32 Life of Russia Of The Mid-1990s

Life of Russia Of The Mid-1990s

Posted on June 14, 2011 by kulichik

On 12 June 1991 Boris Yeltsin was elected as the president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with 57% of the vote, becoming the first popularly elected president. However, Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s.


Today the far 1990s seem to many far ancient history. 37% of people believe that another President could change the life of the country for the better and only one forth part of those interviewed state that nothing could delay the awful deprivations of 1990s.


Common people of those time thought of the new Russia as a country that would rest on such soft values as freedom of speech, pluralism and joining Europe.


However, in practice, it was even more simple than that, as what people wanted was to get rid of poverty, shortage of products, criminality and despair.


Let’s review some problems of that period.


‘Terror avenue of communism. What we demand is truth and public judiciary procedure”


It is believed that the debate over renaming Leningrad into St. Petersburg in 1989-1991 was rather the controversy between old and new values.  It was not just about a battle between two great men of Russian/Soviet history, Peter the Great and Vladimir Lenin.


The reform satisfied most of the intelligentsia, democrats and pro-reform Petersburgans, and turned the conservative communists, veterans and the military into “losers” of democratic transition. The awful war of 1941-1945 was still vivid and bright in the memory of those who saw it. Renaming made them think that all the losses would be forgotten soon.


Economic Reform in Russia started in the year of 1990 to achieve macroeconomic stability and to restructure the country’s economic framework.  Another goal of the economic reform was to open the market for the foreign investors to connect the Russian economy with the other countries of the world.  The program laid out a number of macroeconomic policy measures to achieve stabilization.


The program aimed at reducing the government budget deficit from its 1991 level of 20 percent of GDP to 9 percent of GDP by the second half of 1992 and to 3 percent by 1993.  The prices on energy and food staples increased twice, thrice or even more. Annual expense gain of the population didn’t have to exceed 0.6%.

People lived under conditions of tough deficit and crisis. The tense situation gave rise to criminality and dissatisfaction with authority in general.  The reasons for intentional homicides could be thefts of such simple goods as a rag that cost less than 1 dollar, etc.


In the early years of the reform, the minimum wage fell significantly below the poverty line. In 1992, it accounted for 33% of the poverty line for able-bodied persons and by 1995 it had decreased to 14% of that level. Additional jobs have been used to compensate for the low wages.


Authorities failed to provide pensioners with worthy level of life and asked enterprises and organizations to help in providing of urgent help to this category of people as the winter approached.  It was necessary to supply them with such essentials as food, medical services and shoes.


Urgent help to pensioners was obtained from abroad as well. The problem consisted in the fact that many items were stolen and never reached the place of destination.


In the high rise of criminality the police of one of the cities gave laborers permission to carry and use weapon as they couldn’t ensure due protection of citizens.


A criminal committed an offense resisting the police but sued the authority representatives and was freed from the accusation being the leader of the local criminal group. Moreover, it was suggested that he should be elected mayor of the city as he was the only one who could pacify his crime partners. The new mayor candidate refused to take the position but expressed his willingness to continue the struggle against socialistic legitimacy using the experience acquired at the time of his imprisonment.


The first business center for children was created in 1990. Children at the age from 9 to 14 years old could become presidents, bankers and senators. What they had to do was to live under conditions of the market economy. They were taught to survive and got salary for their achievements. Adults occupied the positions of commercial directors.


The first private railway appeared in Russia in 1991 in the Yaroslavl region. It was owned by the cooperative named Decor.


“Keys production”


The year of 1992 was the beginning of the new epoch. Former members of the Communist Party were coming into power.


‘Workers of the world, unite! Being guided by the Communist Party, we’ll move forward to the victory of communism’.

via ttolk.ru

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32 responses to “Life of Russia Of The Mid-1990s”

  1. Archy Bunka says:

    A. Bunka here. I like the old Moscow pics better.

  2. Unknown says:

    I misread the title as “Russia of the Mid-19905”.

  3. kater says:

    Please stop spreading lies – I mean the time when WW2 was fought. It began in 1939, on 1st of September, not in 1941. Russian was attacked by Germans, their former allies, in 1941, but the war started in 1939. Learn the facts, stop trying to rewrite history! There is only one historical truth and unfortunately people in Russia do not know it, even tho it can be easily found!

    • testicules says:

      If you lie with dogs you will get fleas.

    • oleg says:

      There is no historical “truth” here, just a matter of perspectives. The Soviet war with Nazi Germany (the “Great Patriotic War”) started in 1941 and ended 1945 and that’s what the author is referring to. The start of world war two _in Europe_ as a whole was in September 1939, but in the Pacific the Japanese launched the first massive attacks on the Asian mainland back in 1931 and kept invading and fighting everyone over there but for some reason the Asian/Pacific war is referred to in the West as having been started with Pearl Harbor, which is just as “self centered”… Sure enough, the Soviet Union also engaged the Empire of Japan in battle over June-August of 1939, well prior to Hitlers attack on Poland. The subsequent ceasefire lasted until August 1945, when the Soviet Union attacked Japan once again and defeated them once and for all, by crushing the Kwantung Army which was wreaking havoc across half of Asia at the time and didn’t care at all about the nuclear bombs. That’s another thing you don’t hear much about in the West, even though scholars obviously know about it. So you see, it’s a matter of perspective and what is considered relevant for your particular nation and its history in the war. And Russians know of the other perspectives, just like you and I do, don’t be fooled.

