O que aconteceu aos cidadãos soviéticos que vivem no exterior?

O que aconteceu aos cidadãos soviéticos que vivem no exterior?

Antes da formação da União Soviética e / ou antes da imposição de restrições a viagens internacionais, havia cidadãos russos, ucranianos etc. vivendo legalmente em países estrangeiros (ou seja, como residentes permanentes ou com dupla cidadania)?

O que aconteceu com eles quando o governo soviético restringiu as viagens internacionais de cidadãos soviéticos? Eles eram geralmente deixados sozinhos ou, em última análise, compelidos a retornar à União Soviética?


Em "Arquipélago Gulag", Alexander Solzhenitsyn afirmou que a União Soviética tentou atrair seus "cidadãos" que viviam na Europa para retornar à União Soviética, jogando com a saudade de casa. Depois de devolvidos, foram presos na Sibéria para evitar que "contaminassem" os russos comuns (contando histórias de uma vida melhor no exterior).

Mais especificamente, Stalin queria neutralizar essas pessoas por medo de que formassem o núcleo de um novo movimento "branco" (anticomunista), embora os "brancos" já tivessem sido derrotados na Guerra Civil, por mais ridículo que seja. parece para nós. Lembre-se de que este é o mesmo Stalin que massacrou seus próprios generais por paranóia.

Em Yalta, Stalin pediu e obteve a aceitação britânica e americana para a repatriação de soldados russos servindo com os alemães (Operação Keelhaul) e de civis "cossacos" russos. O primeiro grupo foi quase todo executado, o último grupo preso. Mais uma vez, Stalin queria destruir esses "brancos" em potencial.

Basicamente, qualquer russo que tivesse conseguido deixar a Rússia antes que ela se tornasse a União Soviética faria bem em ficar longe, se possível. As pessoas que tiveram a melhor chance de fazer isso foram aqueles que se tornaram cidadãos "naturalizados" de outros países.


Viajar para o exterior não era formalmente proibido. Muitas pessoas na União Soviética viajaram para o exterior. As autoridades decidiram quem pode viajar e quem não pode. (A maioria dos cidadãos não poderia).

É claro que, na época da formação da União Soviética, muitos cidadãos do antigo império russo viviam no exterior. A maioria deles escapou durante a revolução e a guerra civil. A maioria deles ficou no exterior, mas muitos voltaram. Dos que retornaram, muitos sofreram repressão, mas não todos. Alguns deles tinham a confiança das autoridades e eram autorizados a viajar repetidas vezes. Por exemplo, o famoso autor soviético I. Ehrenburg. Havia poucas outras pessoas assim. Houve outros casos. Um famoso compositor Prokofiev voltou da emigração e viveu confortavelmente na União Soviética, mas não foi autorizado a viajar para o exterior. O físico Kapitsa veio à União Soviética para uma breve visita e não teve permissão para voltar à Inglaterra.

Após a Segunda Guerra Mundial, houve uma repatriação forçada maciça de ex-cidadãos russos da Europa e China. Aqueles que as autoridades soviéticas consideravam inimigos foram punidos (exilados, executados, presos). Outros não.


Os funcionários do governo soviético viviam no luxo?

Na União Soviética, dinheiro não era igual a poder: para a nomenklatura (elite soviética), quase tudo era gratuito, mas estatal. Com altos gastos militares em casa e nos Estados comunistas aliados, a URSS experimentou uma escassez constante. No entanto, isso não era um problema para aqueles com os contatos certos do partido, o que provou ser uma estratégia ainda mais astuta de sobrevivência do que esconder montes de rublos debaixo do colchão.

A 'nomenklatura' (a palavra vem do latim nomenclatura, significando uma lista de nomes) não se aplica apenas a burocratas, mas também a suas famílias, e também a escritores, astronautas, esportistas, etc. para cerca de três milhões de pessoas na década de 1980. Como a filha de Joseph Stalin, Svetlana, certa vez contou, nem um centavo do salário do pai saiu de sua mesa.

O topo da nomenclatura soviética recebeu os melhores carros do país, geralmente na forma de um GAZ Volga (o equivalente soviético de um Mercedes-Benz), um veículo luxuoso o suficiente para o presidente Vladimir Putin exibir ao presidente americano George Bush em 2005. A limusine ZiL ou Chaika, ainda mais sofisticada, também estavam disponíveis, mas eram essencialmente reservadas para o secretário-geral e outros membros do Comitê Central. Algumas estradas de Moscou até tinham suas próprias & ldquoZiL Lanes & rdquo, para garantir que os políticos mais importantes nunca chegassem atrasados ​​para as reuniões.

É claro que o fato de se tratarem de carros do Partido certamente mitigou o aspecto de & ldquoluxury & rdquo, já que os funcionários talvez pudessem comprar menos luxuosos com seu próprio dinheiro, mas não poderiam ter um Chaika ou ZiL. Os carros da festa podem ter sido enfeitados com um motorista particular, mas se um oficial deixasse seu posto, ele também perderia o carro que o acompanhava.

No entanto, esse não foi o caso para todos, pois durante a era Brejnev (1964-1982), a União Soviética começou a produzir carros para consumo privado. O estado nunca fez da produção em massa uma prioridade: em um discurso de 1959, Khrushchev declarou que & ldquoit não é nosso objetivo competir com os americanos na produção de mais carros particulares. & Rdquo Em 1975, a proporção de carro para pessoa era de apenas 54: 1 ( em oposição a 2: 1 nos EUA), e esses carros estavam disponíveis apenas para cidadãos comuns que podiam pagá-los por meio de um sistema de mérito baseado no trabalho e filas.

A maneira mais rápida e fácil de conseguir um carro, portanto, era servir a um órgão do governo ou ocupar um cargo de alto escalão. No clássico filme soviético Moscou não acredita em lágrimas, a personagem principal Katerina (uma chefe de fábrica) é retratada como a epítome da mulher soviética abastada por usar um Lada estatal e não exatamente uma Ferrari.

Outros funcionários de baixo escalão também tiveram o privilégio de pular na fila do automóvel, mas o carro que eles comprariam estaria longe do luxo. No livro Pleasures in Socialism, por exemplo, Jukka Gronow descreve como uma grande cota da distribuição de carros Lada e Pobeda era supervisionada por oficiais militares, que administrariam os carros para membros merecedores de seu departamento. Alguns podem até conseguir mais de um Pobeda para outros membros da família & ndash uma façanha vista como o cúmulo do luxo na época, apesar dos carros permanecerem como propriedade estatal.

Casas

A distribuição da acomodação soviética era muito mais rigorosamente centralizada do que os carros, e a extensão de seu luxo mudou drasticamente com o tempo.

Oficialmente, ninguém possuía apartamento próprio, e o lugar em que você morava era determinado pela proximidade com o emprego em que trabalhava e de onde seus colegas também moravam. Isso não foi diferente para a nomenklatura, que estava lotada em prédios com outras elites & ndash, essa era uma tradição iniciada por Stalin, que ergueu estruturas onipresentes como o enorme Edifício Kotelnicheskaya Embankment para artistas e a Casa no Embankment para abrigar funcionários do NKVD (os residentes desses apartamentos foram escolhidos pelo próprio Stalin). A alta demanda por quartos nesses blocos de elite foi aliviada pelo alto número de repressões burocráticas sob o governo de Stalin.

Após a morte de Stalin e rsquos, o degelo nas repressões urbanas e o crescimento exponencial da burocracia pós-guerra significou que havia mais membros da nomenklatura e, para abrigá-los, as casas de elite começaram a se mudar para fora do centro da cidade de Moscou e se tornaram um pouco menos luxuosas. Além disso, em forte contraste com o Stalinki, Brezhnev não pretendia que as casas de seus principais funcionários fossem marcos e as fazia se misturar com o ambiente.

