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60 The Soviet Lookbok

The Soviet Lookbok

Posted on October 15, 2008 by


Consumer goods in Soviet Russia 1

This is the example of what Soviet Russian citizens could order by mail from their state – the only vendor in the country. It’s no surprise that literary EVERY house in the country had something from those items.

Consumer goods in Soviet Russia 2

Consumer goods in Soviet Russia 3


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60 Responses to “The Soviet Lookbok”

  1. Nick says:

    So… Soviet Homes were furnished a lot like my great grandmother’s house?

  2. Bijdehans says:

    The design looks similar to the European style of the late 60’s, early 70’s, the time of my own childhood. Only the building quality looks somewhat less sturdy but it is still quite a familiar set of objects.

  3. Ximlania says:

    How reliable and easy to use these every day items,produced by peoples government.every soviet citizen was right to watch and see these luxuries.what are the basic needs of common man?vodka and red book of collective works of v i Lenin.even soviet toys were the best in the whole world.like sickles,hammers,chisels,spades,farm machineries and the members of the supreme soviets . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .

    • Bogatyr says:

      Reliable, trustworthy ? No.
      Since there was no quality control other than the State’s own control things often went wrong. Cadmium colored plastics were used for toys and kitchen utensils i.e. These are poisonous, but where could one complain ? Plus the effect was only noticable in the long run. The Soviet state was not really caring about it’s citizens. The arrogance of power, people were again reduced to 19th century serfs. They had no voice. (And still don’t, or are too afraid to speak up)

      And indeed, the aesthetics of Soviet ‘culture’ stopped developing in the 50’s. Many westerners do not realize that i.e. ‘The 60’s’ never happened in the USSR. Youth culture, pop music, rock ‘n roll was hardly known and considered decadent. Household names all over the world, like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, you name it, unheard of in the USSR.

      In many aspects Russians (the generations over 30 years old) are still 50 years behind the rest of the world.

      • Otto says:

        Ya, commies were prohibiting Internet in CCCP.

        60s happened in USSR during 70s, but style still existing in US disappeared completely in late 80s as backwarding.

        Old soviet goods were really reliable before Gorbachev time. 30 years old refrigerators, TVs and washing machines might be obsolete, but still working. My wife as a child in Russia used to repair 25 years old lamp TV herself.

        People in USSR used to be much more independent from media propaganda than you can imagine, but they had no voice in massmedia. Look at mordern russian internet and compare it with western.

      • Mixas says:

        Are you Russian?

  4. Miss India says:

    I’m jealous about all this soviet things

  5. LiraNuna says:

    Just to inform you all that the 2nd image is GAY – because the balls touch!

  6. Johnny says:

    These playthings look very lovely, like they were crafted with a lot of heart and time for the children to be happy. Not like modern toys who are loveless products of some marketing plan in order to gain the best profit!

  7. AndersonBMX says:

    i’ll order a plastic ak47

  8. I wish you would enlarge the text portions of those catalogs so we could read the advertising copy (or at least try to read it).

  9. Samtakoy says:

    Quite frankly, I do not think some of these items were readily available from the catalog. I remember back in the 80’s, my grandfather had to go to some trouble to find a tricycle for my younger brother. I do remember the ping-pong gun, it was cool.

  10. Matthew Carrick says:

    Wringer washers? When was the last time you could order one in the americas?

  11. Ivan Mikahilov says:

    Someone has asked me whether the shown collection of goods is exaustive ;)

  12. Yuri says:

    at least was not made in China and at that time products could live for ever!

  13. Scot says:

    Don’t look that much different to the stuff that I saw back in the 70’s in UK. Except the wringer – that’s 50’s stuff in Bonnie Scotland (for most people).

    Question is – was it in stock? and how long would it take for my exciting wooden castle to arrive?

  14. J Doe says:

    Can anyone guess what “lookbok” in title means?

  15. jambo says:

    The sofa is great!

  16. Heatmiser says:

    I assume they mean “Look Book”. A catalog of things to wish for.

  17. [...] This is the example of what Soviet Russian citizens could order by mail from their state [circa 1983] – the only vendor in the country. It’s no surprise that literary EVERY house in the country had something from those items. see more… [...]

  18. matelot says:

    I will take that red/yellow AK

  19. Jason says:

    Russia has changed a lot.While I was walking through the brand new fancy ultra modern Ikea Mega Mall in ekaterinburg seeing english words on the storefronts it was like I was back in america.They have almost everything we have.The food court was all in russian,Mcdonalds,KFC.And you could purchase a vehicle across the street at the Ford dealership.

  20. Ex_Russian says:

    Man, I remember making smoke bombs from those celluloid rulers ;)

  21. Zafarad! ! ! says:

    you are try to prove the dirty old “myth” about the soviet system,soviet achievements in tech and soviet peaceful society.before the Gorbachev,soviets were at the peak of their whole history! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !.food items,communication,education,health services and even the right to speak about the CPSU! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !.one can`t deny the soviet superiority in the field of science and tech,over his western and US counterpart.let wide open your eyes and speak truth! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! .