  4. testicules says:

    Bread lines and bad haircuts. Everyone looks so happy

  5. xoxo says:

    90ties were harsh.

  6. CZenda says:

    Judging by the topics presented, whole Russia is Living in the Past (following is Ian Anderson´s flute solo :)).

  7. PMN says:

    This is the reality of Perestroika. Yet in the West, old “Stain Head” is considered a great man. What a joke.

  8. Musa says:

    I can’t believe that guy is using that big ass pig for a circus act in times like that. Think of how many people could of been fed on a pig that size.

    • anx says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Fat, fat pig while people were starving. I was starving, eating only white rice. Had no protein sources, no oil, no vegetables.

  9. Zack says:

    The former USSR budget deficit was 20% but isn’t American’s 33%? This can’t be good.

    By the way, ER should have a “News from Russian Wall Carpet, part X” similar to “News from Russian Roads”. Seriously.

  10. (r)evolutionist says:


  11. Kent_Diego says:

    The mid 1990’s was only 15 years ago. Things looked very bleak. I hope it is better now.

  12. opticalsound says:

    So, that one dude is debating Lenin’s statue over the Lenin/St. Pete name change?? And actually, this looks like the U.S. right now (the unemployment and crime) in certain places.

  13. George Johnson says:

    So they didn’t learn their lesson about communism and are headed straight back into it? That’s insane. Communism simply does not work.

    • PMN says:

      They never HAD communism, though you are still right. They had enough of state run gangsterism now they are ruled by the same mobsters with different titles.

  14. FJL says:


  15. Blair says:

    I was nervous travelling around Russian in 1995. Hungry when I was there in 1987. People had a desperate gleam in their eyes back in the 80s and 90s. Today, that gleam has been replaced by dollar signs rolling around 🙂

  16. Anon says:

    I love posts like these.

  17. eddie says:

    good to have those times behind us 🙂

  18. anx says:

    I remember those times well. Wish I could go back and live there again, despite all the horror. Those were times right before 1st Chechen war, in the midst of other wars on the periphery of ex-USSR, lack of medicines, when surgeries were conducted without anesthetics and post-surgery patients were screaming in hospitals without pain medicines…when people were killed for organ trade by doctors and doctors paid by Western pharma companies experimented on hospital patients. Those were the times when you could call the ambulance, and they’d come and rob you if they knew you were living alone. Times when people disappeared. When meat pies sold on the streets contained dog and rat meat, and sometimes human meat. When a person could be buried, and the body would be dug out the next night, to take the meat to fur farm animnals, to take the gold teeth and a nice suit, and to take the coffin to be re-used to bury another one. When you called a doctor to come to 80 y.o. person and would hear on another end of the line: “If they’re that old, why bother”. Times when entire country had been sold to criminals and stolen. Yep, those were the times.

    • Forint says:

      How did you cope with that? I fear the US is heading in this direction with the addition of a police state and soviet style propaganda. In this country, we have no inkling how bad it was in Russia. I read back then, that the economy basically broke down into a barter economy.

  19. anx says:

    I remember how I got a small bunch of green onion back in early 90s. That was a big deal for me, as there were no food where I was. I was so happy to have that onion, and wanted to make a salad from it, but I had no vegetable oil or a way to get it, to make it into a salad. Haven’t seen neither onion no oil in a while. I was starting at the onion and crying.

  20. anx says:

    Remember how tasty some dogs looked back then… they had meat on their bones and I seen no meat in a long time back them. Later, “Bush’s legs” (past-expiration date chicken legs from America–food aide) came. I still never touch chicken legs, they remind me of Bush’s legs. But before “Bush’s legs”.. there was no meat or protein sources. I remember half of a sausage link laying in the fridge and my mother told me “don’t you touch it, it’s mine”.

  21. tupacRIP says:

    this looks like 90’s america too, anyone who knows what the ghetto looks like in south bronx, harlem, queensbridge, Chicago projects, and south central LA. lots of places looked bad during the 90’s, most countries saw a rise in crime rates actually during that period, the wall fell and i think AK’s got exported into poor area’s, into africa, into america’s. so it’s not just russia that is like this, it’s the harsh reality of life without hope

  22. George says:

    TupacRIP is a fool. and a liar. wonderful pictures though… things seemed to be better in 2010. We had a wonderful time in the Fed of Rus.

  23. A-Bomb says:

    I think that in every country there are pictures, maybe even worse. Now, all quite different. We always eat caviar spreading on her black and drink collection cognac. We carry only Mercedes. Sell ​​crude oil around the world. We do not make snide USA lead the game. We are the biggest and the greatest country in the world. Suck it.

  24. tea pot says:

    The UK should never have let one single russian mafia scumbag in. They laundered their money and then turned up. It’s disgusting.

  25. hanna says:

    How can any man or women not understand the evil of communism? How can they not see it is a political system that brings down every man, women and child to equal misery and poverty while the ruling elite enjoys the fruits of the people labour and reaps handsomely on their shoulders! Oh if only we all desired to lift up those impoverished to our higher standards of living.Also before the stalins and the lenins of this world Russia was a wonderland of exquisite architecture.food,color, and literature. Just think of what it would have been had the past 100 years not been ones of severe oppression.

  26. kb says:

    hanna why are you talking about “the evil of communism” on a page which shows the evil of capitalism? It was bringing capitalism to Russia which caused this.

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