Um caso em questão são as Casas Tsekovsky em Kuntsevo (um subúrbio de classe média do oeste de Moscou), apelidado de aldeia & ldquoTsar & rsquos. & Rdquo Conforme contou uma ex-advogada soviética de alto escalão chamada Lidia Sergeevna, & ldquoEu tenho um apartamento de três quartos para minha família , área total de 93 metros quadrados, na vila & lsquoTsar & rsquos & rsquo em 1980. Não era um palácio, mas tínhamos um mezanino, duas varandas e um concierge. & rdquo

No que diz respeito às casas dos líderes, os secretários-gerais da União Soviética geralmente viviam em algum lugar um pouco acima da vila de & ldquoTsar & rsquos & rdquo, mas muito longe da Casa Branca de Washington. Leonid Brezhnev recusou um apartamento luxuoso na área do Lago do Patriarca em Moscou, por exemplo, e morou em um apartamento dos tempos de pré-secretário geral no prestigioso 26 Kutuzovsky Prospekt. O apartamento foi colocado à venda em 2011 por 18 milhões de rublos ($ 620.000 na época) e ostentava apenas 54 metros quadrados de área útil. Mesmo como secretário-geral, Brejnev não era o proprietário dessa junta.

Kutuzovsky Prospekt de Moscou, lar de altos funcionários soviéticos como Leonid Brezhnev e Yuri Andropov.

A cobertura de Mikhail Gorbachev & rsquos na Granatny Lane 10 no centro da cidade de Moscou, que ocupou de 1986 a 1991, foi considerada uma grande atualização e, embora ele não fosse o proprietário do apartamento, isso irritou muitas pessoas na época. O apartamento foi posteriormente comprado pelo compositor Igor Krutoy por supostos US $ 15 milhões.

A indignação ainda maior foi causada por Gorbachev & rsquos $ 20 milhões dacha em Foros, Crimeia, construída inteiramente às custas do estado & rsquos. Isso para não dizer que as elites soviéticas não tiravam férias muito antes disso: um estudo recente revelou os preços de mercado modernos das enormes casas de férias da nomenklatura, com a mansão mais cara no valor de US $ 26 milhões no subúrbio de Moscou, Nikolina Gora. Outras almofadas de milhões de dólares em áreas de prestígio fora de Moscou, como Peredelkino, Zhukovka e Barvikha, mostraram-se habitadas pelos grandes e bons da história soviética: Pasternak, Yevtushenko, Eisenstein, Yesenin & ndash o que você quiser.

Compras

Está bem documentado que os funcionários do governo soviético eram servidos por mercearias separadas para o resto da população da URSS, um fato muito invejado pelo homem da rua, que teria sua entrada recusada sem um cartão do Partido ou uma série de vouchers para comida lá. . Em 1985, um homem chamado N. Nikolaev, de Kazan, captou o sentimento da nação quando sua carta foi publicada no jornal Pravda, lendo & ldquoDeixe o chefe ir à loja comum com todo mundo e deixá-lo ficar na fila por horas como todo mundo! & rdquo

Supermercado 'Universam' em Leningrado. As prateleiras das lojas de elite nunca ficavam vazias.

Embora as lojas soviéticas tendessem a abastecer seu povo com & ldquobasics & rdquo, como pão, batatas e doces, carnes e salsichas geralmente eram escassas, principalmente fora de Moscou. Por outro lado, o estudo do especialista em sovietologia Mervyn Matthews & rsquos 1978 intitulado & ldquoPrivilege in the Soviet Union & rdquo descobriu até que ponto os escalões superiores do governo soviético estavam comendo bem. De acordo com Matthews, 8 por cento das lojas soviéticas aceitaram pedidos & ldquopreliminares & rdquo alimentos como bifes de filé, lagosta e caviar preto diretamente para os funcionários & rsquo portas duas vezes por semana.

No entanto, a extensão do luxo dos pratos de apparatchik e rsquos foi debatida, com o ex-vice-primeiro-ministro da República Socialista Tajique, Georgy Koshlakov, declarando em uma entrevista de 2008 que os supermercados restritos se assemelhavam a qualquer outra loja. "As lojas tinham tudo o que deveria haver nas lojas normais e pelos mesmos preços", disse ele. & ldquoTudo era fresco: manteiga, queijo, salsichas. Mas não me lembro de nenhuma iguaria exclusiva. & Rdquo Quer o relato de Koshlakov & rsquos seja verdadeiro ou não, está & rsquos claro que os funcionários do governo nunca passaram fome, algo que o público não podia se orgulhar.

Privilégios de Família

Os pacientes do sanatório vão para uma sessão de banho de sol bem merecida.

R. Akopyan, Gerbert Bagdasaryan / TASS

Na URSS, os cuidados de saúde eram geralmente organizados pela gestão do local de trabalho, com polikiniki (centros de saúde) instalados no local de trabalho e na maioria dos blocos de apartamentos.

Desnecessário dizer que os cuidados de saúde oferecidos às famílias de nomenklatura eram de um padrão diferente. O poeta e escritor Korney Chukovsky, que foi tratado em um hospital do Partido em 1965, escreveu em seu diário em que & ldquothe famílias do Comitê Central construíram para si mesmas um paraíso, enquanto as pessoas em outras camas de hospital estavam famintas, sujas e sem direito drogas. & rdquo Essa prática foi estendida também a funcionários de baixo escalão sob Brezhnev, quando ele construiu vários sanatórios enormes para chefes de nível médio em resorts à beira-mar como Riga e Sochi, bem como Kursk e Novgorod.

Além de serem bem cuidados em termos de saúde, parece que os filhos de funcionários do governo russo também tiveram um emprego de sua escolha garantido. Em seu livro The Russian Ten, Ilya Stogoff detalha como as crianças da nomenklatura foram para escolas especiais, das quais receberam um caminho para um futuro brilhante. “Depois de obterem seus diplomas & hellip Eles poderiam ir para o exterior como diplomatas, representantes comerciais, jornalistas & ndash o que quisessem”, escreveu ele.

A sobrinha de Brejnev e rsquos, Luba, também revelou a doce vida dos herdeiros da nomenklatura em seu livro de memórias The World I Left Behind. Neste retrato sincero da elite soviética, Luba revelou como ela e os filhos de funcionários receberam empregos com pouca ou nenhuma responsabilidade e ocupariam seu tempo lixando as unhas ou escrevendo poesia. “Alguns foram se voluntariar para trabalhos forçados”, escreveu ela, “simplesmente porque não conseguiram suportar o tédio”.

A extensão da babá da nomenklatura só se tornou verdadeiramente visível após o colapso da URSS, quando figuras de destaque lutaram para viver sem seus privilégios. "Enfant terrível" Galina Brezhnev (filha do ex-secretário-geral) é um exemplo disso - ela morreu em uma ala psiquiátrica em 1998, tendo lutado por anos contra o alcoolismo. "Ela não infringiu nenhuma lei", como jornal Izvestiya explicou em seu obituário, "porque a lei não foi escrita para pessoas como ela."

Se usar qualquer conteúdo do Russia Beyond, parcial ou totalmente, sempre forneça um hiperlink ativo para o material original.


Cosmonauta Sergei Krikalev: & # 8216o último cidadão soviético & # 8217

Apelidado de “o último cidadão soviético” e “o homem que está cansado de voar”, o cosmonauta Sergei Krikalev decolou para o espaço em 18 de maio de 1991 e, involuntariamente, tornou-se um peão na política internacional. Por 312 dias, ele viu a superpotência comunista, a União das Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas, se tornar a Federação Russa. Do espaço, ele viu sua cidade natal, Leningrado, se tornar São Petersburgo. E a 240 milhas de altura, Krikalev era “em essência, o último cidadão remanescente da outrora poderosa União Soviética”, escreve Eric Betz na Discover Magazine.

O engenheiro de vôo de 34 anos de fala mansa foi lançado ao espaço do Cosmódromo de Baikonur no Cazaquistão - o Cabo Canaveral soviético - ao lado de Anatoly Artsebarsky e Helen Sharman, a primeira britânica nascida na Ucrânia. Os três tinham como destino a estação espacial Mir, a precursora do que hoje é a Estação Espacial Internacional.

O Mir, "projetado para abrigar até 12 cosmonautas .... [foi] operado quase continuamente desde 1986", de acordo com o Washington Post, e “era o ponto focal do programa espacial soviético”.

