66 How did the Richest Russians become Rich

How did the Richest Russians become Rich

Posted on August 17, 2006 by team


Here I am going to tell you a story of one country. I guess you’ve heard some facts on its past but I am practically sure you don’t know some exact details. So the country in question is USSR, the country which doesn’t exist now, since 1991.

The topic of the article is connected with richness, but it’s impossible to understand the roots of the problem if not to make a little digression and to learn some facts about USSR. The main thing I want to point your attention at was a fact that in USSR there was no right for private property for individuals. This might seem unbelievable but it’s true. Nobody was allowed to own things greater than his toothbrush or tv-set. Just stop for a second and try to imagine if all the things that you are got used to would become impossible for you to own. You can’t own your house or apartment (apartments in USSR were just registered for a person’s name but belonged to the state). You don’t own your property so you can’t sell it and buy new, you can’t just sell it and get money for it! In USSR nobody could buy a property for himself, property was assigned to a person or to a family by a decision of a local branch of Communist party. And more than that you are not allowed to start a business and to own the things connected with business – you can’t have a shop, a warehouse, a service company, actually only state could own any companies. Tell me, but please honestly, can you imagine yourself living in such a place?


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If you can’t imagine, then I’ll try to give some more clues how did people live. Many of people that were living during that times don’t have bad memories. You would wonder, how comes? I can explain, they got used to such a life from their birth. If you never knew that you can have more than you already have then probably you won’t desire or regret about this.

All the information, regarding the life abroad of USSR was restricted. If some information appeared – it was totally censored and was limited to criticizing “evil capitalism”. There were even no mass media that you could get information from. Remember, nobody was allowed to own a business? So there were no private TV or radio stations, or not even private newspapers.  The number of TV channels were limited to two, yes two. Till the end of 80s people were getting only two TV channels and both of them of course were belonging to the state. Just imagine for a while you have two TV channels? What shows did they have on those two channels? No shows at all. These were governmental channels, only Soviet movies, Soviet singers, some Soviet educational programs and Soviet news. That’s all.

How about newspapers? Could people freely subscribe to newspapers and magazines they desired? Yes they could unless this newspaper or magazine is of a Soviet origin.  People couldn’t have a right on getting newspapers from other countries. And Soviet papers had some weird names like “Red Star”, “Lenin’s Truth”, “Soviet Russia” etc. Remember that “iron curtain” term? That’s where it comes from.

More than that people couldn’t buy cars freely. There were no retail shops selling cars. You could get a special entry to a queue of around a few thousands of people before you. And then you had to wait a few years, or maybe more than 10 years to get your turn to spend your money on buying a car for yourself.

Was there something worth of living you might ask? Or it was really so bad bad bad? I can’t answer this question, because as I told you already there are numerous people, the old people, who now are nostalgic about that period in their life. What did they like there? I just can imagine a few things. First, you didn’t have to pay anything for your health support. No health insurances, no paid doctors, no need to save money for your new teeth. Everything is paid by government for you. You could visit any doctor in any part of Soviet state for free. You could live a whole life and don’t pay a penny for your health. Or how about going to college for free? Any high school student who graduated could go to a college, university or institute of his choice totally for free, of course if his knowledge level corresponded. Another thing – there were no poor people in terms of living on the street eating from trash bins and burning fires to warm themselves. Because all people were obliged to work and all jobs were in the hands of the state everybody worked and also because as I mentioned all the apartments belonged to the state – everybody had a place to live. But in general all the people, except top management of the Communist party, top scientists, top military man and other tops were poor if to compare with a middle class of any European country for that period of time. And that’s probably all of the positive that I could spot in the Soviet system from a first sight. Oh I forgot, people were even not allowed to travel abroad. Those who traveled were under strict control of KGB or intelligence service, just as well as all the foreigners that were allowed to pay a visit to a Soviet state.

Ok, and in the end of 80s the Soviet state collapsed. We won’t here touch all the reasons why, but mainly the reason was just because the system itself couldn’t any more support the citizens so the citizens were given a freedom. So the private property appeared and just imagine you lived your whole life without even knowing that you can buy things bigger than a bicycle, that you can own flats, houses or even factories and now you can. Of course 99% of people were shocked and helpless. 99% of people older than 40 couldn’t find themselves in the new situation.

But there were two groups of people who began acquiring the new horizons fast fast fast. First it was the former leaders of communist party from different levels (city leaders. Regional leaders and of course federal leaders). They all had knew necessary people, knew many ways in and out and most of them succeeded in becoming capitalists. How pathetic. And another group – it were a younger people, who could fast rearrange their inner system of beliefs for a new reality and start getting benefits of it fast.

