Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

The Moscow I Was Born In (Video)

Awesome footage of Moscow life in the 1950s and 60s!

 
MORE: History

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


I was born in Moscow in 1957, just 13 years after the end of World War II. My parents and grandparents were full of memories of those tragic times, but there were no physical traces of war left in the city. Although in 1941, the Nazis came within a few kilometers of Moscow, thanks to good air defenses, there were no mass bombings on the scale of, say, London. Not to mention Stalingrad.

My parents lived in a ‘communal apartment’ shared by 2 families in a hi-rise. My grandparents lived in a "barak", a long, wooden two-story building with 20 rooms and a common kitchen and toilet on each floor. The baraks were built in the late 1920s to accommodate young people from all over the Soviet Union coming to Moscow to participate in huge construction projects, like the famous Moscow Metro, or enroll in universities to become engineers and technicians.

In 1960, when my mother was pregnant with my sister, the family was allotted an apartment of its own – 3 rooms and a kitchen. Later in the 1960s, my grandparents, now retired, moved out of the barak to a small modern apartment. When the last family left that barak, it was burnt down, probably to erase all trace of this experience.

The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of hope. Mass housing construction started, as did mass production of cars and home appliances like refrigerators. The state began allotting dachas to urban dwellers, free 30 x 20 or 20 x 40 meters plots of land in the county, where families could build small summer houses and either relax, or grow fruit and vegetables to make up for the food shortages in state-owned shops.

After Stalin died in 1953, the cultural thaw followed – literature, arts, cinema, leisure time became less ideological.

The video that you are about to see captures the spirit of those times. With the wisdom of hindsight, I could say a lot of critical things about this era, but why would I criticize the happy years of my boyhood?


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons


MORE: History

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.