25 Soviet Urban Legends

Soviet Urban Legends

Posted on April 26, 2010 by team


Here are the legends that used to exist in the USSR...

Across the network:

1. Metro. Doors are about to close. A civilized person - in a tie, indispensable detail - wants to get in, the doors are closing and his head is already in the subway car and stuck in the doors and the rest of the body is still on the platform. He looks sadly at those who are in and says in the fallen silence - "That's great! F*** underground!"

2. Kvass trailer tank. A kvass trailer tank turned over (usually in an accident) - and on its bottom were giant gentles (cestodes, another alternative - a corpse).


3. Foreigners - wreckers. They gave Soviet children sweets (or chewing gum) infected by tuberculosis or syphilis (alternative: farced with needles or pieces of razor blades, more exotic alternative: farced with baleen). Probably this legend was told by grannies for educational reasons in order children wouldn't take anything from strangers.


Instead of foreigners might be prisoners, they left bandages with tuberculosis phlegm in the playgrounds.

4.  Foreigners sold black marketeers jeans infected by syphilis. The last ones sold them to unwitting fellow citizens. Usually on the back seam there was a package with flea (lice) scaring poor people at first jeans wash.


Across the network:

25 Responses to “Soviet Urban Legends”

  1. Mario says:

    The first time first :P

  2. Tanuki-- says:

    The bromide in soldiers food to inhibit sexual urges while at service seems to be a pretty international urban myth. Other on this site, just wow -so much reflection of aspects that can’t be described by words of soviet culture.

    In Finland there’s a version of the bromide myth that a dessert sometimes served at barrack lunchs is bromide laced, it commonly known as brake kissel for that. Myth states that this is always served before weekend-offs, so rookies wouldn’t rave too furiously and so decry a Finnish soldier.

  3. Nom_de_Guerre says:

    I have to say the bizarre sentence formation made this post even better and more surreal.

  4. Unknown says:

    Great stuff!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, but when are you going to learn English, English Russia?

  6. Cracker says:

    Great stuff. In the 1970’s we had a myth like #3. When we were kids we all knew about the drug addicts that put razor blades into apples and handed them out to kids on Halloween. (Sometimes they put overdoses of LSD into the apples). So when we got apples instead of candy we would throw them at the houses of the people that gave them to us because we knew they were trying to kill us – SICKOS! There was never any truth to this and these people were probably just trying to offer us something healthy.

  7. Swede says:

    Party lines were no myth, perhaps just for Moscow. Everyone used them in the 80-90’s, and they gave birth to the phreaking culture.

  8. rofdb says:

    if you like this kind of stuff you should see “Tales From The Golden Age”, the romanian movie. Here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq366VCmS2c

  9. w says:

    Webmaster steals blog entries and translates them with babelfish

  10. Unknown says:

    I don’t get some of them. >.O

  11. perristalsis says:

    In every rumor, just a bit of plausibility makes it an accepted fact, as in #23, the Japanese used shipping boxes that contained glasses for furniture; Henry Ford purchased transmissions for his early cars and ordered they be packed in wooden crates of specific dimensions. The crates were then disassembled and used as floorboards in certain models, it was almost like getting a floor for free.

  12. Cam says:

    Oi. That one about sausage rolls and pasties? That’s not a Soviet thing, that’s a sausage rolls and pasties (pies, really, but whatever) thing. :)

  13. kuba says:

    uranium mines are no urban legend, they were very real. Also they were not for people sentenced to death, but for political prisoners.

    • Bryan Adams says:

      Yes, I am not even from Russia and I have known this from my childhood fascination with history books.

  14. r2k-in-the-vortex says:

    ’20. Sailors who sailed to the west, and other lucky ones, could buy there ordinary cigarettes in ordinary packs (Marlboro, Camel…) but in the same packs it was possible to buy marijuana (marked with three black stars with a name “cigarettes with marijuana”)! Someone brought them through customs and someone were treated here, at home.’

    i know a man who claims he mistakenly smoked them once

  15. JustaGuy says:

    Hi all!

    24. In 1969 Russian wiped Damansky island off the map with laser weapons. Together with the Chinese. Go to nobody!

    I live in Hungary (former east block), and i heard that one from my father some years ago. He didnt mentioned an island, he just told that “In 1969 the soviets wiped out 600 thousand chinese soldiers in 2 days with lasers”. Curious…

    • Khathi says:

      Well, it certainly was no lasers, but it was a first massed combat use of the BM-21 Grad MRLS. And it was so shoking to the Chinese that while they weren’t destroyed, they certainly retreated in haste and ended all attempts to forcibly take the island in question.

  16. Gaby says:

    Back in the day it took 6,000 people at a concert to say it Rocked. It’s silly how nowadays a band just releases a record and say they’re ready to Rock.

  17. kilo says:

    Some of those myths were really circulating back in the day. The Damansky peninsula one in particular. Nobody knew exactly how Russians defeated those Chinese invaders but it was widely “known” that they used some kind of secret weapon, possibly lasers (in reality, I think, the napalm was used). Here’s another one. Listening to Voice of America on a shortwave radio was dangerous because KGB had the ability to detect those doing so regardless of their location and arrest them. One more. A Soviet guy wrote to Ford about how he liked their cars. Ford sent him a brand new car in return.

  18. zanni says:

    yep, I remember a few of those… like giant white worms living at the bottom of the Kvas tanks lol. Still remember the punishments for kids who chewed foreign gum… And I did get stuck in the doors of a subway train. Uranium mines… that was no legend, this was true actually–it could be also chemical factories, and yep nobody saw these people again cause they didn’t live long. As to Bromine in soldiers’ tea, I wouldn’t dismiss it that easily, it could have been true.
    And what certainly was true about foreigners being wreckers–come on, how about those logs filled with pests (to harm Soviet crops) thrown in the ocean near Soviet coasts, that’s how some of these were introduced to start with, that’s a regular bio-warfare.

  19. PhoQ says:

    Party phone lines did exist. There were a number of them in St. Petersburg, in late 80s to early 90s.

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