Russians urged to reflect on ‘inexplicable paradoxes of the Soviet Union’

Russians must wait in food lines to get whatever goods are available in November 1991, just a month before the collapse of the USSR

Russians must wait in food lines to get whatever goods are available in November 1991, just a month before the collapse of the USSR 

Analysis & Opinion, History, Russia

A Moscow blogger has suggested that Russians now, when thinking about the Soviet past, should reflect on what he calls that country’s “inexplicable paradoxes” not only when thinking about their own relationship to it but also about where they are now.

His observations merit quotation in full. In Soviet times, he writes,

  • “Everyone had a job, but no one did anything.”
  • “No one did anything but the plan was always fulfilled 100 percent or even at times 104 to 110 percent.”
  • “The plan was fulfilled 100 percent but there was nothing in the stores.”
  • “There was nothing in the stores, but everyone had all they needed.”
  • “Everyone had all he needed but all stole.”
  • “All stole but all had enough.
  • “All had enough but all were dissatisfied.”
  • “All were dissatisfied but no one went on strike.”
  • “No one went on strike but no one worked.”
  • “All were against, but all voted ‘for.’”
  • “He who shouted ‘yes’ the loudest, now beats his chest more than anyone else and insists he was against.”

“How was all this possible? What do you think?”


Edited by: A. N.

Since you’re here – we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away. But we’re here to stay, and will keep on providing quality, independent, open-access information on Ukrainian reforms, Russia’s hybrid war, human rights violations, political prisoners, Ukrainian history, and more. We are a non-profit, don’t have any political sponsors, and never will. If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation!

Tags: , , , ,

  • veth

    It was never a real country…………..

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Here’s another one:
    “All is forbidden but everything’s possible.”

    • veth
    • veth



    • Oknemfrod

      The fundamental principle underlying that society was “Everything is prohibited unless it’s explicitly permitted”. Most of those living there and inured to it were hardly capable of crystallizing it as a distinct concept because they had nothing to compare it with. It is only after moving to a country based on exactly the opposite principle, “Everything is permitted unless it is explicitly prohibited”, that it might become strikingly clear.

      At least, in my own case, this realization (rather than the abundance and free access to material things unthinkable of in the USSR, which in itself was stunning enough) was the most astonishing change; and it was particularly noticeable in the manifestation of rather mundane everyday encounters.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    The Russian blogger asked a valid question. How could such a paradox exist in Russia and to that there is a simple answer. When people defer from common sense resulting in their loss of humanity, they become “sheeple”. In that regard, one of the best illustrations of this phenomenon could be found in George Orwell’s novel, “Animal Farm”.

    • veth

      He had Russia in mind, may be…………..

      • Oknemfrod

        Not “maybe” but it’s what (more precisely, the USSR) what he had in mind.

  • zorbatheturk

    The biggest paradox of all is how a fourth rate assclown like Putin became supreme leader of fascist RoSSiya. Only in RuSSia…