4 The Final Years of the Soviet Epoch

The Final Years of the Soviet Epoch

Posted on April 27, 2019 by team

Here is a selection of photos dated 1989-1990 that depict the life of ordinary people in the late Soviet years. They illustrate the shortage of products, meetings held to support B. Yeltsin, Soviet public catering and much more.

In the late 1980s-early 1990s the first foreign restaurants began to open in the USSR and it was so unusual for the rule of L. Brezhnev. McDonalds opening was the most epic in January 1990. The poster on the photo was photographed in Moscow in December 1989.

January 1989. Workers of the auto plant. The production methods were mostly Soviet but they already began to apply some modern innovations.

February 1989, school. Children still had a Soviet educational program, but with the beginning of the Perestroika in 1985 the education was getting less focused on the ideology. To a large extent it depended on teachers.

Exercise bikes, 1989. The late 80s was the time when people got obsessed with aerobics and sport. Basements of dwelling houses were reconstructed for gyms, people hung posters with Vann-Damm and Schwarzneiger on the walls. They were rather pricey, by the way.

Soviet-Finnish fastfood van that sold burgers – unusual and fashionable food for Soviet people.

Soviet ladies drying hair. In the late 80s women chose volume and perming, hairdressers earned well then.

Winter in Moscow 1989. No so many cars on the street, as you may see. People began to buy cars massively in the 90s.

In 1985-1987 people were allowed to arrange political protests and meetings and they did it quite often – to protest against the Soviet rule and the USSR, and to support Boris Yeltsin.

Reciting poems on Arbat in Moscow 1990. People were allowed to recite on political themes as well.

What internatinal news excited people then? In January 1990 they were widely discussing the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from united Germany, and a year earlier they had been focused on the withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan.

They were also interested in the news related to Chernobyl, discussed the problem of poluution and radiation. The photo was taken in 1990.

1990, people are standing in the line for their deposits in Sberbank. The Soviet monetary system began to fall apart at the seams, many credits got blocked.

Homeless person.

1989-1990, people are happy to see meat that suddenly appeared in the shop.


May 1990. Empty shelves in the shop.

1990. No food at all…


Wealthy people went to restaurants, but it was expensive then.

Canteen in 1990, eating dumplings.

“Freedom to Lithuania!”

They held political actions for a wide number of reasons. It was just cool to protest against something.

Supporting Yeltsin.

“Do away with the CPSU!” The font on the paper is formed from bones…


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4 responses to “The Final Years of the Soviet Epoch”

  1. Douglas says:

    This should happen in the USA and get rid of all the corrupt rogue 3 letter agencies.

  2. andrade says:

    blast from the past… go away!

  3. Tarja Halonen says:

    Good times.

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