So that was a situation in the country at the beginning of the 90s – a facresh class of young capitalists appeared, doing regular stuff – selling, buying, offering services and lying. And here we approach the most important event. The even that allowed a few people become the richest people in the world.

That event occurred when the Russian government decided that they can’t maintain all that property they had. Most of the factories, plants, commercial property was abandoned due to inability of the state government at that time to pay salaries. Many huge loans were taken from Worldbank and other foreign structures but they also couldn’t cover the needs. So at that time the government made a decision which became a goldmine for all those whose names you can meet on TV screens, with “Richest Russian” titles. The government decided to sell everything it has owned. Now, just imagine, the country where nobody had a right for a private property, has build thousands of world greatest factories, plants and other objects that can shock imagination. Those objects belonged to “everybody” formally, and belonged to the state actually.

The greatest factories producing steel, oil, mineral fertilizers etc etc were sold for a small group of people who were close to elite for prices hundreds times less their actual market price. The scheme was simple – the governmental clerk who for example sells a plant – he actually is not supposed to get anything from this act himself, he is acting on behalf of the state. But a guy who is going to buy comes to him and tells “I am giving you 1 million dollars in cash now, and tomorrow you make me a paper that I am now the owner of the great steel factory worth of $100M for another $1M.”. And practically all the deals were conducted in such a way. The main condition there was to have an acquaintance  with a clerk who was in charge in selling this or that property on behalf of the state. Those clerks actually robbed the Russian state for billions of dollars.

So these was a way how the “Richest Russian People” became rich. They got all their great capitals from buying properties that belonged to Soviet people from a state for a low low price. And most of the Russian people now hate them. They understand that the state they live in was totally corrupted at the moment when this privatization happened, and stays totally corrupted now, when all the power in the country is warmed with the money of those who made the privatization deals earlier.

Probably you have heard a story of imprisonment of the Russia richest person Mikhail Khodorkovsky. All the polls in Russia show that most people don’t sympathize or feel any regret for such “unlawful act” as it is often being positioned in Western media. Why? Just because they know that he is actually a criminal as well as other “Richest People” because every man in Russia knows how all those people earned their capital. The process that took hundreds and hundreds years in the civilized countries took just a few years in Russia. Just imagine.

Timofey Kiselev

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66 Responses to “How did the Richest Russians become Rich”

  1. Kevin says:

    I have a question: where did the rich get the money to buy the factories, etc. that were being sold off (even at reduced prices)? thanks.

    • Acronyms says:

      You didn’t need to much money for this. Also at initail stage of capitalism in Russia people were making really good money from selling virtually anything.

      • CanCorp says:

        Timofey Kiselev cannot be the real name with such a fallacy description of communism, there was no luxury but an apartment was without a mortgage, free education and health, unemployment inexistant no need for a high salary, In USA basic education is now nintendo type war games and internet porn, drug and firearms cheap, was not like that in USSR, corruption is legal in USA under the name of lobbeying,HOW the communist system collapsed, when the financial adviser of Reagan discovered how the system financed itself, With the help of the Saudis they turned it bankrupt knowing Oil was USSR main export to get foreing currencies, then agents of the NED (nationalEndowmentForDemocracy) corrupted the highest ranking officers of USSR telling them how to get rich quick by appropriating for their own pocket the resourses of the country

  2. News service says:

    There was a period of time between people got a commercial freed (1985-1986) and the start of privatization (1993-1994), during this time as it is mentioned in the article, groups of people manage to make some capitals with some traditional means, miserable in comparisson with billions they managed to achieve due privatizion. Also there appeared a possibility for taking bank loans, and a person having a good relationship with a privatization clerk could take a loan, pay the reduced price for a factory and year later sell the factory at 10x price for some foreign investor gaining a remarkable growth on the lown taken.
    Foreign investors themselves were mostly deprived of such “business” possibilities because “right relations” was a key feature in Russian privatization event.

  3. [...] As we mentioned before in the article “How the richest Russians became rich” at that time there were practicaly no people who earned a lot and could afford such hardware for personal use. It was mainly produced for larger industrial factory engineers so that they could carry it along with them and plug to the larger machines they operated. [...]

