Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Donald J. Raleigh: 'Soviet Baby Boomers' (2012), Part IV

Donald J. Raleigh, Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia's Cold War Generation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

"The Soviet practice of sending work cohorts on vacations together made it complicated for families to travel together, giving rise to vacation romances." (page 206

Families became smaller. "At the end of the 1970s, 52 percent of Soviet families with children had only one child . . ." (page 206)

On Lithuanians: "The people . . . are very peculiar  . . ."  (page 208)

Marina Bakutina, guide-interpreter: "'I could think whatever I liked, but not say it.'" (page 209)

"The Baby Boomers also continued to have vicarious encounters with foreign cultures through movies and books . . ." Olga Kamayurova: "'I like the films they used to show at film clubs, that is, complicated, sophisticated films not for ordinary viewers . . . They showed us lots of such films, including, my heavens, Fellini and Antonioni. It was like food for us movie lovers . . . Sometimes, when they picked some sensational film, I would think . . . this is so extraordinary.'" (page 210)

When some of the Soviet Baby Boomers moved to the USA, they were appalled by the high cost of health care and education (page 217).  

Travel: "'It's better to see something once than to hear about it seven times,'" goes the Russian proverb."

Viktor D. on the late Soviet era: "'health care was free and unequivocally on a higher level than now. Education was free, including higher education and graduate school . . . People received apartments, they had confidence in tomorrow. Maybe everything was on a lower level than in America, but there was stability.'" (page 237)

The Brezhnev to Chernenko era became an embarrassing gerontocracy, "'an awful spectacle.'" (page 240) "Yelena Kolosova recalled asking, 'Who's Chernenko? He was even worse than Brezhnev, absolutely nothing more than a joke.'" (page 243)

Oddly, at the New World resort in Crimea, some Russian Baby Boomers became New Age types, or joined Osho (the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh movement that spread worldwide, with a "Zorba the Buddha" style colony in Oregon) . (See page 246)

Ideas of existential freedom. L. G. Ionin: "'The Soviet people chose from among the available choices and understood freedom as having choices from among what was.' In this regard, for a free person, the Soviet Union was a free society. Freedom existed as a real choice, as an individual emotional experience." (page 249)

[to be continued.]

Today's Rune: Possessions

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