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

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.

Photo: Переславская неделя/В.С. Спиридонов / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0