¿Qué pasó con los ciudadanos soviéticos que viven en el extranjero?

¿Qué pasó con los ciudadanos soviéticos que viven en el extranjero?

Antes de la formación de la Unión Soviética y / o antes de que se impusieran las restricciones de viaje internacionales, ¿existían ciudadanos rusos, ucranianos, etc. que vivían legalmente en países extranjeros (es decir, como residentes permanentes o con doble ciudadanía)?

¿Qué les sucedió cuando el gobierno soviético restringió los viajes internacionales a los ciudadanos soviéticos? ¿Se les dejó en general solos o, en última instancia, se vieron obligados a regresar a la Unión Soviética?


En "Archipiélago Gulag", Alexander Solzhenitsyn señaló que la Unión Soviética trató de atraer a sus "ciudadanos" que vivían en Europa para que regresaran a la Unión Soviética jugando con su nostalgia. Una vez que regresaron, fueron encarcelados en Siberia para evitar que "contaminen" a los rusos comunes (contando historias de una vida mejor en el extranjero).

Más concretamente, Stalin quería neutralizar a estas personas por temor a que formaran el núcleo de un nuevo movimiento "blanco" (anticomunista), a pesar de que los "blancos" ya habían sido derrotados en la Guerra Civil, por ridículo que esto sea. nos parece. Recuerde que este es el mismo Stalin que mató a sus propios generales por paranoia.

En Yalta, Stalin pidió y obtuvo la aceptación británica y estadounidense para la repatriación de soldados rusos que servían con los alemanes (Operación Keelhaul) y civiles "cosacos" rusos. El primer grupo fue en su mayoría ejecutado, el último grupo encarcelado. Una vez más, Stalin quería destruir a estos "blancos" potenciales.

Básicamente, cualquier ruso que hubiera logrado salir de Rusia antes de que se convirtiera en la Unión Soviética haría bien en mantenerse alejado si fuera posible. Las personas que tenían más posibilidades de hacerlo eran las que se convertían en ciudadanos "naturalizados" de otros países.


Los viajes al extranjero no estaban formalmente prohibidos. Mucha gente en la Unión Soviética viajó al extranjero. Las autoridades decidieron quién podía viajar y quién no. (La mayoría de los ciudadanos no pudieron).

Por supuesto, en el momento de la formación de la Unión Soviética, muchos ciudadanos del antiguo imperio ruso vivían en el extranjero. La mayoría de ellos escaparon durante la revolución y la guerra civil. La mayoría se quedó en el extranjero, pero muchos regresaron. De los que regresaron, muchos sufrieron represión, pero no todos. Las autoridades confiaron en algunos de ellos y se les permitió viajar una y otra vez. Por ejemplo, el famoso autor soviético I. Ehrenburg. Había pocas otras personas así. Hubo otros casos. Un famoso compositor, Prokofiev, regresó de la emigración y vivió cómodamente en la Unión Soviética, pero no se le permitió viajar al extranjero. El físico Kapitsa vino a la Unión Soviética para una breve visita y no se le permitió regresar a Inglaterra.

Después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial hubo una repatriación forzosa masiva de ex ciudadanos rusos, desde Europa y China. Aquellos a quienes las autoridades soviéticas consideraban enemigos fueron castigados (exiliados, ejecutados, encarcelados). Otros no lo fueron.


¿Los funcionarios del gobierno soviético vivían en el lujo?

En la Unión Soviética, el dinero no era igual al poder: para la nomenklatura (élite soviética), casi todo era gratis, pero de propiedad estatal. Con un alto gasto militar en el país y en los Estados comunistas aliados, la URSS experimentó una escasez constante. Sin embargo, esto no fue un problema para quienes tenían los contactos adecuados en el Partido, que resultó ser una estrategia aún más astuta para sobrevivir que esconder montones de rublos debajo del colchón.

La 'nomenklatura' (la palabra proviene del latín nomenclatura, es decir, una lista de nombres) no solo se aplicaba a los burócratas, sino también a sus familias, y también a los escritores, astronautas, deportistas, etc. a unos tres millones de personas en la década de 1980. Como contó una vez Svetlana, la hija de Joseph Stalin & rsquos, ni un centavo del salario de su padre salió de su escritorio.