  4. [...] People in Russia who became rich very fast ready to spend hundreds of thousands dollars on the top luxury cars. Moscow is the most populated with expensive cars city in Europe. You can meet them practically on every corner of Moscow downtown. Visitors from Europe say that Moscow is the only city in Europe where you can meet two or three cars worth of more than $200k each at once in one street or standing at one traffic light. [...]

  5. Azrul Hisyam says:

    I have a question. Did Roman Abramovich gain his wealth by these means too? If he did, will he suffer the same fate as Mikhail Khodorkovsky?

    • Acronyms says:

      Means are the same. But he will not suffer because he is smart enough to share his earnings with corrupted politicians.

    • CanCorp says:

      Khodorkovsky appropriated for his own pocket the oil resourses of Russia but wanted to sell nearly half of the Lukos shares to foreign multinationals, this is when V.Putin decided to put him aside and make the other oligarcs think twice. In USA history, starting with the civil war, the north (now democrats) and south (now republicans) never agreed, All the Oil production and Armament factories are in the South, and the republican party or TexanMafia is financed by Multinationals, so after eight years of democrats power, republicans take power for the next eight or so years,then There is war worldwide in small defenceless countries cause Halliburton and such companies makes billions with war, agents are sent to install trouble, after they send guys like Sorros to take control of the economy like in Ukraine with the “so democratic” orange revolution.

    • Austlia says:

      Khodorkovsky appropriated for his own pocket the oil resourses of Russia but wanted to sell nearly half of the Lukos shares to foreign multinationals, this is when V.Putin decided to put him aside and make the other oligarcs think twice. In USA history, starting with the civil war, the north (now democrats) and south (now republicans) never agreed, All the Oil production and Armament factories are in the South, and the republican party or TexanMafia is financed by Multinationals, so after eight years of democrats power, republicans take power for the next eight or so years,then There is war worldwide in small defenceless countries cause Halliburton and such companies makes billions with war, agents are sent to install trouble, after they send guys like Sorros to take control of the economy like in Ukraine with the “so democratic” orange revolution.

      • Trucky says:

        In Russia the salaries were not paid on time in the corrupted Yeltsin era who helped USA (Reagan era)and the Saudis to destroy USSR by keeping Oil prices very low for two years which was the main USSR export, and blocking the bank transfers of the five European banks owned by Russia, then the Oligarchs helped by Yeltsin corrupted the system by privatizing the resourses of the country for their own profits the US way

  6. Azrul Hisyam says:

    Oh by the way, nice website you have here. Interesting read indeed. I will keep coming back regularly :-)

  7. Home loan says:

    Hello, Thought I’d enter something, because your site like for me. Great Blog!

  8. sven says:

    you are not really correct about ownership. i lived in my shildhood in soviet russia (not in soviet and not in russia anymore, thank lord) and i think i can tell.

    1) it is true that most apartments were owned by state, but people were allowed to own property. my grandma had a house. and my father and grandfather had cars etc. people were not allowed to own land under the property, though.

    2) you were allowed to do small business, but you could not hire anybody. so, if you made brooms in your garage or grew tomatoes, you were allowed to sell it on the market (not to the shops or shop-chains, but directly to the people). people made a living quite often that way. but if you hired somebody to help with your brooms or tomatoes, you were instantly charged as a criminal.

  9. sven says:

    and answering some questions asked by commentators here: yes, 99,999% of new rich in russia obtained their initial money in illegal and/or unethical way.

    so yes, abramovich and khodorkovsky and anybody you can name can be put to charge, but proof is wery hard to find today. it is a mater of loyalty to putin that matters now, not fulfilling the law.

    • Siberlea says:

      Illegal or unethical way, in USA corruption is legal, they call it Lobbeying, and CheneyBushHalliburtonRockefeller team or TexanMafia knows all the tricks, they now control the three most important riches worldwide, Oil Drug and Armament traficking (Afghanistan’s main export is now drug) all Armament manufacturers are in Soutern US, republican territory, CheneyBush have shares in most of these companies

  10. sven says:

    third comment :)
    in case you might wonder where i live, then it is estonia, thankfully not occupied by russia anymore.

  11. Vegas Vic says:

    Actually, if you look into fortunes in many countries, the USA included, you will find that they stem from government money.

    Microsoft’s largest customer was the US government. EDS (Ross Perot) biggest customer was the US gvt. Back in the day, IBM and GM. In fact, 9 of the top 10 fastest growing companies in the US today are all direct government contractors.

    And that’s before we even consider the cattle, oil, timber and mineral companies who are allowed to use public land for ammounts like $1/acre and other such scams.

