domingo, 8 de abril de 2018

CAR: Soviet Kitchens & the Planned Economy (April 9)


1. "How Russia's Shared Kitchens Helped Shape Soviet Politics" by The Kitchen Sisters

2. "How Soviet Kitchens Became Hotbeds of Dissent and Culture" by The Kitchen Sisters

3. "The Evolution and the Dissolution of the Soviet Kitchen" by Nadine Astrakhan

"When Vladimir Lenin came to power, collective nutrition became the new ideal. Lenin’s administration believed that people were not capable of receiving proper nutrition when they cooked for themselves. Food was simply fuel, and the best way for Soviet citizens to fuel themselves was not within their own homes, but through stolovayas, or government-run cafeterias. Lenin and his administration declared in the 1923 pamphlet Down with the Private Kitchen that stolovayas were not only the best way for the government to control scarce food resources, but an obvious way for communism to permeate the lives of Soviet citizens; eating became a political process dubbed a “food dictatorship” by food writer Anya von Bremzen (Von Bremzen 2013, 40-41)"

 "Under Joseph Stalin, the NEP of Lenin’s time was not sufficient to creating the agriculture growth that Stalin felt the country needed. Further, a new grain crisis left the country hungry once more. Kitchens made a comeback because of heavy food rationing and made communal living more hectic than ever. Communal apartments meant that several families were all sharing a small kitchen; while one might imagine that communal kitchens provided a space for camaraderie as families happily cooked together, this could not have been farther from the truth. In reality, these communal living spaces functioned as the perfect arena for neighbors to eavesdrop on each other’s conversations, accuse each other of stealing cooking utensils, and even report suspicious activity to the government. Citizens in communal apartments generally used the kitchen as swiftly as possible and retreated to their own rooms to eat (NPR 2014)."

 "In 1936, People’s Commissar of the Soviet food industry Anastas Mikoyan traveled to the United States to research the American food industry. During this time, it was nearly impossible to find anything but the most basic consumer goods in the USSR. While Mikoyan was in America, Soviet factories were just beginning to produce consumer goods instead of heavy industry for the first time, and the Soviet consumer was born. Mikoyan returned with many ideas about what the Soviets could adopt from America that would make life easier, such as prepackaged foods and flash freezing (Von Bremzen 2013, 76-77)."

 "During the 1950s, Nikita Khrushchev’s goal was to return to the concept of single-family flats – even if they were cheaply built with no frills, they gave Soviets privacy and peace of mind. There were many in the government who disagreed with this idea, claiming that when families lived alone, socialism was replaced with bourgeois consumerism (Reid 2002, 242-243). Magazines of the time wrote to women and teenage girls, reminding them that even in a time of demand for consumer goods, they should still be cautious and live a modest lifestyle. Women were targeted more than men when it came to information on consumption (Reid 2002, 248-250)."

 "After Khrushchev’s push for single-family homes, the 60s and 70s, under Leonid Brezhnev, were a booming time for socialization in the kitchen. Kitchen circles were “groups of friends who met in the kitchens of their apartments and led endless conversations about the meaning of creation, art, and politics” (Greenfeld 1992, 23). It was impossible during this time to have political discussion in public, so Soviets took to their kitchens to discuss taboo art, music, and literature, and to vent against “the system.” In these circles, citizens could imagine a life before the Soviet Union based on Russian nationalism and cultural superiority (Greenfeld 1992, 23)."


Important concepts:

  • Five-year plans
  • Full employment
  • Wage-scale
  • Wage-rate
  • Social benefits

No hay comentarios.:

Publicar un comentario

If you have an important question, please e-mail me. These comments are not a reliable form of communication.