    • Zafarad! ! ! says:

      it is very true that Russia back on the road to a world power and the domination!!!!!! Nashi it conducts people it will show way to rewarding corruption and profitable fraud!!! That old Russia could emerge. Again!!!!! And be strongful and power!! !! The AK-$& will not plastic be but STEEL!!!!and spit the bullet in your U ASS head! ! ! !we will rule.AGAIN!!!!!

  22. Roger Kovaciny says:

    North Korea is even MORE progressive. To avoid long lines at food stores, they allow you to order your food by Internet.

    Then they deliver it by television.

  23. erin says:

    yes, i agree. i also wish i could read the language so the prices would make sense to me. very interesting that in 1983 the mangle was still in regular use! wow.

  24. Matt says:

    It seems as if alot of these products, though not as varied as some other places, seem similer to things I have seen here (U.S.)in the past.

  25. Para bellum says:

    Хотя у советской бытовой техники и были проблемы с дизайном, но свои функции выполняли вполне достойно для своего времени ( у меня дома до сих пор стоит такая же стиральная машинка как на левой фотке, и работает до сих пор) и были разработаны, произведены советскими людьми на своей же территории. Сейчас же куда ни глянь один импорт, даже телевизоры наших марок сделаны из азиатских деталей- позорище.

  26. Monks says:

    nice! I remember all these things I had most of them =)

  27. Russians says:

    Let us remind you who saved youк ass in the World WAR II)) Do not blame us for this and look in your countries in the 1960s))) most of the billionaires in the world are Russians)) You are depending on us, as we are mostly selling you Gas, Oil and etc))) Moscow in one of the richest and most developing cities in the world) We were the first who go to space)))

    • Aaron says:

      Moscow?

      Sorry, I thought you were talking about New York, or London, or Paris, or another place in the ‘developed’ world where obesity is a national issue, we struggle to deal with unemployment, strive for affluence and fail to accept that we ourselves in the West (this is presuming you are western) are the even sadder backdrop to the type of socio-ecconomic(sp?) crisis that we’re facing now with this global recession!

      Has it become a case where the rich have become so rich that the poor literally have no money to filter upwards?

      Of course not because thats not the way it quite works, however we cannot dismiss the predictions of those social scietists, those philosophisers and those economists before us, for whom many of which saw the short-falls of unrestricted, uncapped global capitalism; capitalism has its boundaries, and they are defined by the same constraints which define the extents to which we as people can live harmonoisly as a majority.

      If, then, you consider that global, free-market capitalism is — as was once fuedalism — but another step on the road to something better for humanity as a whole, then you can begin to understand that which had been blatently obvious for the past few thousand years; different parts of the world develop at different times, however, the vast majority seem to go through verisimilar stages along their development.

      As such, do not be surprised to see polarised, near-exaggerated examples of recently emerging centres of social change. Much like the digital revolution, its not usually long before somewhere like Japan does it better…

      Finally, consider simple economics as an answer to your statements about the wealth of the average Russian, and your statistic that 12% live on less than $5 a day; because one can afford to shop in Waitrose (premium UK supermarket) does not mean one will forgoe the appeals of Asda. Nor does it mean that those who shop in Tesco’s dream of Marks and Spencers. It’s a matter of preference, of choice; where you shop does not denote how you stand ‘socially’ and if it does, then we are all either playing into what you call the ‘dream of a proleterian’ and attempting to punch above our weight or in fact the opposite of that and attempting somehow in vain to cover our more affluent lifestyles in a bid to stay ‘normal’.

      Of course, I’m sure you’ll find that most of us will shop wherevers closest, and cheapest ;o)

  28. ml says:

    I also remember many of the things.

    I am guessing it is a booklet to showcase what the factories are producing and you definitely did not order from there. The small print also seems to be about descriptions and specifications.

    Each house had them because nothing different was produced anyway.

    The washing mashines were used up until the 90s i think. At least my generation (born in the late 80s) was brought up when there were neihter automated washing machines or disposable diapers… sucked for our mothers.

  29. jason says:

    Soon it will be necessary for the russian federation and the united states to work together!Russia is beond that catalog and the ruble is more than the dollar.The united states is still a world power.There are still many nuclear warheads to launch at each other.I would not want to send Tatiana (my russian wife)back to russia because we could not work together!!!!

  30. Eugene Popov says:

    i had that red & yellow AK-47!!!! :)

    wow, memories from childhood

  31. Daniel says:

    Wow, for 1983, those washing machines are retro, that style went out of fashion in the 50s.

  32. affitto casa says:

    I’ve been reading a few posts and i’m adding your blog to my rss reader , thanks !

  33. CCCP says:

    Sort of reminds me of the Sears catalog, JCPenney catalog, or Woolworth book my grandma used to have. Are you guys saying this was the citizens only option or were there other companies?

  34. Earnest says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the ?Notify me when new comments are added? checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks

  35. Read this comment carefully – it’s not on topic it’s just a little something to give you a smile and say thanks for your hard work on this blog!

    The best things in life aren’t things. :)

  36. Fantastic posting! Lots of good information. Do you mind if I link to you on my website?

  37. Kook TV says:

    thats very gud…

  38. David Levy says:

    If I got that plastic ak 47 when I was a kid I would have been so happy. God dam I still want one .I miss the cccp

  39. really good and i like it,

  40. AliBZ says:

    This was a great story

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