Enquanto o Mir piscava e orbitava a Terra, Sharman voltou para casa depois de apenas oito dias, enquanto Krikalev e Artsebarsky, preparados para uma missão de cinco meses, observaram por meses enquanto a URSS se dividia em 15 nações separadas e tanques começaram a rolar para a Praça Vermelha . Embora o golpe de agosto - liderado por comunistas de linha dura que se opõem à política de perestroika do presidente Mikhail Gorbachev - tenha sido subjugado em três dias, o poder de Gorbachev e da União Soviética estava em declínio.

Para o astronauta, era difícil obter notícias precisas. “Para nós, foi totalmente inesperado”, disse Krikalev mais tarde aos repórteres. “Não entendemos o que aconteceu. Quando discutimos tudo isso, tentamos entender como isso afetaria o programa espacial. ”

Em 25 de outubro, o Cazaquistão declarou sua soberania e, com isso, o controle do Cosmódromo de Baikonur. Os cazaques exigiram uma taxa astronômica para o uso do cosmódromo e, como o valor de mercado do rublo soviético continuou a cair rapidamente, o governo outrora poderoso aparentemente não podia se dar ao luxo de trazer Krikalev para casa.

“Uma raça humana enviou seu filho às estrelas para cumprir um conjunto concreto de tarefas”, relatou o russo Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Mas mal saiu da Terra e esta perdeu o interesse por essas tarefas, por razões mundanas e completamente explicáveis. E começou a esquecer seu cosmonauta. Nem mesmo o trouxe de volta na hora marcada, novamente por razões completamente mundanas. ”

Para apaziguar o governo do Cazaquistão e obter um desconto, Moscou nomeou seu primeiro cosmonauta cazaque. No entanto, o recém-nomeado astronauta ainda não tinha treinamento para passar muito tempo no espaço.

Em outubro, com sua missão concluída, o colega de Krikalev, Artsebarsky, voltou para casa com três astronautas austríacos. Nenhum tinha o conjunto de habilidades para substituir Krikalev - e os soviéticos ainda não tinham dinheiro.

“O argumento mais forte foi econômico porque isso permite que economizem recursos aqui”, disse Krikalev da órbita em 1991. “Eles dizem que é difícil para mim - não é muito bom para minha saúde. Mas agora que o país está em tal dificuldade, a chance de economizar dinheiro deve ser a (a) principal prioridade. ”

Enquanto Krikalev permanecia no limbo e sua missão de cinco meses se estendia indefinidamente, os riscos à saúde, ainda não totalmente compreendidos até hoje, começaram a pesar na mente do astronauta. Os efeitos de longo prazo dos voos espaciais incluem, no mínimo, uma chance aumentada de deficiência visual, fluxo sanguíneo estagnado ou reverso, ossos quebradiços, atrofia muscular, infecção, câncer e outros problemas e alterações do sistema imunológico.

Krikalev mais tarde compartilhou com a mídia russa que às vezes se perguntava: “Tenho força suficiente? Serei capaz de reajustar esta estadia mais longa para completar o programa? Naturalmente, em um ponto eu tive minhas dúvidas. ”


O astronauta Krikalev (à esquerda) retorna à Terra. (Georges DeKeerle / Sygma / Getty Images)

Em 25 de dezembro de 1991, Gorbachev renunciou e no dia seguinte a União Soviética entrou em colapso. Ainda assim, Krikalev permaneceu no espaço, correndo ao redor da Terra 16 vezes por dia, representando um país que não existia mais.

Finalmente, três meses depois, em uma missão espacial russa-alemã conjunta, Krikalev foi informado de que estava sendo substituído, e o cosmonauta logo retornou à Terra. O último cidadão “soviético” pousou perto da cidade de Arkalyk, no Cazaquistão, fraco, pálido e suado, mas feliz por estar em solo firme.

“Foi muito agradável, apesar da gravidade que tivemos de enfrentar”, lembrou Krikalev anos depois para uma equipe de documentários. “Mas psicologicamente, a carga foi levantada. Houve um momento. Você não poderia chamar de euforia, mas foi muito bom. ”


Antigos países soviéticos vêem mais danos do desmembramento

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Refletindo sobre a dissolução da União Soviética que aconteceu há 22 anos na semana que vem, os residentes em sete dos 11 países que faziam parte da união têm mais probabilidade de acreditar que seu colapso prejudicou seus países do que os beneficiou. Apenas azerbaijanos, cazaques e turcomanos têm maior probabilidade de ver benefícios do que prejuízos com a separação. Os georgianos estão divididos.

No geral, os residentes dessas ex-repúblicas soviéticas têm duas vezes mais probabilidade de dizer que a separação prejudicou (51%) do que beneficiou seus países (24%). Para muitos, a vida não tem sido fácil desde a dissolução da União Soviética em dezembro de 1991. Os residentes lá passaram por guerras, revoluções, golpes, disputas territoriais e vários colapsos econômicos. No entanto, esta também é a opinião predominante na Rússia, que continua a exercer considerável influência econômica e política sobre suas ex-repúblicas.

Pessoas mais jovens, educadas com maior probabilidade de obter benefícios

Adultos entre 15 e 44 anos - alguns dos quais nem mesmo nasceram ou eram muito jovens na época da separação - têm quase três vezes mais probabilidade do que aqueles com 65 anos ou mais de dizer que o colapso beneficiou seus países. O quadro é semelhante em todos os países, exceto a Geórgia, onde residentes em todas as faixas etárias provavelmente dirão que foi um benefício. Os residentes mais velhos em todos os 11 países cujas redes de segurança, como pensões garantidas e assistência médica gratuita, desapareceram em grande parte quando o sindicato foi dissolvido, provavelmente dirão que a separação prejudicou seus países.

No geral, os residentes com maior nível educacional têm menos probabilidade de dizer que o colapso prejudicou seu país e mais provavelmente de dizer que os beneficiou. O Quirguistão é a exceção. Quirguistão com maior escolaridade é mais propenso a dizer que a separação prejudicou seu país, o que pode refletir a incompatibilidade entre educação e empregos disponíveis, à medida que o país, com poucos recursos, mudou da economia centralmente planejada da União Soviética para um mercado livre.

Pessoas que vivem com medo têm mais probabilidade de ver os danos

Os residentes que dizem que a "maioria das pessoas" em seu país tem medo de expressar abertamente suas opiniões políticas são mais propensos a dizer que o colapso prejudicou seu país do que aqueles que dizem que "ninguém" tem medo. Isso sugere que a liberdade que eles pensaram que poderiam ter após a queda da União Soviética não se materializou - e, em alguns casos, a situação pode ser ainda pior. Sob o regime rígido do Tadjiquistão, por exemplo, 61% dos que dizem que a maioria das pessoas tem medo também dizem que a separação prejudica seu país, em comparação com 35% dos que dizem que ninguém tem medo.

Residentes que veem melhores chances para os filhos, eles próprios, também veem benefícios

De modo geral, os residentes que veem oportunidades de sucesso para seus filhos e para si próprios têm maior probabilidade de dizer que a separação beneficiou seu país do que aqueles que não veem. Trinta por cento dos residentes dessas ex-repúblicas que afirmam que as crianças em seu país têm a oportunidade de aprender e crescer afirmam que seu país se beneficiou, em comparação com 18% que não acham que as crianças têm essa oportunidade. E em todos os países, os residentes que dizem que as pessoas em seus países podem progredir por meio de trabalho duro têm duas vezes mais chances de dizer que seu país se beneficiou (29%) do que aqueles que acham que não podem progredir (17%).

Implicações

Embora muitos residentes de ex-repúblicas soviéticas acreditem que a separação causou mais mal do que bem para seu país, as gerações futuras podem refletir sobre isso de maneira diferente. Há indícios de que isso já esteja acontecendo entre as gerações mais jovens.

O que quer que tenha acontecido no passado, o futuro está nas mãos da ex-república. Os governos nesses países deveriam se concentrar não apenas na prosperidade econômica de seu país, mas também na criação de oportunidades para os residentes, incluindo crianças, terem sucesso em uma atmosfera onde se sintam livres para falar o que pensam.