El extremo superior de la nomenklatura soviética recibió los mejores autos del país y rsquos, generalmente en forma de un GAZ Volga (el equivalente soviético de un Mercedes-Benz), un vehículo lo suficientemente lujoso como para que el presidente Vladimir Putin se lo mostrara al presidente estadounidense George Bush en 2005. La limusina ZiL o Chaika, aún más lujosa, también estaban disponibles, pero estaban esencialmente reservadas para el secretario general y otros miembros del Comité Central. Algunas carreteras de Moscú incluso tenían sus propios "carriles ldquoZiL" para asegurarse de que los políticos más importantes nunca llegaran tarde a las reuniones.

Por supuesto, el hecho de que estos fueran autos del Partido ciertamente mitigó el aspecto de & ldquoluxury & rdquo, ya que los funcionarios quizás podrían comprar menos lujosos con su propio dinero, pero no podrían poseer un Chaika o ZiL. Es posible que los autos de fiesta estuvieran equipados con un chofer privado, pero si un funcionario dejaba su puesto, también perdería el auto que venía con él.

Sin embargo, este no fue el caso para todos, ya que durante la era Brezhnev (1964-1982), la Unión Soviética comenzó a producir automóviles para consumo privado. El estado nunca hizo de la producción en masa una prioridad: en un discurso de 1959, Jruschov declaró que "no es nuestro objetivo competir con los estadounidenses en la producción de más automóviles privados". Para 1975, la proporción de automóvil por persona era de sólo 54: 1 ( a diferencia de 2: 1 en los EE. UU.), y estos autos solo estaban disponibles para ciudadanos comunes que podían pagarlos a través de un sistema de mérito basado en el trabajo y colas.

Por tanto, la forma más rápida y sencilla de hacerse con un coche era servir en un órgano del gobierno o ocupar un puesto de alto rango. En la clásica película soviética Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, el personaje principal Katerina (un jefe de fábrica) es retratado como el epítome de la mujer soviética acomodada por su uso de un Lada de propiedad estatal y no exactamente un Ferrari.

A otros funcionarios de rango inferior también se les dio el privilegio de saltar la cola de los automóviles, pero el automóvil que obtendrían estaría muy lejos del lujo. En el libro Pleasures in Socialism, por ejemplo, Jukka Gronow describe cómo una gran parte de la distribución de los autos Lada y Pobeda fue supervisada por oficiales militares, quienes administrarían los autos para los miembros meritorios de su departamento. Algunos incluso podrían obtener más de un Pobeda para otros miembros de la familia y ndash, una hazaña considerada el colmo del lujo en ese momento, a pesar de que los autos siguen siendo propiedad del estado.

Casas

La distribución del alojamiento soviético estaba mucho más rigurosamente centralizada que la de los automóviles, y el alcance de su lujo cambió drásticamente con el tiempo.

Oficialmente, nadie era dueño de sus propios apartamentos, y el lugar en el que vivía estaba determinado por la proximidad al trabajo en el que trabajaba y al lugar donde también vivían sus colegas. Esto no fue diferente para la nomenklatura, que estaba apiñada en edificios con otras élites y ndash, esta fue una tradición iniciada por Stalin, quien erigió estructuras omnipresentes como el enorme Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building para artistas y la House on the Embankment para albergar a los funcionarios de la NKVD (los residentes de estos apartamentos fueron elegidos por el propio Stalin). La gran demanda de habitaciones en estos bloques de élite se vio aliviada por el elevado número de represiones burocráticas bajo el gobierno de Stalin & rsquos.

Después de la muerte de Stalin & rsquos, el deshielo de las represiones urbanas y el crecimiento exponencial de la burocracia de la posguerra significó que había más miembros de la nomenklatura, y para albergarlos, las casas de élite comenzaron a mudarse fuera del centro de la ciudad de Moscú, y se volvieron algo menos lujosas. Además, en marcado contraste con el stalinki, Brezhnev no tenía la intención de que las casas de sus altos funcionarios y rsquo fueran puntos de referencia y los hizo mezclarse con su entorno.