  12. Ella Bukchin says:

    You know, if compare to China communist’s regime, we lived better life than people in China.
    Yes, everything belonged to Communist’s party, people could not own houses, cars, because they were very expensive, and salaries – very low.
    But I should tell, that education was for free, medical services were free, kindergardens were free. Women were sitting home with children after child’s birth and goverment paid money until child become 1,5 years old. There was given vacation trips (which were 24 – 30 days)by trade union to working people and was paid off by it.
    People always remember only bad things. I should tell, that in Soviet Union was many advantages. With the lack of laxury, Patriotism was a high value.

  13. Steve Mc says:

    A very fascinating read – thanks for publishing this, and the contents elsewhere on the site.

    With regard to this article, I find it very interesting to learn about the principles and ways of life in communist countries without having to interpret ultra-political text.

    I can understand the repressive nature of such situations, however growing up experiencing the trends of capitalism in the west, I can’t ehlp but think there was potential in at least some of the thought behind communism.
    Maybe some say we’ll strike a balance, rather than consuming ourselves to oblivion…

  14. HalfHuman says:

    indee a fascinating read.

    i am from romania. for those of u who do not know it is very close to russia and we recived over time many influences from russia and even the lifestyle. yes we are the ones with a 20mil population that is addering to the european union along with bulgaria. we also had free medical care, free school, vacation trips paid by the party and most of other stuff the russians had. we even had bright scientist minds and two tv station.

    now we sell our bright minds to the civilized conuntries, go work abroad to work for little money, little for people where they work for but much for local standards. some go working hard, some stealing, some go prostitute, some go pick strwaberrys in spain etc etc. italians say there are a milion romanian people in their country but i believe there are more. we are a very resourceful nation much like russians. :)

    what amazes me is that my theory about romanian rich people is at last confirmed. the ones who got stinkin rich were the party people who knew the right people, who knew what was happening in other places and were able to buy factories and lands for almost nothing (and are still doing that). there are fast growing businesses that work for government that are run by politicians and their relatives. thank u for this site.

  15. anonvisitor says:

    Burocrats become the new bourgeoisie, just as Trotsky predicted in the 30’s in “Revolution Betrayed”.

  16. nicholas says:

    Trotsky would have said that anyway after he was ousted from the Soviet Union. Trotsky wanted to prove that the USSR wouldn’t make it through the war under Stalin’s leadership. He wrongly anticipated that the soviet state would collapse in or after the ww2, which is certainly not the case. Applying a mistaken theory 50 years after its conception is dogmatism. I think we need to consider other explanations for the collapse of the USSR as Trotskist thought is extremely unreliable.

  17. Hamish says:

    Sure Trotsky would have said that, but Lenin himself said that if ‘unless the revolution spreads world wide the new Soviet state is doomed.’ I think what is remarkable is the fact it survived so long, and its collapse has been a disaster for all people living in the CIS (bar the one 1% of millionars). Sure there were human rights issues, but it transformed a starving backward nation into one comparable with the richest nations (better literacy than the US and first man in space), and lived in a world hostile to its very existance.
    The middle classes of the west are wealthy because of the poorest people in the world, the sweat shops and coffee plantations generate the wealth of commodities in the west, and that kind of unethical profitering is protected with the same brutality as socialism was in the USSR, if not more. Indeed Hitler and Mussolini were put into power by corporations, as were the south American dictators of the 70s & 80s. The loss of the USSR is a loss to humanity. I think our future looks dark without it….rampant corporate profiteering protected by US muscle, and the free market with all its foot soldiers WTO & IMF imprisoning the majority of the worlds population to lifelong toil. There was no abuse of that kind in the Soviet Union.
    If we brought the people who prop up western wealth into our own citys and towns we would see crystalised, horrific poverty and violence and the disparity in number between the millions of poor and the few wealthy would look something like the class devide pre-Russion revolution serf-aristocrat. What the Soviet Union achieved was breathtaking, and its collapse hasnt proved the faliure of Communism but the faliure of capitalism to benifit the majority of its particpents, which it cant do, and is not designed to do.
    http://www.theyesmen.com

    • Siberlea says:

      In USSR the commusist system was not perfect of course but was a lot more efficient than the capitalist imperialist dictature of the US is, corruption is legal under the name of lobbeying and speculation and the illegal BushCheney dictatorship, communism is for the community, so is socialism, capitalism is for the good of a few superrich and a majority of underpaid workers, this is why the middle class is disappearing in US

  18. Anna says:

    I could not read this ravings of a madman til the end, just stopped at the first paragraph. The author is a bloody liar or a great dreamer. People in USSR _WERE_ allowed to have property!!! They could have a house, a flat, a car, a summer residence! They could sell it or to handed down to the children.