Para conjuntos de dados completos ou pesquisas personalizadas em mais de 150 países que a Gallup pesquisa continuamente, entre em contato conosco.

Métodos de Pesquisa

Os resultados são baseados em entrevistas pessoais com pelo menos 1.000 adultos, com 15 anos ou mais, realizadas entre junho e agosto de 2013 na Armênia, Azerbaijão, Bielo-Rússia, Geórgia, Cazaquistão, Quirguistão, Moldávia, Rússia, Tadjiquistão, Turcomenistão e Ucrânia . Perguntas não feitas em pesquisas no Uzbequistão, Lituânia, Estônia e Letônia. Para resultados baseados na amostra total de adultos nacionais, pode-se dizer com 95% de confiança que a margem máxima de erro amostral é de ± 2,7 a ± 3,8 pontos percentuais. A margem de erro reflete a influência da ponderação dos dados. Além do erro de amostragem, a formulação das perguntas e as dificuldades práticas na realização de pesquisas podem introduzir erros ou preconceitos nas conclusões das pesquisas de opinião pública.

Para uma metodologia mais completa e datas específicas de pesquisa, consulte os detalhes do conjunto de dados de país da Gallup & # 39s.


Por 40 anos, esta família russa foi cortada de todo contato humano, sem saber da Segunda Guerra Mundial

Os verões siberianos não duram muito. A neve se prolonga até maio, e o frio volta novamente em setembro, congelando a taiga em uma natureza-morta impressionante em sua desolação: quilômetros intermináveis ​​de florestas esparsas de pinheiros e bétulas espalhadas por ursos adormecidos e lobos famintos montanhas íngremes rios de águas brancas que despejam em torrentes pelos vales cem mil pântanos gelados. Esta floresta é a última e maior das regiões selvagens da Terra & # 8217s. Ele se estende desde a ponta mais distante das regiões árticas da Rússia até a Mongólia e a leste dos Urais até o Pacífico: cinco milhões de quilômetros quadrados de nada, com uma população, fora de um punhado de cidades, que somam apenas algumas mil pessoas.

Quando chegam os dias quentes, a taiga floresce e, por alguns meses, pode parecer quase acolhedora. É então que o homem pode ver mais claramente este mundo escondido & # 8211não em terra, pois a taiga pode engolir exércitos inteiros de exploradores, mas do ar. A Sibéria é a fonte da maior parte dos recursos minerais e de petróleo da Rússia e, ao longo dos anos, até mesmo suas partes mais distantes foram invadidas por garimpeiros e agrimensores em seu caminho para campos no sertão, onde o trabalho de extração de riqueza é realizado.

Karp Lykov e sua filha Agafia, vestindo roupas doadas por geólogos soviéticos pouco depois de sua família ter sido redescoberta.

Assim, foi no remoto sul da floresta no verão de 1978. Um helicóptero enviado para encontrar um local seguro para pousar um grupo de geólogos estava deslizando sobre a linha das árvores a cerca de cem milhas da fronteira da Mongólia quando caiu no denso vale arborizado de um afluente sem nome do Abakan, uma faixa de água fervente que atravessa terreno perigoso. As paredes do vale eram estreitas, com lados quase verticais em alguns lugares, e os pinheiros finos e as bétulas balançando nos rotores & # 8217 descendente estavam tão densamente agrupados que não havia chance de encontrar um local para pousar a aeronave. Mas, espiando atentamente pelo para-brisa em busca de um local de pouso, o piloto viu algo que não deveria estar ali. Era uma clareira, a 6.000 pés de altura na encosta de uma montanha, entalada entre o pinheiro e o larício e marcada com o que parecia ser sulcos longos e escuros. A perplexa tripulação do helicóptero fez várias passagens antes de concluir, com relutância, que isso era evidência de habitação humana & # 8212 um jardim que, pelo tamanho e formato da clareira, deve ter existido há muito tempo.

Foi uma descoberta surpreendente. A montanha ficava a mais de 150 milhas do povoado mais próximo, em um local que nunca havia sido explorado. As autoridades soviéticas não tinham registros de ninguém morando no distrito.

Os Lykov viviam nesta cabana de madeira construída à mão, iluminada por uma única janela & # 8220 do tamanho de um bolso de mochila & # 8221 e aquecida por um fogão a lenha enfumaçado.

Os quatro cientistas enviados ao distrito para prospectar minério de ferro foram informados sobre o avistamento dos pilotos e # 8217, o que os deixou perplexos e preocupados. & # 8220É & # 8217 menos perigoso, & # 8221 o escritor Vasily Peskov comenta sobre esta parte da taiga & # 8220 como cruzar com um animal selvagem do que com um estranho & # 8221 e em vez de esperar em sua própria base temporária, 10 milhas distância, os cientistas decidiram investigar. Liderados por uma geóloga chamada Galina Pismenskaya, eles & # 8220escolheram um belo dia e colocaram presentes em nossos pacotes para nossos amigos em potencial & # 8221 & # 8212 embora, só para ter certeza, ela lembrou, & # 8220 eu verifiquei a pistola que estava pendurada ao meu lado . & # 8221

Conforme os intrusos escalaram a montanha, indo para o local apontado por seus pilotos, eles começaram a encontrar sinais de atividade humana: um caminho acidentado, um cajado, um tronco colocado em um riacho e, finalmente, um pequeno galpão cheio de bétulas. recipientes de casca de batata seca cortada. Então, Pismenskaya disse,

ao lado de um riacho havia uma habitação. Enegrecida pelo tempo e pela chuva, a cabana estava amontoada de todos os lados com lixo de taiga e cascas, postes e tábuas. Se não fosse por uma janela do tamanho do bolso da minha mochila, seria difícil acreditar que pessoas morassem lá. Mas eles fizeram, sem dúvida & # 8230. Nossa chegada havia sido notada, como pudemos ver.

A porta baixa rangeu e a figura de um homem muito velho emergiu à luz do dia, saído de um conto de fadas. Descalço. Vestindo uma camisa remendada e remendada feita de saco. Usava calças do mesmo material, também com remendos, e tinha barba despenteada. Seu cabelo estava desgrenhado. Ele parecia assustado e estava muito atento & # 8230. Precisávamos dizer algo, então comecei: & # 8216Saudações, avô! Viemos visitar! & # 8217

O velho não respondeu imediatamente & # 8230. Finalmente, ouvimos uma voz suave e incerta: & # 8216Bem, como você viajou até aqui, é melhor entrar. & # 8217


A visão que os geólogos receberam quando eles entraram na cabana foi como algo da Idade Média. Construída por Jerry com quaisquer materiais disponíveis, a casa não era muito mais do que uma toca & # 8212 & # 8221 um canil baixo e enegrecido pela fuligem que era tão frio quanto um porão & # 8221 com um piso de casca de batata e pinho - cascas de nozes. Olhando ao redor na penumbra, os visitantes viram que consistia em uma única sala. Era apertado, mofado e indescritivelmente sujo, sustentado por vigas caídas & # 8212 e, surpreendentemente, lar para uma família de cinco pessoas:

O silêncio foi repentinamente quebrado por soluços e lamentações. Só então vimos as silhuetas de duas mulheres. Um estava histérico, orando: & # 8216Isso é por nossos pecados, nossos pecados. & # 8217 O outro, mantendo-se atrás de um poste & # 8230, afundou-se lentamente no chão. A luz da pequena janela caiu sobre seus olhos arregalados e aterrorizados, e percebemos que tínhamos que sair dali o mais rápido possível.