Un ejemplo de ello son las Casas Tsekovsky en Kuntsevo (un suburbio de clase media del oeste de Moscú), apodado el pueblo de rsquos y ldquoTsar. ”Como relató una ex abogada soviética de alto rango llamada Lidia Sergeevna,“ conseguí un apartamento de tres habitaciones para mi familia , área total 93 metros cuadrados, en el & lsquoTsar & rsquos village & rsquo en 1980. No era un palacio, pero teníamos un entrepiso, dos balcones y un conserje. & rdquo

En lo que respecta a las casas de los líderes y rsquos, los secretarios generales de la Unión Soviética y los rsquos generalmente vivían en algún lugar a un paso de la aldea del rsquos y ldquoTsar, pero muy lejos de la Casa Blanca de Washington. Leonid Brezhnev rechazó un lujoso piso en el área del Estanque del Patriarca de Moscú, por ejemplo, y vivió en un apartamento de sus días como secretario general en el prestigioso 26 Kutuzovsky Prospekt. El apartamento salió a la venta en 2011 por 18 millones de rublos (620.000 dólares en ese momento) y contaba con apenas 54 metros cuadrados de superficie. Incluso como secretario general, Brezhnev no era dueño de esta articulación.

Kutuzovsky Prospekt de Moscú, hogar de altos funcionarios soviéticos como Leonid Brezhnev y Yuri Andropov.

El ático de Mikhail Gorbachev & rsquos en el número 10 de Granatny Lane en el centro de la ciudad de Moscú, que ocupó de 1986 a 1991, se consideró una mejora importante, y aunque él no era el propietario del apartamento, enfureció a mucha gente en ese momento. El apartamento fue comprado más tarde por el compositor Igor Krutoy por un supuesto valor de 15 millones de dólares.

Gorbachov & rsquos causó una indignación aún mayor en la dacha de $ 20 millones en Foros, Crimea, construida enteramente a expensas del estado. Eso no quiere decir que las élites soviéticas no se fueran de vacaciones mucho antes de eso: un estudio reciente reveló los precios de mercado modernos de las enormes casas de vacaciones nomenklatura & rsquos, con la mansión más cara valorada en 26 millones de dólares en el suburbio de Nikolina Gora en Moscú. Se muestra que otras plataformas de un millón de dólares en áreas prestigiosas fuera de Moscú como Peredelkino, Zhukovka y Barvikha han estado habitadas por los grandes y los buenos de la historia soviética: Pasternak, Yevtushenko, Eisenstein, Yesenin y ndash lo que sea.

Compras

Está bien documentado que los funcionarios del gobierno soviético fueron atendidos por tiendas de comestibles separadas para el resto de la población de la URSS, un hecho muy resentido por el hombre de la calle, a quien se le negaría la entrada sin una tarjeta del Partido o una serie de vales para comida allí. . En 1985, un hombre llamado N. Nikolaev de Kazán capturó el sentimiento de la nación cuando su carta fue publicada en el periódico Pravda, leyendo & ldquo¡Deje que el jefe vaya a la tienda ordinaria con todos los demás y déjelo hacer cola durante horas como todos los demás! & rdquo

Supermercado 'Universam' en Leningrado. Los estantes de las tiendas de élite nunca estaban vacíos.

Mientras que las tiendas soviéticas tendían a abastecer a su gente con "productos básicos" como pan, patatas y dulces, la carne y las salchichas solían escasear, sobre todo fuera de Moscú. Por otro lado, el estudio del experto en sovietología Mervyn Matthews & rsquos 1978 titulado & ldquoPrivilege in the Soviética & rdquo descubrió hasta qué punto las altas esferas del gobierno soviético estaban comiendo bien. alimentos como filetes, langosta y caviar negro directamente a las puertas de los funcionarios y rsquo dos veces por semana.

Sin embargo, se ha debatido el alcance del lujo en los platos de apparatchik & rsquos, y el ex viceprimer ministro de la República Socialista de Tayikistán, Georgy Koshlakov, declaró en una entrevista de 2008 que los supermercados restringidos se parecían a cualquier otra tienda. "Las tiendas tenían todo lo que debería haber en las tiendas normales, y por los mismos precios", dijo. & ldquoTodo estaba fresco: mantequilla, queso, salchichas. Pero no recuerdo ningún manjar exclusivo. Sea cierto o no el relato de Koshlakov, está claro que los funcionarios del gobierno nunca pasaron hambre, algo que el público no puede jactarse.

Privilegios familiares

Los pacientes del sanatorio disfrutan de una merecida sesión de sol.

R. Akopyan, Gerbert Bagdasaryan / TASS

En la URSS, la asistencia sanitaria se organizaba normalmente a través de la dirección del lugar de trabajo, con polikiniki (centros de salud) instalados en el lugar de trabajo y en la mayoría de los bloques de apartamentos.

