Soviet Prices

In Soviet Russia dollar exchange rate was established by the state and was 1 dollar for 63 Russian copecks, or 1 American dollar for 0.63 Russian ruble.

What could the Foreigners coming to Russia afford? Here is the short review for the prices at that times in American dollars:

Small loaf – $0.11
Bread – $0.30
Cigarettes (Bulgarian, Eastern European) – $0.83
Cigarettes imported Marlboro – $2.50
Eggs (10 pieces) – $1.66
Ice-cream $0.25
Chocolate bar (0.22 pound) 100g – $1.33
Milk 1 liter (32 fl. oz) – $0.76
Cheese (2.2 pounds – 1kg) $3.66
Recycled glass bottle – $0.16
Salt (2.2 pounds pack) – $0.16
Potatos (2.2 pounds) 1 kilo – $0.41
Cucumbers (2.2 pounds) 1 kilo – $1.16
Tape cassette recorder, Russian make – $241.00
Acoustic guitar, Russian make – $41.00
Parker pen with a golden feather – $8.33
Beer, Russian make, 16 fl.oz. (half liter) bottled – $0.66
Beef, (2.2 pounds) 1 kilo – $3.16 (also standing in line for two hours and not more than 5 pounds in one hands)
Vodka “Stolichnaya”, 16 fl.oz (half liter) bottled – $6.66
Wine red, white – $1.36
Sparkling wine – $6.95
Car, Soviet make, ZAZ – $5800
Boxer’s gloves $15.8
City bus $0.08
Flight Moscow-Kazakhstan $106
Small tape recorder, Russian make $160
Levi’s jeans, smuggled, sold at black market $416
Sweet beets $0.10
Sugar (2.2 pounds – 1kg) $1.30
Matches box $0.01 (often used as a change in shops when there was shortage of the small coins)
Sewing machine $97.00
Bicycle $80
Carpet, oriental style, Russian make, 10ft (3 meteres) long – $53
Wrist watches, Russian make $88
Electric shaver, Russian make $23
Piano $876
Fridge, Russian make – $250
Photo camera, Russian – $100
Vaccuum cleaner, Russian – $70

By the way, average Russian salary for someone like an office worker or a construction worker was around $200/month.

60 thoughts on “Soviet Prices”

    • I agree with jaybeecity its just a bit of fun putting first check all the other threads on this website and get with the program and you GO GIRL.

      • Me too… – bush – you try getting a FIRST!!!! It’s not that easy and Jaybeecity deserves praise.. nor you & your supercilious whining.

        Three in a row gets the official Tim Berners-Lee Medal. Two more to go…

        And… Mr/Mrs/Ms Admin…. where are the pictures!!! I didn’t get where I am today by visiting blogs about Russia that are in English.. that have no pictures!!!! Goddammit..

    • Dont take it so hard. Its the just the tradition of this site to be rude to smb whos going to be polite. Use their lexis and youll be ok.

  1. Levi’s jeans, smuggled, sold at black market $416

    OMG LOL now I know why all Russians wear jeans nowadays, they are making it up for the opportunity lost during Soviet occupation 🙁

    • OMG nobody wants to do me..anybody..? Please..? Begging on my knees..? Please, please, please..? Why not..? Don´t let the hair in my face bother, i´ll wear a bag! Daddy, please..? Why not…? 🙁

  2. i was expecting to see these figures and be really surprised at either how cheap everything was or how expensive but I am not; with the exception of electrical products, and the old levi’s, it doesn’t seem like much has changed

    • “was expecting to see these figures and be really surprised at either how cheap everything was ”

      Well youll never know that stuff of low quality.

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  4. Well, considering that it was a state controlled currency exchange rate, it is not surprising. The prices were also state controlled, but it was not a sustainable system. Once it fell, the Ruble experienced hyperinflation as it had no real value backing it.

  5. How was these prices in USD calculated? Using official exchange rate? In that case, everything would seem much more expensive that it really was. Albeit, the average sallary would seem equaly higher, so the relative purchase power is, nevertheless, accurate. Also, the important piece of information – the year from which these prices originate – is missing.