Liderados por Pismenskaya, os cientistas recuaram apressados ​​para fora da cabana e recuaram para um local a alguns metros de distância, de onde retiraram algumas provisões e começaram a comer. Depois de cerca de meia hora, a porta da cabana se abriu, e o velho e suas duas filhas emergiram & # 8212não mais histéricos e, embora ainda obviamente assustados, & # 8220 francamente curiosos. & # 8221 Cautelosamente, as três estranhas figuras se aproximaram e sentou-se com seus visitantes, rejeitando tudo o que lhes foi oferecido & # 8212filho, chá, pão & # 8212 com um murmúrio, & # 8220Não é permitido isso! & # 8221 Quando Pismenskaya perguntou: & # 8220Você já comeu pão? & # 8221 o o velho respondeu: & # 8220Eu tenho. Mas eles não têm. Eles nunca viram isso. & # 8221 Pelo menos ele era inteligível. As filhas falavam uma linguagem distorcida por uma vida inteira de isolamento. & # 8220Quando as irmãs falavam umas com as outras, soava como um arrulho lento e borrado. & # 8221

Lentamente, ao longo de várias visitas, a história completa da família foi emergindo. O nome do velho era Karp Lykov, e ele era um & # 160Old Believer & # 8211 membro de uma seita ortodoxa russa fundamentalista, adorando em um estilo inalterado desde o século 17. Os Velhos Crentes haviam sido & # 160 perseguidos desde os dias de Pedro, o Grande, e & # 160Lykov falou sobre isso como se tivesse acontecido ontem para ele, Pedro era um inimigo pessoal e & # 8220 o anticristo em forma humana & # 8221 & # 8212a ponto ele insistiu que foi amplamente provado pela campanha do czar & # 8217s & # 160 para modernizar a Rússia, cortando à força as barbas dos cristãos. & # 8221 & # 160Mas esses ódios centenários foram combinados com queixas mais recentes de que Karp costumava reclamar da mesma forma breath about a merchant who had refused to make a gift of 26 poods of potatoes to the Old Believers sometime around 1900.

Things had only got worse for the Lykov family when the atheist Bolsheviks took power. Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov’s brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.

Peter the Great’s attempts to modernize the Russia of the early 18th century found a focal point in a campaign to end the wearing of beards. Facial hair was taxed and non-payers were compulsorily shaved—anathema to Karp Lykov and the Old Believers.

That was in 1936, and there were only four Lykovs then—Karp his wife, Akulina a son named Savin, 9 years old, and Natalia, a daughter who was only 2. Taking their possessions and some seeds, they had retreated ever deeper into the taiga, building themselves a succession of crude dwelling places, until at last they had fetched up in this desolate spot. Two more children had been born in the wild—Dmitry in 1940 and Agafia in 1943—and neither of the youngest Lykov children had ever seen a human being who was not a member of their family. All that Agafia and Dmitry knew of the outside world they learned entirely from their parents’ stories. The family’s principal entertainment, the Russian journalist Vasily Peskov noted, “was for everyone to recount their dreams.”

The Lykov children knew there were places called cities where humans lived crammed together in tall buildings. They had heard there were countries other than Russia. But such concepts were no more than abstractions to them. Their only reading matter was prayer books and an ancient family Bible. Akulina had used the gospels to teach her children to read and write, using sharpened birch sticks dipped into honeysuckle juice as pen and ink. When Agafia was shown a picture of a horse, she recognized it from her mother’s Bible stories. “Look, papa,” she exclaimed. “A steed!”

But if the family’s isolation was hard to grasp, the unmitigated harshness of their lives was not. Traveling to the Lykov homestead on foot was astonishingly arduous, even with the help of a boat along the Abakan. On his first visit to the Lykovs, Peskov—who would appoint himself the family’s chief chronicler—noted that “we traversed 250 kilometres without seeing a single human dwelling!”

Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.

The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds.

In some respects, Peskov makes clear, the taiga did offer some abundance: “Beside the dwelling ran a clear, cold stream. Stands of larch, spruce, pine and birch yielded all that anyone could take.… Bilberries and raspberries were close to hand, firewood as well, and pine nuts fell right on the roof.”

Yet the Lykovs lived permanently on the edge of famine. It was not until the late 1950s, when Dmitry reached manhood, that they first trapped animals for their meat and skins. Lacking guns and even bows, they could hunt only by digging traps or pursuing prey across the mountains until the animals collapsed from exhaustion. Dmitry built up astonishing endurance, and could hunt barefoot in winter, sometimes returning to the hut after several days, having slept in the open in 40 degrees of frost, a young elk across his shoulders. More often than not, though, there was no meat, and their diet gradually became more monotonous. Wild animals destroyed their crop of carrots, and Agafia recalled the late 1950s as “the hungry years.” “We ate the rowanberry leaf,” she said,

roots, grass, mushrooms, potato tops, and bark. We were hungry all the time. Every year we held a council to decide whether to eat everything up or leave some for seed.

Famine was an ever-present danger in these circumstances, and in 1961 it snowed in June. The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop

Dmitry (left) and Savin in the Siberian summer.

As the Soviet geologists got to know the Lykov family, they realized that they had underestimated their abilities and intelligence. Each family member had a distinct personality old Karp was usually delighted by the latest innovations that the scientists brought up from their camp, and though he steadfastly refused to believe that man had set foot on the moon, he adapted swiftly to the idea of satellites. The Lykovs had noticed them as early as the 1950s, when “the stars began to go quickly across the sky,” and Karp himself conceived a theory to explain this: “People have thought something up and are sending out fires that are very like stars.”

“What amazed him most of all,” Peskov recorded, “was a transparent cellophane package. ‘Lord, what have they thought up—it is glass, but it crumples!’” And Karp held grimly to his status as head of the family, though he was well into his 80s. His eldest child, Savin, dealt with this by casting himself as the family’s unbending arbiter in matters of religion. “He was strong of faith, but a harsh man,” his own father said of him, and Karp seems to have worried about what would happen to his family after he died if Savin took control. Certainly the eldest son would have encountered little resistance from Natalia, who always struggled to replace her mother as cook, seamstress and nurse.

The two younger children, on the other hand, were more approachable and more open to change and innovation. “Fanaticism was not terribly marked in Agafia,” Peskov said, and in time he came to realize that the youngest of the Lykovs had a sense of irony and could poke fun at herself. Agafia’s unusual speech—she had a singsong voice and stretched simple words into polysyllables—convinced some of her visitors she was slow-witted in fact she was markedly intelligent, and took charge of the difficult task, in a family that possessed no calendars, of keeping track of time.  She thought nothing of hard work, either, excavating a new cellar by hand late in the fall and working on by moonlight when the sun had set. Asked by an astonished Peskov whether she was not frightened to be out alone in the wilderness after dark, she replied: “What would there be out here to hurt me?”

A Russian press photo of Karp Lykov (second left) with Dmitry and Agafia, accompanied by a Soviet geologist.

Of all the Lykovs, though, the geologists’ favorite was Dmitry, a consummate outdoorsman who knew all of the taiga’s moods. He was the most curious and perhaps the most forward-looking member of the family. It was he who had built the family stove, and all the birch-bark buckets that they used to store food. It was also Dmitry who spent days hand-cutting and hand-planing each log that the Lykovs felled. Perhaps it was no surprise that he was also the most enraptured by the scientists’ technology. Once relations had improved to the point that the Lykovs could be persuaded to visit the Soviets’ camp, downstream, he spent many happy hours in its little sawmill, marveling at how easily a circular saw and lathes could finish wood. “It’s not hard to figure,” Peskov wrote. “The log that took Dmitry a day or two to plane was transformed into handsome, even boards before his eyes. Dmitry felt the boards with his palm and said: ‘Fine!’”

Karp Lykov fought a long and losing battle with himself to keep all this modernity at bay. When they first got to know the geologists, the family would accept only a single gift—salt. (Living without it for four decades, Karp said, had been “true torture.”) Over time, however, they began to take more. They welcomed the assistance of their special friend among the geologists—a driller named Yerofei Sedov, who spent much of his spare time helping them to plant and harvest crops. They took knives, forks, handles, grain and eventually even pen and paper and an electric torch. Most of these innovations were only grudgingly acknowledged, but the sin of television, which they encountered at the geologists’ camp,

proved irresistible for them…. On their rare appearances, they would invariably sit down and watch. Karp sat directly in front of the screen. Agafia watched poking her head from behind a door. She tried to pray away her transgression immediately—whispering, crossing herself…. The old man prayed afterward, diligently and in one fell swoop.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the Lykovs’ strange story was the rapidity with which the family went into decline after they re-established contact with the outside world. In the fall of 1981, three of the four children followed their mother to the grave within a few days of one another. According to Peskov, their deaths were not, as might have been expected, the result of exposure to diseases to which they had no immunity. Both Savin and Natalia suffered from kidney failure, most likely a result of their harsh diet. But Dmitry died of pneumonia, which might have begun as an infection he acquired from his new friends.