No hace falta decir que la atención médica brindada a las familias de nomenklatura fue de un estándar diferente. El poeta y escritor Korney Chukovsky, quien fue tratado en un hospital del Partido en 1965, escribió en su diario que las familias del Comité Central se construyeron un paraíso, mientras que la gente en otras camas de hospital estaba hambrienta, sucia y sin el derecho a hacerlo. Drogas. & rdquo Esta práctica se extendió también a los funcionarios inferiores bajo Brezhnev, ya que construyó varios sanatorios enormes para jefes de nivel medio en balnearios como Riga y Sochi, así como Kursk y Novgorod.

Además de estar bien atendidos desde el punto de vista de la salud, parece que a los hijos de los funcionarios del gobierno ruso también se les garantizó un trabajo de su elección. En su libro The Russian Ten, Ilya Stogoff detalla cómo los niños de la nomenklatura fueron a escuelas especiales, desde donde se les dio un camino hacia un futuro brillante. & ldquoDespués de obtener sus diplomas & hellip Podrían ir al extranjero como diplomáticos, representantes comerciales, periodistas y ndash lo que quisieran, & rdquo, escribió.

La sobrina de Brezhnev & rsquos, Luba, también derramó los frijoles sobre la dulce vida de los herederos de la nomenklatura en sus memorias El mundo que dejé atrás. En este sincero retrato de la élite soviética, Luba puso al descubierto cómo a ella y a los hijos de los funcionarios se les asignaron trabajos con poca o ninguna responsabilidad, y ocupaban su tiempo limándose las uñas o escribiendo poesía. & ldquoAlgunos se fueron a ofrecerse como voluntarios para realizar trabajos forzados, & rdquo, escribió, & rdquosimplemente porque no podían soportar el aburrimiento & rdquo.

El alcance de la niñera de la nomenklatura solo se hizo realmente visible después del colapso de la URSS, cuando figuras de alto perfil lucharon por vivir sin sus privilegios. "Enfant terrible" Galina Brezhnev (la hija del ex secretario general) es un ejemplo de ello: murió en un pabellón psiquiátrico en 1998, después de haber luchado durante años contra el alcoholismo. "Ella no violó ninguna ley", según el periódico Izvestiya explicó en su obituario, "porque la ley no fue escrita para personas como ella".

Si utiliza cualquier contenido de Russia Beyond, en parte o en su totalidad, proporcione siempre un hipervínculo activo al material original.


Cosmonauta Sergei Krikalev: & # 8216 el último ciudadano soviético & # 8217

Apodado "el último ciudadano soviético" y "el hombre que está harto de volar", el cosmonauta Sergei Krikalev despegó al espacio el 18 de mayo de 1991 y, sin saberlo, se convirtió en un peón de la política internacional. Durante 312 días observó cómo la superpotencia comunista, la Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas, se convertía en la Federación de Rusia. Desde el espacio vio cómo su ciudad natal, Leningrado, se convertía en San Petersburgo. Y desde 240 millas de altura, Krikalev era "en esencia, el último ciudadano que quedaba de la otrora poderosa Unión Soviética", escribe Eric Betz en Discover Magazine.

El ingeniero de vuelo de voz suave de 34 años fue lanzado al espacio desde el cosmódromo de Baikonur en Kazajstán, el Cabo Cañaveral soviético, junto con Anatoly Artsebarsky, de origen ucraniano, y Helen Sharman, la primera británica en el espacio. Los tres se dirigían a la estación espacial Mir, la precursora de lo que ahora es la Estación Espacial Internacional.

El Mir, "diseñado para albergar hasta 12 cosmonautas ... [estaba] tripulado casi continuamente desde 1986", según el El Correo de Washington, y "fue el punto focal del programa espacial soviético".

Mientras el Mir parpadeaba y orbitaba la Tierra, Sharman regresó a casa después de solo ocho días, mientras Krikalev y Artsebarsky, preparados para una misión de cinco meses, observaron durante meses cómo la URSS se dividía en 15 naciones separadas y los tanques comenzaban a rodar hacia la Plaza Roja. . Aunque el golpe de agosto, encabezado por comunistas de línea dura que se oponían a la política de perestroika del presidente Mikhail Gorbachev, fue dominado en tres días, el poder de Gorbachov y el de la Unión Soviética estaba menguando.