    Here is an example from my country, during the last years of it’s existence:
    In 1990. and 1991, the average net (after taxes paid) monthly sallary in SFR Yugoslavia was around 1000-2000 DEM (500-1000 USD). These are data for Yugoslav republic of Serbia – sallaries were probably lower in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Macedonia, and probably higher in Croatia and (especially) Slovenia.
    At the same time, our Yugo car was sold in the USA for 3990 USD (basic model, with 1.1 l engine and manual transmission – others, such as 1.3 l with automatic transmission and air-conditioner were more expensive). This was not particulary good car, but it was intended primarily to be cheap, so it was a great value for the money. In any case, I would say it was better than ZAZ. 5800 USD for a ZAZ seems rather expensive.
    The Soviet prices of food and drinks seem also pretty high. I can’t remember all the prices from Yugoslavia of that time, but 100 g Milka or Nestle chocolate or a can of Coca-Cola was about 1 DEM (0.5 USD). Levi’s jeans was about 100 DEM (50 USD). Pianos, guitars and cameras had the prices about 2x higher than that in USSR, if you wanted to buy East German or Czechoslovakian products (quite good quality in my opinion), or 3-5 or more times higher for domestic or western products. I can’t remember what the prices of milk, sugar, meat and alcohol were, but I am pretty sure that they were cheaper in Yugoslavia.

    • I remember, then the imported Western goods if it was not in supermarkets, always able to buy the then-free shops for foreign currency and dinars. Ballantines, Marlboro, Milka, Nestle,…. it’s all in the former Yugoslavia were available, more expensive than domestic products but still available. But actually it is very interesting that the example produces the Soviet Union were almost 3-4x more expensive than domestic firms and even some Western products! Soviet toys were more expensive than, for example Majorette of France or West Germany from Mattel almost 2x! And they looked so Soviet, tough, rough, and seemed to be to survive a nuclear war LOL ….. but in ex-Yugoslavia we have produced a lot of Western things for example license Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Levis, Converse, which were far cheaper than in the west but nothing lower quality than the original. As I recall the food was very cheap, cooked food in cans has cost about 1.5 $ in stores. Those were nice times ….

  6. The Soviet regime was established on November 7, 1917. These prices would be high for then but I think they would be low for the end of the regime in 1991. I’m not from Russia so I don’t really know. Can someone tell us what year this was so that we can make sense of the list?

    The 200 dollar per month wage would be roughly OK in 1960 here in Canada. The prices would then compare as some very high and some very low.

  7. These prices aren’t from the last days of the USSR – as salary and food prices would have been far different (lower salary, higher food prices).

  8. And, err, why would anyone need to smuggle western Jeans to the USSR? Jeans already were sold freely in the USSR – from what I’ve heard.

    • no… youve heard wrong man… people in america have very wrong mentality about ussr, because of the bad propaganda usa gave them…:-(

      • There were no jeans in shops in USSR before perestroika. Only the sailors or other people who could go abroad for a while had access to “capitalist goods” and therefore they were sold on black market.

        You, sir, are a good example of a brainwashed Soviet.

    • “Jeans already were sold freely in the USSR – from what I’ve heard.”

      Yes its true. i think that smbs exaggerating the commies pressure. But truelly saying those jeans was of bad quality.

  9. Two hundred bucks a month? Quite a impressive salary for eastern block. As I remember salaries in Poland during communists’ rule they were about 20-25 $ a month.

    • It looks like this is a filler page until something els comes along!

      With no date to go by it keeps everyone guessing….

  10. At one time in the Soviet Union’s history the ruble was worth more than the US dollar.

    In today’s Russia grocery prices are reasonable in the summer.In the winter everything goes up in price.

    Eating in a restaurant is always expensive,unless it is Mcdonalds or KFC in the Ikea Mega Mall!

    I payed 920 rubles for 1 salad 2 coffees and 2 ice creams for me and my wife Tatiana.I also included the tip which was a even 1000 rubles,$40.00 in US bills!

  11. i dont believe that… my father lived there for almost 13 years and my mom was born in the soviet union and she even told me that all was very cheap back then…

  12. a year to put this in context would be nice, that way we could compare it to prices in America to determine if they were cheap for its time. im guessing they will be cheap as it was the soviet government doing the supplying and governments don’t seem to understand the pricing system and what its uses are, i.e. allocating resources to prevent shortages and get the most efficient use out of the available resources.

  13. The key to determining a year range is the ZAZ car, which was made from 1960 to 1969 as the Zaparozhetz 965. This model was later updated and sold as the Zaporozhetz 968 and sold until 1994, so these prices are for the latter half of the Soviet Era. When precisely depends on the model of ZAZ, and what price when the price was $5800. BTW, the Zaporozhetz was a very cheap car, in line with something like a Fiat 500, or a Trabant 601 in terms of market segment.

  14. …кстати, Натали, скажите: каков порядок минуса на Ваших счетах? сотни, тысячи, сотни тысяч? сколько Вы должны штатам?

