) is not absolutey comparable to the Yeltsin's Russia. One last thing - very important: my critical analysis focused on Socialism Realized of Soviet type and not carried over Communism as an alternative model to capitalism. The two are not absolutely the same thing.
Hi, Cristina.

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dr. Cristina Carpinelli


Cristina Carpinelli is a sociologist/politologist. She deals with research works from economic and social point of view, concerning Central-Est Europe (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland), South-Est Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, balkan Countries), Russia and all Former Soviet Union Countries. She has also become an expert on social welfare and gender and family politics in Countries mentioned above. She can't answer the questions relative to other geo-economic and political areas or about other questions outside her competence/knowledge. She lives and works in Milan (Italy).


Cristina Carpinelli wrote many articles and essays on the Ussr and on the transition of the Fsu from a planned economic system to a free market one. She wrote some books published by Nuovi Autori, Franco Angeli, Achab, Sedizioni, Zambon, Mimesis, Amazon.

She is a Scientific Committee Member of CeSPI (International Problems Study Center of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan ) as an expert on CEE (Central-Eastern Europe) and South-Eastern Europe (including Russia), and a monthly contributor to “noidonne” Magazine for gender and family politics in CEE (including Russia). She is part of the team experts of the U.S. Site “AllExperts” for the categories: “Sociology” and “Russia (News & Politics)”. She was part of the teaching staff for the training module “Objective Russia” (professional diploma for economic operators - ISPI school; module suspended from 2015) and now She is part of the teaching staff for the training module “European Union and ethnic and national minorities” (diploma in “European Affairs” - ISPI school). She is a member of the Italian Association for History Studies on Central and Eastern Europe (AISSECO - Since May 2015) and a member of the editorial staff of Mitteleuropean Social Watch (OSME - since January 2016).

La società sovietica negli anni della perestroika (Nuovi Autori, 1991); Donne e famiglia nella Russia sovietica (F. Angeli, 1998); Donne e povertà nella Russia di El’cin: l'era della transizione liberale (Franco Angeli, 2004); “Identities in Transition: Fsu Countries after the Collapse of Real Socialism” (CeSPI, 2004); La Russia a pezzi (Achab, 2008); “L’allargamento dell’Europa ai paesi dell’Est” (CeSPI, 2008), paper presented at the Conference “Quo vadis, Europe?”, organized by Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan, November 18, 2011; “Paesi Baltici tra integrazione europea e ‘apartheid’” in: Ripensare l’Europa dalle fondamenta, Mimesis, 2014 (Conference proceedings “Ripensare l’Europa dalle fondamenta”. Conference was organized by CeSPI and Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan; November 30, 2013); “Ucraina: un paese spaccato in due” (CeSPI, 2014), paper prepared for the Conference “Crisi Ucraina: quali possibili chiavi di lettura?” (May 16, 2014) organized by the Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni (Milan) and by CeSPI; “Nato, Ucraina, Russia” (CeSPI, 2014); L’Unione Europea e le minoranze etniche: Case Studies: Ungheria, Romania e Paesi Baltici, co-author Massimo Congiu (CreateSpace - an Company, May 18, 2016). Coming soon: Russia as told through the history of its mass media.

Cristina Carpinelli graduated during the academic year 1983/84 with the thesis "Alcuni aspetti del processo di invecchiamento della popolazione in Unione Sovietica: demografia, previdenza sociale, occupazione e salute" (Some aspects of the ageing process of the population in the Soviet Union: demography, social security, jobs and health) - State University of Milan, Faculty of Political Sciences (Statistics Department). The thesis of degree was elaborated in the Ussr, at the State University Lomonosov of Moscow.

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