Para el astronauta, era difícil obtener noticias precisas. "Para nosotros, fue totalmente inesperado", dijo Krikalev más tarde a los periodistas. “No entendimos lo que pasó. Cuando discutimos todo esto, tratamos de comprender cómo afectaría al programa espacial ".

El 25 de octubre, Kazajstán declaró su soberanía y, con ello, el control del cosmódromo de Baikonur. Los kazajos exigieron una tarifa astronómica por el uso del cosmódromo y, a medida que el valor de mercado del rublo soviético seguía cayendo rápidamente, el otrora poderoso gobierno aparentemente no podía permitirse llevar a Krikalev a casa.

“Una raza humana envió a su hijo a las estrellas para cumplir una serie de tareas concretas”, informó el ruso Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Pero apenas había dejado la Tierra cuando perdió el interés en esas tareas, por razones mundanas y completamente explicables. Y empezó a olvidarse de su cosmonauta. Ni siquiera lo trajo de regreso a la hora señalada, nuevamente por razones completamente mundanas ".

Para apaciguar al gobierno de Kazajstán y obtener un descuento, Moscú nombró a su primer cosmonauta kazajo. Sin embargo, el astronauta recién nombrado aún no tenía el entrenamiento para pasar mucho tiempo en el espacio.

En octubre, con su misión completada, el colega de Krikalev, Artsebarsky, regresó a casa con tres astronautas austriacos. Ninguno tenía las habilidades necesarias para reemplazar a Krikalev, y los soviéticos todavía no tenían el dinero en efectivo.

“El argumento más fuerte fue económico porque esto les permite ahorrar recursos aquí”, dijo Krikalev desde la órbita en 1991. “Dicen que es difícil para mí, que no es realmente bueno para mi salud. Pero ahora el país se encuentra en tal dificultad, la posibilidad de ahorrar dinero debe ser (la) máxima prioridad ".

Mientras Krikalev permanecía en el limbo y su misión de cinco meses se extendía indefinidamente, los riesgos para la salud, que aún hoy no se comprenden completamente, comenzaron a pesar en la mente del astronauta. Los efectos a largo plazo de los vuelos espaciales incluyen, como mínimo, una mayor probabilidad de deterioro de la vista, flujo sanguíneo estancado o inverso, huesos frágiles, atrofia muscular, infección, cáncer y otros problemas y cambios del sistema inmunológico.

Krikalev luego compartió con los medios rusos que a veces se preguntaba: “¿Tengo suficiente fuerza? ¿Podré reajustarme para esta estadía más larga para completar el programa? Naturalmente, en un momento tuve mis dudas ”.


El astronauta Krikalev (izquierda) regresa a la tierra. (Georges DeKeerle / Sygma / Getty Images)

El 25 de diciembre de 1991, Gorbachov dimitió y al día siguiente colapsó la Unión Soviética. Sin embargo, Krikalev permaneció en el espacio, corriendo alrededor de la Tierra 16 veces al día, representando un país que ya no existía.

Finalmente, tres meses después, en una misión espacial conjunta ruso-alemana, le dijeron a Krikalev que estaba siendo reemplazado y el cosmonauta pronto regresó a la Tierra. El último ciudadano "soviético" aterrizó cerca de la ciudad de Arkalyk, Kazajstán, débil, pálido y sudoroso, pero feliz de estar en tierra firme.

“Fue muy agradable a pesar de la gravedad que tuvimos que enfrentar”, recordó Krikalev años más tarde para un equipo de documentales. “Pero psicológicamente, se alivió la carga. Hubo un momento. No se puede llamar euforia, pero fue muy bueno ".


Los antiguos países soviéticos ven más daños por la ruptura

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Al reflexionar sobre la desintegración de la Unión Soviética que ocurrió hace 22 años la semana próxima, los residentes de siete de los 11 países que formaban parte de la unión tienen más probabilidades de creer que su colapso perjudicó a sus países que los benefició. Solo los azerbaiyanos, kazajos y turcomanos tienen más probabilidades de ver un beneficio que un daño de la ruptura. Los georgianos están divididos.

En general, los residentes de estas ex repúblicas soviéticas tienen más del doble de probabilidades de decir que la ruptura perjudicó (51%) que benefició a sus países (24%). Para muchos, la vida no ha sido fácil desde que la Unión Soviética se disolvió en diciembre de 1991. Los residentes allí han vivido guerras, revoluciones, golpes de Estado, disputas territoriales y múltiples colapsos económicos. Sin embargo, esta es también la opinión predominante en Rusia, que sigue ejerciendo una influencia económica y política considerable sobre sus antiguas repúblicas.