  19. Anna says:

    …to hand down to the children

    • eliyahu says:

      Anna, I have seen your replies – you hit the point most of the time, just wanted to tell you it seems that it’s now possible to reply directly for the topic in question using ‘reply to this comment’ link.

  20. Zilch says:

    “The middle classes of the west are wealthy because of the poorest people in the world, the sweat shops and coffee plantations generate the wealth of commodities in the west, and that kind of unethical profitering is protected with the same brutality as socialism was in the USSR, if not more. Indeed Hitler and Mussolini were put into power by corporations, as were the south American dictators of the 70s & 80s.”

    OMG…
    all that typed on a computer gained from the heartless exploitation of Chinese worker.

  21. juan david says:

    HI, i just wanted you to know that from my country colombia i was really curious about the way some russians became the richest men in the world in such a short time, and your article explained it to me very well, also you are very rigth about efromovich and why his not going to jail, he was smart enough to share with corrupte politicians, few men are smart enough to come up with great business ideas… the mayority get rich just playing dirty, great article. bye!!

  22. Jay says:

    Hi,
    You’ve enlightened me as to how so many Russian people became so rich. It was very interesting reading as I offer a very private service in very private Swiss bank accounts.
    Thank you.

  23. Jay says:

    Hi,
    You’ve enlightened me as to how so many Russian people became so rich. It was very interesting reading as I offer a very private service in very private Swiss bank accounts. Anyone interested can contact me.
    Thank you.


  24. Samuel says:

    I was born and grew up in USSR and now I live in USA. I was 24 years old when we moved, so I’ve seen and lived the Socializm. You Americans and people like you are very very much wrong about the lifestyle in USSR. We had everithing that we needed in that country, and we personally owned everithing. We lived in the Government owned apartments, and we had a single family house that we built up from scratch. Do you, americans, own anything? No, not untill you pay off your mortgage or any loan that you loned to buy your car or house, your furniture or your diploma.And thoes loans can be paid forever. THE FINANCE COMPANIES OWN everithing you have in your possetion and they even own you.You don’t have money in this country you are nobody, you can’t even go get a college degree even if you are a smart kid. People here if don’t pay their house or apartment rent, they get kiked out of their home, if you don’t pay your utility bill they get cut off immedietely regardless you are sick or have a newborn.

    • Ken says:

      I am very interested to know more on how social life was like during the old soviet union era. For example what did the young people do on the weekends? Also is it true the society then had a big problem with alcohol abuse ?

      • Trucky says:

        COMMUNISM (cooperatives for the community)or the resources used by and for the community, SOCIALISM for the Society. there cannot be Communisn without totalitarism or Socialism without solidarity, HOW COULD AN IGNORANT UNEDUCATED AMERICAN UNDERSTAND THIS(basic education in america being nintendo-type war games and internet porn) these were not permitted in Russia where education and healthcare were free and unemployment rate was zero. Young Americans did not even know who was Karl Marx(maybe they knew about Groucho Marx instead) Anything Social in America is called CHARITY. They do not know either about the law of Sarkar on Social cycles being the world run alternatively by the Intellectuals, the Military, the Laborers and the Accumulators. Do not know either that the greatest Economist after Marx was John Meynard Keynes now replaced by James Tobin, Jeffrey Sachs and Amartya Sen.

    • Natalie says:

      A lot of Americans own things that they earned by working and saving their earnings. The people who are “owned” by the loan companies are the people who knowingly used credit to buy things they couldn’t afford. Perhaps they could afford to buy a Honda and pay in full, no loan. Instead, they chose a loan with crazy interest to get a Mercedes. That’s just bad judgment. But millions of Americans own their homes, own their cars, and pay cash to own something freely with no strings attached. The idea is that you work to earn your living and then buy what you want with what you earned. If you don’t work, no, the electric company isn’t going to give you power for free. So work if you want something.

      Also, anyone can get a college degree. No, everyone can’t get into Harvard. But there are tons of colleges and community colleges and state public universities. AND students can get Pell grants for school that are not loans. They don’t have to be paid back. If they are academic achievers, they can get scholarships. And there are always work-study programs.