His death shook the geologists, who tried desperately to save him. They offered to call in a helicopter and have him evacuated to a hospital. But Dmitry, in extremis, would abandon neither his family nor the religion he had practiced all his life. “We are not allowed that,” he whispered just before he died. “A man lives for howsoever God grants.”

The Lykovs' graves. Today only Agafia survives of the family of six, living alone in the taiga.

When all three Lykovs had been buried, the geologists attempted to talk Karp and Agafia into leaving the forest and returning to be with relatives who had survived the persecutions of the purge years, and who still lived on in the same old villages. But neither of the survivors would hear of it. They rebuilt their old cabin, but stayed close to their old home.

Karp Lykov died in his sleep on February 16, 1988, 27 years to the day after his wife, Akulina. Agafia buried him on the mountain slopes with the help of the geologists, then turned and headed back to her home. The Lord would provide, and she would stay, she said—as indeed she has. A quarter of a century later, now in her seventies herself, this child of the taiga lives on alone, high above the Abakan.

She will not leave. But we must leave her, seen through the eyes of Yerofei on the day of her father’s funeral:

I looked back to wave at Agafia. She was standing by the river break like a statue. She wasn’t crying. She nodded: ‘Go on, go on.’ We went another kilometer and I looked back. She was still standing there.

Anon. ‘How to live substantively in our times.’ Stranniki, 20 February 2009, accessed August 2, 2011 Georg B. Michels. At War with the Church: Religious Dissent in Seventeenth Century Russia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995 Isabel Colgate. A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries and Recluses. New York: HarperCollins, 2002 ‘From taiga to Kremlin: a hermit’s gifts to Medvedev,’ rt.com, February 24, 2010, accessed August 2, 2011 G. Kramore, ‘At the taiga dead end‘. Suvenirograd , nd, accessed August 5, 2011 Irina Paert. Old BelieversReligious Dissent and Gender in Russia, 1760-1850. Manchester: MUP, 2003 Vasily Peskov. Lost in the Taiga: One Russian Family’s Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

A documentary on the Lykovs (in Russian) which shows something of the family’s isolation and living conditions, can be viewed here.

Lost in the Taiga: One Russian Family's Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness

A Russian journalist provides a haunting account of the Lykovs, a family of Old Believers, or members of a fundamentalist sect, who in 1932 went to live in the depths of the Siberian Taiga and survived for more than fifty years apart from the modern world.


END OF THE SOVIET UNION Text of Gorbachev's Farewell Address

Following is a transcript of Mikhail S. Gorbachev's resignation speech in Moscow yesterday, as recorded through the facilities of CNN and translated by CNN from the Russian:

Dear fellow countrymen, compatriots. Due to the situation which has evolved as a result of the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, I hereby discontinue my activities at the post of President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I am making this decision on considerations of principle. I firmly came out in favor of the independence of nations and sovereignty for the republics. At the same time, I support the preservation of the union state and the integrity of this country.

The developments took a different course. The policy prevailed of dismembering this country and disuniting the state, which is something I cannot subscribe to.

After the Alma-Ata meeting and its decisions, my position did not change as far as this issue is concerned. Besides, it is my conviction that decisions of this caliber should have been made on the basis of popular will.

However, I will do all I can to insure that the agreements that were signed there lead toward real concord in society and facilitate the exit out of this crisis and the process of reform.

This being my last opportunity to address you as President of the U.S.S.R., I find it necessary to inform you of what I think of the road that has been trodden by us since 1985. Squandered Resources

I find it important because there have been a lot of controversial, superficial, and unbiased judgments made on this score. Destiny so ruled that when I found myself at the helm of this state it already was clear that something was wrong in this country.

We had a lot of everything -- land, oil and gas, other natural resources -- and there was intellect and talent in abundance. However, we were living much worse than people in the industrialized countries were living and we were increasingly lagging behind them. The reason was obvious even then. This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic command system. Doomed to cater to ideology, and suffer and carry the onerous burden of the arms race, it found itself at the breaking point.

All the half-hearted reforms -- and there have been a lot of them -- fell through, one after another. This country was going nowhere and we couldn't possibly live the way we did. We had to change everything radically.

It is for this reason that I have never had any regrets -- never had any regrets -- that I did not use the capacity of General Secretary just to reign in this country for several years. I would have considered it an irresponsible and immoral decision. I was also aware that to embark on reform of this caliber and in a society like ours was an extremely difficult and even risky undertaking. But even now, I am convinced that the democratic reform that we launched in the spring of 1985 was historically correct.

The process of renovating this country and bringing about drastic change in the international community has proven to be much more complicated than anyone could imagine. However, let us give its due to what has been done so far.

This society has acquired freedom. It has been freed politically and spiritually, and this is the most important achievement that we have yet fully come to grips with. And we haven't, because we haven't learned to use freedom yet.

However, an effort of historical importance has been carried out. The totalitarian system has been eliminated, which prevented this country from becoming a prosperous and well-to-do country a long time ago. A breakthrough has been effected on the road of democratic change. Market Format Nears

Free elections have become a reality. Free press, freedom of worship, representative legislatures and a multi-party system have all become reality. Human rights are being treated as the supreme principle and top priority. Movement has been started toward a multi-tier economy and the equality of all forms of ownership is being established.

Within the framework of the land reform, peasantry began to re-emerge as a class. And there arrived farmers, and billions of hectares of land are being given to urbanites and rural residents alike. The economic freedom of the producer has been made a law, and free enterprise, the emergence of joint stock companies and privatization are gaining momentum.

As the economy is being steered toward the market format, it is important to remember that the intention behind this reform is the well-being of man, and during this difficult period everything should be done to provide for social security, which particularly concerns old people and children.

We're now living in a new world. And end has been put to the cold war and to the arms race, as well as to the mad militarization of the country, which has crippled our economy, public attitudes and morals. The threat of nuclear war has been removed.

Once again, I would like to stress that during this transitional period, I did everything that needed to be done to insure that there was reliable control of nuclear weapons. We opened up ourselves to the rest of the world, abandoned the practices of interfering in others' internal affairs and using troops outside this country, and we were reciprocated with trust, solidarity, and respect.

We have become one of the key strongholds in terms of restructuring modern civilization on a peaceful democratic basis. The nations and peoples of this country have acquired the right to freely choose their format for self-determination. Their search for democratic reform of this multi-national state had led us to the point where we were about to sign a new union treaty. Popular Resentment

All this change had taken a lot of strain, and took place in the context of fierce struggle against the background of increasing resistance by the reactionary forces, both the party and state structures, and the economic elite, as well as our habits, ideological bias, the sponging attitudes.

The change ran up against our intolerance, a low level of political culture and fear of change. That is why we have wasted so much time. The old system fell apart even before the new system began to work. Crisis of society as a result aggravated even further.

I'm aware that there is popular resentment as a result of today's grave situation. I note that authority at all levels, and myself are being subject to harsh criticisms. I would like to stress once again, though, that the cardinal change in so vast a country, given its heritage, could not have been carried out without difficulties, shock and pain.

The August coup brought the overall crisis to the limit. The most dangerous thing about this crisis is the collapse of statehood. I am concerned about the fact that the people in this country are ceasing to become citizens of a great power and the consequences may be very difficult for all of us to deal with.

I consider it vitally important to preserve the democratic achievements which have been attained in the last few years. We have paid with all our history and tragic experience for these democratic achievements, and they are not to be abandoned, whatever the circumstances, and whatever the pretexts. Otherwise, all our hopes for the best will be buried. I am telling you all this honestly and straightforwardly because this is my moral duty.