Personas más jóvenes, educadas con más probabilidades de ver beneficios

Los adultos de entre 15 y 44 años, algunos de los cuales ni siquiera habían nacido o eran muy jóvenes en el momento de la ruptura, tienen casi tres veces más probabilidades que los de 65 años o más de decir que el colapso benefició a sus países. El panorama es similar en todos los países excepto en Georgia, donde los residentes de todos los grupos de edad probablemente digan que fue un beneficio. Los residentes mayores en los 11 países cuyas redes de seguridad, como pensiones garantizadas y atención médica gratuita, desaparecieron en gran medida cuando se disolvió el sindicato, tienen más probabilidades de decir que la ruptura perjudicó a sus países.

En general, los residentes más educados tienen menos probabilidades de decir que el colapso dañó a su país y más probabilidades de decir que los benefició. Kirguistán es la excepción. Los kirguís que tienen más educación tienen más probabilidades de decir que la ruptura dañó a su país, lo que puede reflejar el desajuste entre la educación y los trabajos disponibles a medida que el país de escasos recursos pasó de la economía de planificación centralizada de la Unión Soviética a un mercado libre.

Las personas que viven con miedo tienen más probabilidades de sufrir daños

Los residentes que dicen que "la mayoría de la gente" en su país tiene miedo de expresar abiertamente sus puntos de vista políticos son más propensos a decir que el colapso dañó a su país que aquellos que dicen que "nadie" tiene miedo. Esto sugiere que la libertad que pensaban que podrían tener después de la caída de la Unión Soviética no se ha materializado y, en algunos casos, la situación puede ser aún peor. Bajo el estricto régimen de Tayikistán, por ejemplo, el 61% de los que dicen que la mayoría de la gente tiene miedo también dicen que la ruptura dañó a su país, en comparación con el 35% de los que dicen que nadie tiene miedo.

Los residentes que ven mejores oportunidades para los niños, ellos mismos, también ven los beneficios

En general, los residentes que ven oportunidades para que sus hijos y ellos mismos tengan éxito tienen más probabilidades de decir que la ruptura benefició a su país que aquellos que no. El treinta por ciento de los residentes de estas ex repúblicas que dicen que los niños en su país tienen la oportunidad de aprender y crecer dicen que su país se benefició, en comparación con el 18% que no cree que los niños tengan esta oportunidad. Y en todos los países, los residentes que dicen que las personas en sus países pueden salir adelante con un trabajo duro tienen el doble de probabilidades de decir que su país se benefició (29%) que aquellos que creen que no pueden salir adelante (17%).

Trascendencia

Aunque muchos residentes de las ex repúblicas soviéticas creen que la ruptura causó más daño que bien a su país, las generaciones futuras pueden reflexionar sobre ello de manera diferente. Hay indicios de que esto ya está sucediendo entre las generaciones más jóvenes.

Pase lo que pase en el pasado, el futuro está en manos de estas ex repúblicas. Los gobiernos de estos países harían bien en centrarse no solo en la prosperidad económica de su país, sino también en crear oportunidades para que los residentes, incluidos los niños, tengan éxito en una atmósfera en la que se sientan libres de decir lo que piensan.

Para obtener conjuntos de datos completos o investigaciones personalizadas de los más de 150 países que Gallup encuesta continuamente, comuníquese con nosotros.

Métodos de encuesta

Los resultados se basan en entrevistas personales con al menos 1.000 adultos, de 15 años o más, realizadas entre junio y agosto de 2013 en Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bielorrusia, Georgia, Kazajstán, Kirguistán, Moldavia, Rusia, Tayikistán, Turkmenistán y Ucrania. . Preguntas no formuladas en encuestas en Uzbekistán, Lituania, Estonia y Letonia. Para los resultados basados ​​en la muestra total de adultos nacionales, se puede decir con un 95% de confianza que el margen máximo de error de muestreo es de ± 2,7 a ± 3,8 puntos porcentuales. El margen de error refleja la influencia de la ponderación de los datos. Además del error de muestreo, la redacción de las preguntas y las dificultades prácticas para realizar encuestas pueden introducir errores o sesgos en los resultados de las encuestas de opinión pública.

Para obtener una metodología más completa y fechas específicas de la encuesta, consulte los detalles del conjunto de datos nacionales de Gallup.