  25. Samuel says:

    This is a continuation. Meybe we didn’t live or have all the luxury things you people have here,but we lived the best live, people respected each other, helped each other. We had best and free education, best and free helth care. We didn’t have police in our schools, we didn’t have shootings in our schools or colleges. We didn’t have our children kiddnapped, raped, and murdered by the neighbors or someone else. Theses are and there more other things that are important, who gives a damn if I live in a miilion dollar mantion or driving a Rolls Roys, if I can’t live in a piece or you don’t know your child is safe in the school or at home slipping. We live in a fear and danger. Our government wouldn’t kill its own people just because they want a one gallon oil more. Or take revenge for his father who lost the war in Iraq. This America is most dangerous and undemocratic country someone can live in. You spray big Propaganda about free speech, free TV, free Press. I can bring a lots of examples that all those propagandas are lies. One very big example is that DAN RATHER got fired over the comments that he made about your president Bush’s militari background. Your news and media broadcasts things that your polititians want you to know not the whole truth.So, the polititians and government controll in every country of the world, so you don’t have to pick on some countries and don’t talk about yours.

  26. NOmad says:

    Well, I see now how the discussion on this story went to comparing Western lifestyle to Soviet lifestyle. I don’t use a phrase “Capitalism vs Communism” since neither of the countries discussed (mostly USA and USSR) were the pure forms of each of the economic/political forms described by such terms. So hence I am adding to this discussion. :)
    I personally think that it’s all about propaganda. Winners rewrite history the way they like it.
    Thus Soviet Union is now portrayed as a human-oppressing machine with no human rights such as freedom of speech, etc.
    But look – how do people in USA and most other wester countries use their freedom of speech? Government is behind everything, filtering news, legally recording the phone conversations, etc. They only know what they are told by the news channels or those TV-show hosts. It’s not much different from the USSR – everything is censored, it’s just that they more channels that brain-wash them and this propagandist brainwashing is much more stealthy and less visible, which makes it even more dangerous.
    Most people use their freedom of speech to write all kinds of dirty materials. And as long as they don’t write it about their own governments it’s perfectly OK.
    Moreover, this so-called freedom of speech is just a bluff. You can’t use a great deals of words since they are not politically correct.
    You are not so free in even hiring your employees. You’ve got to employ some people of ethnic or racial minorities – otherwise you’d be sued.
    And, as it was stated before, most of the property USA citizens have does not really belong to them since it’s really the property of the financial organizations.
    Democracy that’s forced upon other people as the only right way is no longer a true democracy but just a piece of propaganda.
    And in the USSR we have had much more of what most western people lack now. People were much more conscious about what’s right and what’s wrong. Along with all the merits mentioned by the people above we were much more aware of the outside world. Just ask 10 people on the street in the States where Iraq is. Most don’t even know. They don’t care what does their government do as long as they have a new car to drive, a nice (or not so nice) house to live in and a delicious dinner to eat. And they don’t even want to know about their own fellow citizens that are less fortunate then they are. Poor people are forced to get to ghettos. They are mostly out of sight of those who have had a better luck in life – born in richer families, sold more cocaine and stuff.
    Oh, and by the way, there were not as many drug addicts in the USSR as there are now.
    The main great thing about the USSR was that people did not fear of what tommorrow’s going to hold. They knew that if they work they will not be fired, they will have an apartment to live in and food to eat.
    They let their children play in the courtyards all by themselves without having to worry about them – no one was going to kidnap or rape them. The crime rate was much lower.
    In this aspect I admire Japan a lot – they’ve also managed to practically put everyone in their country on the same economic level and their crime rate is extremely low.
    When you know that your neighbor earns about as much money as you do taken that he/she works as hard, you don’t have to envy that person. Since people are naturally evil they’d envy everyone that’s even a bit more fortunate than they are. So forcefully leveling everyone out IMHO is a great idea that makes people a little better.
    Open to discussion.

  27. acc says:

    i have 200 tv channels surely one of them is telling the truth

  28. FSWAD says:

    OK so can someone tell me were these rich russians live around moscow? wat parts

  29. Verena says:

    It seems like the majority of Russian people get confused when they say about FREE education, FREE health care, FREE property during Soviet Union Regime. Dear dreamers, please get one thing: nothing was free in Soviet Union. It was you who paid for “free” stuff there. You! Not Government! Government owned every factory, plant, farm … Russian people had ridiculously small salary; Government got all profits, even from selling out natural recourses. Soviet Union Government paid for education, health care, apartments – but it was Russian people’s money in anyway! That was money which each of Russian deserved to get back!