I would like to express my gratitude to all people who have given their support to the policy of renovating this country and became involved in the democratic reform in this country. I am also thankful to the statements, politicians and public figures, as well as millions of ordinary people abroad who understood our intentions, gave their support and met us halfway. I thank them for their sincere cooperation with us. Avoidable Mistakes

I am very much concerned as I am leaving this post. However, I also have feelings of hope and faith in you, your wisdom and force of spirit. We are heirs of a great civilization and it now depends on all and everyone whether or not this civilization will make a comeback to a new and decent living today. I would like, from the bottom of my heart, to thank everyone who has stood by me throughout these years, working for the righteous and good cause.

Of course, there were mistakes made that could have been avoided, and many of the things that we did could have been done better. But I am positive that sooner or later, some day our common efforts will bear fruit and our nations will live in a prosperous, democratic society.


The painful post-Soviet transition from communism to capitalism – Recovery podcast series part five

In this fifth episode of Recovery, a series from The Anthill Podcast exploring key moments in history when parts of the world recovered from a major crisis or shock, we’re looking at what happened in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s during the transition from communism to capitalism.

When the Soviet Union was finally dissolved at the end of 1991 it was a massive shock to the system for millions of people. The communist regimes of the eastern bloc in countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, had begun to fall in the late 1980s in a wave of revolutions.

And in the months before December 25, 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR, and Boris Yeltsin took over as president of the new Russian Federation, many of the former Soviet states had declared independence.

For these post-communist countries, the transition from a state-controlled command economy to market-driven capitalism was a hugely complex structural change. What followed was what’s come to be known as “shock therapy” – post-communist states were suddenly subject to mass privatisation and market reforms. Price controls were lifted. State support – which had been such a fundamental part of everybody’s way of life in the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc – was withdrawn.

Jo Crotty, professor of management and director of the Institute for Social Responsibility at Edge Hill University, was living in between Belarus and Russia in the early 1990s. She describes the hyperinflation and economic breakdown she witnessed during this period. Companies tried to keep people employed, but these were jobs in name only and there was a huge problem of hidden unemployment – which she says offers a warning as coronavirus furlough schemes end today.

Some parts of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries recovered quicker than others. Lawrence King, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and research associate at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, explains why – and what political upheaval the drastic economic reforms provoked. He also describes the devastating impact that waves of privatisation had on mortality rates in Russia in the 1990s.

And Elisabeth Schimpfössl, lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University, talks about a new group of oligarchs emerged in Russia during the transition in the 1990s, benefitting from the waves of privatisation and shift to a capitalist system. She describes the enduring legacy this period has had on wealth inequality in Russia.

You can read more about the post-Soviet transition and its legacy alongside other articles in our Recovery series accompanying this podcast.

This episode was produced by Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh with sound design by Eloise Stevens.


Butt of a zillion jokes

His failing health was a taboo subject for the Soviet press but was obvious at his public appearances. Brezhnev is usually remembered as ailing and mumbling – the target of a zillion Soviet anecdotes. A popular joke said the reason Brezhnev’s speeches ran for hours was because he read not just the original but also the carbon copy. When telling a Brezhnev joke, his lines are said slowly and unintelligibly:

Brezhnev comes to address a big Communist party meeting and says: “Dear comrade imperialists.” Everyone sits up trying to understand what he said. Brezhnev tries again: “Dear comrade imperialists.”

By now everyone’s in shock – was he trying to call them imperialists?

Then, an advisor walks over and points to the speech for Brezhnev.

“Oh…” he mumbles and starts again: “Dear comrades, imperialists are everywhere…”

Still, many Soviet people fondly remembered “stagnation” as the time when the Soviet Union reached unprecedented power, prestige and internal stability. When Brezhnev died in 1982, aged 75, the Soviet Union itself had less than 10 years to live. Brezhnev was succeeded first by KGB’s head Yuri Andropov, and then by Konstantin Chernenko – neither of them lived long enough to implement significant changes. There were so many state funerals between 1982 and 1985 that yet another joke appeared: a man approached Red Square to attend one of the funerals. When stopped and asked if he had a pass, he replied: “Hell, I’ve got a season ticket!”. But soon a new leader would change it all…


How Soviet Kitchens Became Hotbeds Of Dissent And Culture

A typical Russian kitchen inside an apartment built during the early 1960s, when Nikita Khrushchev led the Soviet Union — what later became known as Khrushchev apartments. Courtesy of The Kitchen Sisters ocultar legenda

A typical Russian kitchen inside an apartment built during the early 1960s, when Nikita Khrushchev led the Soviet Union — what later became known as Khrushchev apartments.

Courtesy of The Kitchen Sisters

When Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, one of the first things he addressed was the housing shortage and the need for more food. At the time, thousands of people were living in cramped communal apartments, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom with sometimes up to 20 other families.

"People wanted to live in their own apartment," says Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev. "But in Stalin's time you cannot find this. When my father came to power, he proclaimed that there will be mass construction of apartment buildings, and in each apartment will live only one family."

Eles foram chamados khrushchevkas — five-story buildings made of prefabricated concrete panels. "They were horribly built you could hear your neighbor," says Edward Shenderovich, an entrepreneur and Russian poet. The apartments had small toilets, very low ceilings and very small kitchens.

But "no matter how tiny it was, it was yours," says journalist Masha Karp, who was born in Moscow and worked as an editor for the BBC World Service from 1991 to 2009. "This kitchen was the place where people could finally get together and talk at home without fearing the neighbors in the communal flat."

These more private kitchens were emblematic of the completely new era of Soviet life under Khrushchev. "It was called a thaw, and for a reason," says Karp.

"Like in the winter when you have a lot of snow but spots are already green and the new grass was coming," says Russian writer Vladimir Voinovich. "In Khrushchev times it was a very good time for inspiration. A little more liberal than before."

The exterior of Khrushchev-era apartments in Kazan, Russia. Untifler/Wikipedia ocultar legenda

The exterior of Khrushchev-era apartments in Kazan, Russia.

Cozinha Table Talk

The individual kitchens in these tiny apartments, which were approximately 300 to 500 square feet, became hot spots of culture. Music was played, poetry was recited, underground tapes were exchanged, forbidden art and literature circulated, politics was debated and deep friendships were forged.

"One of the reasons why kitchen culture developed in Russia is because there were no places to meet," says Shenderovich. "You couldn't have political discussions in public, at your workplace. You couldn't go to cafes — they were state-owned. The kitchen became the place where Russian culture kept living, untouched by the regime."

In a country with little or no place to gather for the free expression of ideas and no place to talk politics without fear of repression, these new kitchens made it possible for friends to gather privately in one place.

These "dissident kitchens" took the place of uncensored lecture halls, unofficial art exhibitions, clubs, bars and dating services.

"The kitchen was for intimate circle of your close friends," says Alexander Genis, Russian writer and radio journalist. "When you came to the kitchen, you put on the table some vodka and something from your balcony — not refrigerator, but balcony, like pickled mushrooms. Something pickled. Sour is the taste of Russia."

Furious discussions took place over pickled cabbage, boiled potatoes, sardines, sprats and herring.

"Kitchens became debating societies," remembers Gregory (Grisha) Freidin, professor of Slavic languages and literature at Stanford University. "Even to this day, political windbaggery is referred to as 'kitchen table talk.' "

Even in the kitchen, the KGB was an ever-present threat. People were wary of bugs and hidden microphones. Phones were unplugged or covered with pillows. Water was turned on so no one could hear.

"Some of us had been followed," says Freidin. "Sometimes there would be KGB agents stationed outside the apartments and in the stairwells. During those times we expected to be arrested any night."

As the night wore on, kitchen conversations moved from politics to literature. Much literature was forbidden and could not be published or read openly in Soviet society. Kitchens became the place where people read and exchanged samizdat, or self-published books and documents.

UMA samizdat collection of poems and song lyrics by Vladimir Vysotsky, published shortly after the famous Soviet bard's death in 1980. Courtesy of Rossica Berlin Rare Books ocultar legenda

UMA samizdat collection of poems and song lyrics by Vladimir Vysotsky, published shortly after the famous Soviet bard's death in 1980.

Courtesy of Rossica Berlin Rare Books

People would type hundreds of pages on a typewriter, using carbon paper to create four or five copies, which were passed from one person to the next — political writings, fiction, poetry, philosophy.