Durante 40 años, esta familia rusa estuvo aislada de todo contacto humano, sin darse cuenta de la Segunda Guerra Mundial

Los veranos siberianos no duran mucho. La nieve persiste hasta mayo, y el clima frío regresa nuevamente durante septiembre, congelando la taiga en una naturaleza muerta asombrosa en su desolación: millas interminables de bosques de pinos y abedules dispersos con osos durmientes y lobos hambrientos, montañas escarpadas, ríos de aguas blancas. que vierten a torrentes por los valles cien mil pantanos helados. Este bosque es el último y más grande desierto de la Tierra. Se extiende desde el extremo más lejano de las regiones árticas de Rusia hasta Mongolia, y al este desde los Urales hasta el Pacífico: cinco millones de millas cuadradas de nada, con una población, fuera de un puñado de ciudades, que asciende a solo unas pocas. mil personas.

Sin embargo, cuando llegan los días cálidos, la taiga florece y durante unos pocos meses puede parecer casi acogedora. Es entonces cuando el hombre puede ver con mayor claridad este mundo oculto, no en tierra, porque la taiga puede tragarse ejércitos enteros de exploradores, sino desde el aire. Siberia es la fuente de la mayor parte de los recursos petrolíferos y minerales de Rusia y, a lo largo de los años, incluso sus partes más distantes han sido sobrevoladas por buscadores de petróleo y topógrafos que se dirigían a los campamentos de los bosques donde se lleva a cabo el trabajo de extracción de riqueza.

Karp Lykov y su hija Agafia, vestidos con ropa donada por geólogos soviéticos poco después de que su familia fuera redescubierta.

Así fue en el remoto sur del bosque en el verano de 1978. Un helicóptero enviado para encontrar un lugar seguro para aterrizar un grupo de geólogos estaba rozando la línea de árboles a unos ciento cincuenta kilómetros de la frontera con Mongolia cuando cayó en la espesa valle boscoso de un afluente sin nombre del Abakan, una hirviente cinta de agua que se precipita a través de un terreno peligroso. Las paredes del valle eran estrechas, con lados casi verticales en algunos lugares, y los delgados pinos y abedules que se balanceaban en los rotores y la corriente descendente # 8217 estaban tan agrupados que no había posibilidad de encontrar un lugar para dejar el avión. Pero, mirando fijamente a través de su parabrisas en busca de un lugar de aterrizaje, el piloto vio algo que no debería haber estado allí. Era un claro, a 6.000 pies de altura en la ladera de una montaña, encajado entre el pino y el alerce y marcado con lo que parecían surcos largos y oscuros. La tripulación del helicóptero desconcertado hizo varias pasadas antes de concluir a regañadientes que esto era evidencia de habitación humana & # 8212 un jardín que, por el tamaño y la forma del claro, debe haber estado allí durante mucho tiempo.

Fue un descubrimiento asombroso. La montaña estaba a más de 150 millas del asentamiento más cercano, en un lugar que nunca había sido explorado. Las autoridades soviéticas no tenían registros de nadie que viviera en el distrito.

Los Lykovs vivían en esta cabaña de troncos construida a mano, iluminada por una sola ventana & # 8220 del tamaño de un bolsillo de mochila & # 8221 y calentada por una estufa de leña humeante.

A los cuatro científicos enviados al distrito para buscar mineral de hierro se les informó sobre el avistamiento de los pilotos y los dejó perplejos y preocupados. & # 8220Es & # 8217 menos peligroso & # 8221 el escritor Vasily Peskov señala de esta parte de la taiga & # 8220 toparse con un animal salvaje que con un extraño & # 8221 y en lugar de esperar en su propia base temporal, 10 millas lejos, los científicos decidieron investigar. Dirigidos por una geóloga llamada Galina Pismenskaya, ellos & # 8220 eligieron un buen día y pusieron regalos en nuestros paquetes para nuestros posibles amigos & # 8221 & # 8212 aunque, sólo para estar seguro, recordó, & # 8220 sí comprobé la pistola que colgaba a mi lado. . & # 8221

Mientras los intrusos trepaban por la montaña, en dirección al lugar señalado por sus pilotos, comenzaron a encontrar signos de actividad humana: un camino accidentado, un bastón, un tronco tendido a través de un arroyo y, finalmente, un pequeño cobertizo lleno de abedules. recipientes de corteza de patatas secas cortadas en trozos. Entonces, Pismenskaya dijo,

junto a un arroyo había una vivienda. Ennegrecida por el tiempo y la lluvia, la cabaña estaba amontonada por todos lados con basura de taiga y corteza, postes y tablas. Si no hubiera sido por una ventana del tamaño del bolsillo de mi mochila, hubiera sido difícil creer que la gente viviera allí. Pero lo hicieron, sin duda alguna & # 8230. Nuestra llegada había sido notada, como pudimos ver.

