Weird History

32 Photos That Show What Life Was Really Like In The Soviet Union 

Kellen Perry
Updated June 19, 2020 133.8k views 32 items

From 1917 to 1991, the Soviet Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was the largest socialist state on the planet, and the biggest rival to the US from WWII to the end of the '80s. Daily life in the Soviet Union, especially early on, was famously awful, with widespread famine, state censorship, and forced labor camps, among countless other atrocities. But as the photos of life in the Soviet Union below reveal, the quality of daily life for ordinary citizens varied wildly through the decades.

Many famous photos of communist Russia are bleak, depicting poor living conditions, bread lines, and dilapidated infrastructure. The collection of photos of the USSR below, however, is an attempt to paint a more complicated and realistic picture of how Soviet citizens spent their days. Yes, some of them are still pretty bleak, but as a whole, they show there's more to the Soviet era than just history book horrors.

Students Of Moscow School 205, 1991
Students Of Moscow Schoo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 32 Photos That Show What Life Was Really Like In The Soviet Union
Photo: flickr/CC0
Coupons Required to Buy Vodka, Unknown Year
Coupons Required to Buy ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 32 Photos That Show What Life Was Really Like In The Soviet Union
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License
Pepsi Kiosk, Summer 1989
Pepsi Kiosk, Summer 1989... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 32 Photos That Show What Life Was Really Like In The Soviet Union
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License
Train Basic Everyday! Chkalovski Village School, 1985
Train Basic Everyday! Ch... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 32 Photos That Show What Life Was Really Like In The Soviet Union
Photo: Pereslavi Week/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0