"Samizdat is, I think, the precursor of Internet," says Genis. "You put everything on it, like Facebook. And it wasn't easy to get typewriters because all typewriters must be registered by the KGB. That's how people got caught and sentenced to jail."

More From The Kitchen Sisters

The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, are Peabody Award-winning independent producers who create radio and multimedia stories for NPR and public broadcast. Their Hidden Kitchens series travels the world, chronicling little-known kitchen rituals and traditions that explore how communities come together through food — from modern-day Sicily to medieval England, the Australian Outback to the desert oasis of California.

"Samizdat was the most important part of our literature life," says Genis. "And literature was the most important part of our life, period. Literature for us was like movies for Americans or music for young people."

In 1973, Masha Karp's friend got hold of a typewritten copy of Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago. "She told me, 'I'm reading it at night. I can't let it out of my hands. But you can come to my kitchen and read it here.' So I read it in four afternoons."

Genis' family read Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in the kitchen. "It's a huge book, three volumes, and all our family sat at the kitchen. And we were afraid of our neighbor, but she was sleeping. And my father, my mother, my brother, me and my grandma — who was very old and had very little education — all sit at the table and read page, give page, the whole night. Maybe it was the best night of my life."

Magnitizdat

What happened with samizdat books happened with music, too. Magnitizdat are recordings made on reel-to-reel tape recorders. Tape recorders were expensive but permitted in the Soviet Union for home recordings of bards, poets, folksingers and songwriters, made and passed from friend to friend. People had hundreds of tapes they shared through the kitchens.

"My songs were my type of reactions to the events and news," says songwriter Yuliy Kim, one of Russia's famous bards, who was barred from giving public concerts. "I would write a song about whatever was discussed. I would sing it during the discussion. If there would be someone with a tape recorder they would tape it and take it to another party. Songs were spread quickly like interesting stories."

"The most famous bard was Vladimir Vysotsky, who was like Bob Dylan of Russia," says Genis. "That's what you can listen to in kitchen."

During the 1950s, with vinyl scarce, Russians began recording rock 'n' roll, jazz and boogie woogie on used X-rays that they gathered from hospitals and doctors' offices. They would cut a crude circle out with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. Courtesy of Jozsef Hajdu (top) courtesy of Ksenia Vytuleva (bottom) ocultar legenda

During the 1950s, with vinyl scarce, Russians began recording rock 'n' roll, jazz and boogie woogie on used X-rays that they gathered from hospitals and doctors' offices. They would cut a crude circle out with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole.

Courtesy of Jozsef Hajdu (top) courtesy of Ksenia Vytuleva (bottom)

Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock 'n' roll on exposed X-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins and archives.

"Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy," says Sergei Khrushchev. "Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music."

"They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole," says author Anya von Bremzen. "You'd have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha's brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens."

Radio: 'A Window To The Freedom'

Most kitchens had a radio that reached beyond the borders and censorship of the Soviet Union. People would crowd around the kitchen listening to broadcasts from the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Liberte.

"It was part of our life in the kitchen," says Vladimir Voinovich, author of The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin. "It was a window to the freedom."

Voinovich's books were circulated in samizdat and smuggled out of the country. One of his pieces was broadcast by a foreign radio station. "I heard some BBC voice reading my chapters. After that I was immediately summoned to KGB." Voinovich was expelled from the Writers Union and later forced to emigrate.

Moscow Kitchens

Dissident composer Yuliy Kim wrote a cycle of songs called "Moscow Kitchens" telling the story of a group of people in the 1950s and the '60s called "dissidents." It tells how they began to get together, how it led to protests, how they were detained and forced to leave the country. He describes the kitchen:

"A tea house, a pie house, a pancake house, a study, a gambling dive, a living room, a parlor, a ballroom. A salon for a passing by drunkard. A home for a visiting bard to crash for a night. This is a Moscow kitchen, ten square meters housing 100 guests."

And, he adds: "This is how this subversive thought grew and expanded in the Soviet Union, beginning with free discussions at the kitchens."


Changes in policy

The breakdown of the 'command economy'

Boris Yeltsin © The Soviet economic system had been highly centralised and was based on five-year plans. In practice, the plans could be modified but decisions even on how many tons of nails or pairs of shoes would be produced were taken in ministries in Moscow and co-ordinated by the State Planning Committee (Gosplan) rather than depending on market forces. Gorbachev was in favour of a large measure of marketisation, though he delayed freeing prices. He was aware that this would lead to sharp price rises and it was left to Boris Yeltsin, as president of Russia, to back Yegor Gaidar in taking that step in January 1992.

The Soviet economy was in limbo in the last two years of the Soviet Union's existence - no longer a command economy but not yet a market system. Significant reforms, such as permitting individual enterprise (1986), devolving more powers to factories (1987), and legalising co-operatives (1988), which were to become thinly disguised private enterprises, had undermined the old institutional structures and produced unintended consequences, but no viable alternative economic system had been put in their place.

Changes in foreign and domestic policy were closely interlinked in the second half of the 1980s. Gorbachev pursued a concessionary foreign policy on the basis of what was called the 'new political thinking'. The ideas were certainly new in the Soviet context and included the belief that the world had become interdependent, that there were universal interests and values that should prevail over class interests and the old East-West divide, and that all countries had the right to decide for themselves the nature of their political and economic systems.

The abandonment of communist regimes in Eastern Europe

Changes in foreign and domestic policy were closely interlinked in the second half of the 1980s.

That last 'right to choose' was taken at face value by the peoples of East-Central Europe in 1989 as one country in the region after another cast aside its communist rulers and moved out of the Soviet camp. While the new governments' rejection of even the reformed Soviet Union was more than Gorbachev had bargained for, he refused to countenance use of force to prevent what critics at home saw as the loss of everything the Soviet Union had gained as a result of the Second World War (in which it lost 27 million of its own citizens).

Not a shot was fired by a Soviet soldier as the Central and East Europeans took their countries' destinies into their own hands. In Western capitals it had been an axiom prior to Gorbachev's coming to power that Soviet control over Eastern Europe was non-negotiable and that the most that could be achieved would be an amelioration of oppressive regimes.


Russians Were Once Banned From a Third of the U.S.

A 1957 map shows that Soviet visitors were barred from most of New York’s Long Island—and the entire state of Washington.

From election interference to alleged nerve poison attacks, Russian meddling has flung the world into a haze of paranoia. At the height of the Cold War, similar mistrust of the Soviet Union led the U.S. to make an extraordinary map showing places where Russian visitors could not legally go.

During the Cold War, fears of Russian meddling prompted the United States government to block Soviet visitors from accessing entire swaths of the country. As of November 11, 1957, when the above map was made, anyone traveling to the United States on a Soviet passport was forbidden from visiting Long Island, much of Northern California, and nearly the entire east coast of Florida. In all, about a third of the country was off limits to citizens of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.

Red patches on the map indicate areas that were inaccessible to Soviet travelers. Green circles within the red areas mark cities they were allowed to visit (most major cities were fair game). In some cases, specific roads were designated for travel through otherwise closed areas. Conversely, red circles indicate banned sites within otherwise open areas, mostly in the Southern states and the Midwest.

The map raises interesting questions: Why was Memphis banned but Nashville not? Why was the entire state of Washington off limits? It’s possible there was a rationale for some of the banned areas, but others were probably chosen more arbitrarily in the attempt to keep a significant portion of the country inaccessible to Soviet visitors, just as they did for travelers from the U.S., says Ryan Moore, a cartographic specialist in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress. “We simply did not trust one another,” he says.

Military bases and factories were probably areas of special concern. A State Department memo published in 1955 lists objects that Soviet visitors were forbidden to sketch or photograph it includes military installations, fuel storage depots, seaports, power plants, factories, and communications facilities. They were also forbidden from taking photos from airplanes on flights over the U.S.

There were likely other considerations, too. “I think we wished to minimize them seeing Jim Crow conditions and other parts of our society that they could exploit for propaganda,” Moore says. “After all, the Cold War was [an] ideological war between East and West. Any shortcoming on one side was seized upon by the other.”


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