La puerta baja crujió y la figura de un anciano emergió a la luz del día, sacada directamente de un cuento de hadas. Descalzo. Llevaba una camisa remendada y remendada hecha de arpillera. Llevaba pantalones del mismo material, también en parches, y tenía la barba despeinada. Su cabello estaba despeinado. Parecía asustado y estaba muy atento & # 8230. Teníamos que decir algo, así que comencé: & # 8216¡Saludos, abuelo! ¡Hemos venido a visitarnos! & # 8217

El anciano no respondió de inmediato & # 8230. Finalmente, escuchamos una voz suave e incierta: & # 8216 Bueno, ya que has viajado hasta aquí, es mejor que entres. & # 8217


La vista que recibió a los geólogos al entrar en la cabaña fue como algo de la Edad Media. Construida en Jerry con cualquier material que tuviera a mano, la vivienda no era mucho más que una madriguera & # 8212 & # 8221 una caseta de troncos baja, ennegrecida por el hollín que estaba tan fría como un sótano, & # 8221 con un piso de cáscara de papa y pino -Cáscaras de nueces. Al mirar a su alrededor en la penumbra, los visitantes vieron que consistía en una sola habitación. Era estrecho, mohoso e indescriptiblemente sucio, sostenido por vigas caídas y, sorprendentemente, el hogar de una familia de cinco:

El silencio se rompió de repente con sollozos y lamentos. Solo entonces vimos las siluetas de dos mujeres. Uno estaba histérico, rezando: & # 8216 Esto es por nuestros pecados, nuestros pecados. & # 8217 El otro, manteniéndose detrás de un poste & # 8230 se hundió lentamente en el suelo. La luz de la ventanita cayó sobre sus ojos muy abiertos y aterrorizados, y nos dimos cuenta de que teníamos que salir de allí lo más rápido posible.

Liderados por Pismenskaya, los científicos salieron apresuradamente de la cabaña y se retiraron a un lugar a unos metros de distancia, donde sacaron algunas provisiones y comenzaron a comer. Después de aproximadamente media hora, la puerta de la cabaña se abrió con un chirrido, y el anciano y sus dos hijas emergieron & # 8212 ya no histéricos y, aunque todavía obviamente asustados, & # 8220 francamente curiosos & # 8221 Con cautela, las tres extrañas figuras se acercaron y se sentó con sus visitantes, rechazando todo lo que se les ofreció & # 8212 mermelada, té, pan & # 8212 con un murmullo, & # 8220 ¡No se nos permite eso! & # 8221 Cuando Pismenskaya preguntó, & # 8220 ¿Alguna vez has comido pan? & # 8221 el El anciano respondió: & # 8220 Yo tengo. Pero no lo han hecho. Nunca lo han visto. & # 8221 Al menos era inteligible. Las hijas hablaban un idioma distorsionado por una vida de aislamiento. & # 8220Cuando las hermanas hablaban entre ellas, sonaba como un arrullo lento y borroso. & # 8221

Poco a poco, a lo largo de varias visitas, surgió la historia completa de la familia. El anciano & # 8217s nombre era Karp Lykov, y era un & # 160Viejo Creyente & # 8211 un miembro de una secta ortodoxa rusa fundamentalista, que adoraba en un estilo sin cambios desde el siglo XVII. Los viejos creyentes habían sido & # 160 perseguidos desde los días de Pedro el Grande, y & # 160Lykov hablaba de ello como si hubiera sucedido solo ayer para él, Pedro era un enemigo personal y & # 8220 el anticristo en forma humana & # 8221 & # 8212 un punto Insistió que había sido ampliamente probado por la campaña del zar para modernizar Rusia cortando por la fuerza las barbas de los cristianos. 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 leyenda

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."

Ellos fueron llamados 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 leyenda

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

Cocina Charla de mesa

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.

A 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 leyenda

A 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 leyenda

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.

Moscú 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.”