Archive for the 'USSR'

The Soviet Union was breathing its last breaths when anything I can relate to as a reliable memory kicked in. I remember being told about American Stores which had expensive goods available for an entirely different kind of money than the rubles and kopeks I was used to. I also remember hearing about an American restaurant — McDonalds — opening in Moscow. I was told that the lines stretched around the block and that people valued the cups they got there like treasures from the...
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First in Flight

Statue of Yuri Gagarin in Moscow, Russia Via Adventures in Moscow It has been fifty years since the day Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Ю́рий Алексе́евич Гага́рин) made a 108-minute orbit of the earth in his Soviet-made Vostok (Восток, “East”) spacecraft. Growing up, Gagarin was one of my heroes; I didn’t know anything about the space race, or the Cold War, but I knew that I had a connection to the first man in space. To my five-year-old self, the...
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Here To Protect You

Co. Apple Min Today is International Women’s Day, which, far removed from its Party roots, is the occasion for all Russian mothers, grandmothers, aunts, girlfriends and so on to incredulously ask “so, where are my flowers?” (Or maybe that was just my family.) So, here’s Ellen Ripley.

Hey, Sophie!

Below is the (unintentionally) romantically-titled “Shadows on the Sidewalk” (“Тени на тротуарах”/”Tenyi na Tratuarakh”) It is a beautifully shot Soviet social hygiene film about the lures and depravities of rock and roll culture. While more-or-less indistinct from American social hygiene films of the same nature, the Soviet-ness bursts forth in its moments. State disapproved rock music, for instance, is distributed through dubbed x-ray...
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I began learning English long before I came to America. Thanks to Perestroika, Russian television aired a serialized BBC cartoon called Muzzy in Gondoland, which was aimed toward ESL education. I couldn’t tell you if it helped or not but behind the American imports — Duck Tales, Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers and Muppet Babies — it was my favorite thing to watch on television.