  30. Dmitriy says:

    So may be we paid as you say ( but it was Russian people’s money in anyway..) but we get all 100% fings which we paid for =/ + peace in all country and no drugs!
    You could raise your children and not worry that they will become drug users !

  31. Kroni says:

    Here in Argentina happens the same… few people is very rich thanks to sucking from the gov and the $ that belongs to the people… :(

    • Trucky says:

      In ARGENTINA one of the presidents (named Mennem or something) decided to sell all Government owned resources companies (meaning paid by the citizens) including Oil refineries to foreing Multinational companies and turned the local Economy and companies Bankrupt.

  32. Carrie Anne says:

    I sell luxury and up scale real estate in Spain. Russians like the type of housing that we sell. I would like to sell to more Russians. It is probably very therapeutic for them to be able to buy and own property. I would like to help them in this endeavour-where can I find more of these rich russians who need property therapy?

  33. Ken says:

    Any one of you native Russians interested in helping me learn to speak Russian!?

  34. Starlight656 says:

    Why is it so damn bad for you not to OWN anything? You write about USSR being some kind of hell because you can’t earn stuffs.
    Do you really believe your happiness will come with owning the most things possible?
    I’m not saying USSR was heaven but it most certainly had good parts!
    Stop thinking narrowmindedly, capitalism is not a great thing either. At least, communism came out of “good spirit”, wishing everybody would succeed in their life, all together, it was a nice thought. Unfortunately it turned out to be just another good idea, badly executed.

    • Natalie says:

      I think in an ideal world it wouldn’t matter, but in real life, I would be worried about living somewhere that wasn’t mine, where the government could kick me out if I didn’t follow the party line, where someone else decided where I would live, how it would be built, what food was available in stores, all of that. It just sounds frightening. The healthcare would be nice. But I don’t want some government bureaucrat deciding if I have a place to live. I’d rather just get my own place.

      • Vadim says:

        I think you don’t get it Natalie – nobody was ever kicked out. There also was no party line to be followed. The rhetoric was just that – rhetoric. Some limited indoctrinational activities were sometimes performed in school, but as an adult you pretty much lived your own life just like everywhere else.
        Was there certain censorship? Yes there was. Some of it was destructive and silly (high budget artistic productions had to have the scripts approved by ideologues). But a lot of the censorship actually contributed to general social welfare as, for example, ban on celebration of violence (this almost gloating present everywhere in the media today) made people behave better towards each other in real life.

  35. Rhonda says:

    everyone forgets…every country is like USA/former USSR-wether its don’t being able to own “stuff” or owning to mucg “stuff”…..it was just a way to keep everyone distracted from what the government(s) were really doing….maybe we should rename the Space Race to Getting Stuff Race? anyway, I like the site. I think education,health care, and child/adult (grandparents) care should be free around the world. what we need is a global unifaction.

    p.s. if the state owned all the housing (houses,flats) could you decorate (paint the walls, etc.) any color you wanted? and did you pay the state to live in the flats or were they free too?

    • Vadim says:

      The flats were free. Because the flats were not being built fast enough due to lack of resources people enrolled themselves into waiting lists (Priority was given to couples with children and to the elderly). When your turn came you were provided the flat (you had some limited choice regarding where to live and at which floor) – it became yours for all eternity and also completely inheritable. From then on you could decorate it any way you wanted. However practically this was not so easy as the stores had very limited variety in décor and furniture they could offer.
      Now this might seem not particularly comfortable, but keep in mind that pre-revolution almost no new housing projects were being built and only the rich elite lived in palaces or lavish houses and apartments, while the vast majority of the population rotted away in slums/shanty towns.

  36. Jeffery Haas says:

    Two true stories about Americans who worked their way to small fortunes during privatization in USSR:

    1) Club Adobe. This was a little known punk/new wave music group in the Southern California area that got invited to do a tour in several Russian cities, including sixteen dates in and around Vladivostok. They took their money and sunk it into a tape cassette factory and decided to stay in Russia, now that they had a built-in manufacturing and distribution outlet.

    2) American-Russian Television.
    This was a small Russian language TV production company located in West Hollywood.
    During the collapse they brought over fifty cases of blank broadcast videocassettes and traded them to Ostankino, who were running out of tape.
    Ostankino officials arranged deal with Melodia record plant to trade several thousand copies of Paul McCartney yellow label Melodia release of his album “Back In The USSR”.
    (The Russian Album).
    The arrival of several thousand copies of this Russian album in the USA precipitated the albums eventual international release, but as a new pressing, with two extra songs added and the ORANGE label instead of the yellow one.
    Copies of the yellow label record were fetching as much as $250 US prior to the deal, but even afterward it was still possible to sell this rare item for as much as $100.

  37. Grigori says:

    The property existed – people owned houses like villas, cars and other things. Very few people, but they existed and were hiding this property.

    The medicine was not free, never.
    One should pay doctors directly with cash or presents to get satisfactorily service.

    Bribes were the real economy.

  38. Atreidex says:

    same in Romania and other former communist countries.
    bribes and lying everywhere.

  39. Alun says:

    I can see why people liked life in the Soviet Union, free health care, welfare etc. but we have all of those here in the UK along with a higher standard of living and more freedom.

    One of the points that often gets raised is that the Soviet system was more efficient because everyone had a job. In reality this was far from true. The Soviet system was really inefficient because the government invented unnecessary jobs for people just to give them something to do. This resulted in overemployment which was arguably much worse because it was a hidden problem which drained the economy.

    The Soviet system was ideal for lazy people with no ambition. Many people didn’t do much work, at work they could drink vodka and play cards because their job only existed to give them something to do. The problem of lazyness still persits in modern day Ukraine (I’d assume this is true for Russia to but I’ve never been there), too many people are used to the state doing everything for them which is still holding back the economy.

    Under the Soviet system the state told you were you shall live, what you do for a living and even what to think. People had very little freedom, the law protected the sate from the people, not people from each other and the state. If you were even so much of accused of disagreeing with the government then you could face, prision, hard labour.

    The Soviet system was doomed to failure because removed competiton which is the driving force for improvement of living standards in any society. No one is going to work harder when they’ll still get payed the same as their neighbour who does the bare minimum.

    Communism doesn’t always result in totalitarianism, Israeli Kibbutzism was probably the most extreme form of communism practised but it was completely democratic. It was also economically ineffcient and relied on state handouts. Gradually the Kibuyz movement declined and was replaed by capitalism. Like the Soviet system it attempted to remove competition which lead to its demise.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibutz

    Another thinkg modern Russia is not a true democracy. A lot of the old Soviet government remain in power, e.g. prim-minister Putin is a former KGB officer controls still remain in place on freedom of speech and the medea.

    • Wenceslao futanaki says:

      meeh english empire is the worst along with america, theyve done the worst bad in the planet.
      If you have something in england is because the queen empire stole it with wars and occupation. Never forget that.

      Neither communism or capitalism are good, we need to be more creative than that.

  40. Alun says:

    I can see why people liked life in the Soviet Union, free health care, welfare etc. but we have all of those here in the UK along with a higher standard of living and more freedom.

    One of the points that often gets raised is that the Soviet system was more efficient because everyone had a job. In reality this was far from true. The Soviet system was really inefficient because the government invented unnecessary jobs for people just to give them something to do. This resulted in overemployment which was arguably much worse because it was a hidden problem which drained the economy.

    The Soviet system was ideal for lazy people with no ambition. Many people didn’t do much work, at work they could drink vodka and play cards because their job only existed to give them something to do. The problem of lazyness still persits in modern day Ukraine (I’d assume this is true for Russia to but I’ve never been there), too many people are used to the state doing everything for them which is still holding back the economy.

    Under the Soviet system the state told you were you shall live, what you do for a living and even what to think. People had very little freedom, the law protected the sate from the people, not people from each other and the state. If you were even so much of accused of disagreeing with the government then you could face, prision, hard labour.

    The Soviet system was doomed to failure because removed competiton which is the driving force for improvement of living standards in any society. No one is going to work harder when they’ll still get payed the same as their neighbour who does the bare minimum.

    Communism doesn’t always result in totalitarianism, Israeli Kibbutzism was probably the most extreme form of communism practised but it was completely democratic. It was also economically ineffcient and relied on state handouts. Gradually the Kibuyz movement declined and was replaed by capitalism. Like the Soviet system it attempted to remove competition which lead to its demise.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibutz

    Another thing modern Russia is not a true democracy. A lot of the old Soviet government remain in power, e.g. prim-minister Putin is a former KGB officer controls still remain in place on freedom of speech and the medea.

  41. Seems like russia is a very corrupt country. Keep on posting more interesting articles

  42. david smith says:

    i don’t think u know what u’re talking about

  43. Just thought i would comment and say neat design, did you code it yourself? Looks great. If you wishto exchange the links with us please let me know.

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