    • dolzhna? nemnogo; u menya neplohaya rabota, i ya starayus’ tratit’ tolko te den’gi, kotorye u menya est’. A u tebya kak s rabotoj? Ya slyshu v Rossii vse normal’nye raboty v zhopu schas idut.

      • вот:

        почитайте, и не говорите потом, что вас никто не предупреждал…:)

      • ну, и дальше что? У меня мама работала научным сотрудником, искала леченье от рака. Зарабатывала меньше, чем мать подруги, которая работала на заводе стульями. Вот так вот в задницу всё работало. Чесно? Сам суди. Всем только и надо было в лапу давать.

  15. I do not remember any real “poverty” from Communist Czechoslovakia – hardly surprising, considering that Czechoslovakia, DDR and Hungary were the most developed Ostblock countries. However, I remember bottlenecks which may seem funny today – e.g. there were 3 months somewhere during mid-eighties when there was no toilet paper, panty liners or vacuum cleaner bags available in the shops for the simple reason that the only factory which produced them in Czechoslovakia caught fire and the “brotherly socialist countries” were not able to increase the production of the toilet paper – until the next five-year plan, that is 😀
    Generally speaking, the domestic products were affordable (I do not dare to say they were “cheap”, because I do not remember how much they cost compared to an average salary), but anything imported from the West was outrageously expensive. An example: basic Fiat Tipo 1,4, sold in Tuzex (local store selling for hard currency only), cost about as much as 10 bedroom villa in 1988…

  16. CZenda, that was no uniqe thing of Chechzoslovakia. It was THEN massive lines, and lack of goods started to appear in USSR too (mid 80’s), because Communism was crumbling :(.

  17. The non-official exchange rate was a bit different – about 20 or 30 RUB for 1$, now you can re-calculate those prices.

  18. Comrade Kirov!
    Yes, there were attempts in the Eastern Bloc to make jeans, too. They were called “leisure” or “sporting” trousers.
    They were made during 70s and early 80s in DDR and Czechoslovakia.
    Locals laughed at them.

  19. What year are we talking about?
    In 1990 I was in Sochi, I believe the “official” rate (which was used for international trade)
    was as you say 0.63 = $1. But at that time, even changing cash money at banks at the official tourist rate was something like 6 = $1. On the black market, we would routinely get rates as high as 17 = $1. This was in the summer immediately before the end of the USSR.

  20. What year are these prices? Exchange rates, cost of goods mean nothing without correct year. It could be 1979, it could be 1989, this post is FAIL without correct year.

  21. What does America want?

    US essential targets:

    1a To reload its financial system and to eliminate cross-links of internal and external obligations of the overall parties in its economy: households, corporations, banks, government and pension funds;
    1b To reload the global colonial taxation system;
    1c To reload the real national economy;

    To reach the targets 1a and 1b the dollar must be hyper inflated 4-5 times minimum. However hyperinflation target contradicts the target 1b – if the dollar starts to hyper inflate now it would be thrown out of the world’s trade and investment processes. Therefore:

    3. The hyperinflation is to be prepared thus the US and dollar isolation would have never happened, and on the contrary: the dollar and US financial system would have obtained more power and influence it has ever had before.


    4a. Rival capitals of Europe, Arabs and Asia must be destroyed.
    4b. All rival economies and currencies must be unbalanced and destabilized, in order to set a control over them afterwards.
    4c. Immediately after hyperinflation recovery has happened it is the main goal to liquidate or to weaken significantly the core centers of power, those centers who are able to hinder the execution of the targets being set – this are: EU, China, Russia and other potential threats: India, Japan etc.

    In order to execute point 4a and next 4b and at the end 4c it is needed to have knocked out all foreign capitals out of all assets and to attract them into US. Therefore to organize:

    5a. 1,5-2 year cycle of the dollar revaluation to other currencies and to push down the prices of all assets: goods, shares, real estate etc.
    5b the global collapse of the maximum number of regions: Eastern Europe, former USSR, North Africa, to infiltrate the sense of the global catastrophe from which the only way to save the money is to hide them and keep in the safest place in the whole world. Guess where.
    To execute the target 4b parallel with or shortly before the hyperinflation starts to strike into the planet’s most painful points:
    6a.To destroy the global energy market
    6b.To conduct the regional destructive processes in Europe, Indostan, Middle East, former USSR

  22. Otteita “Siirtolaisen Paivakirjasta” – Dipl.Ins. Markku J. Saarelainen

    Tanaan maaliskuun 12. paivana vuonna 2009 tulee oikein kaunis ensimmaisia kevattuntuisia paivia. Mutta onko tama vain harhaa kuten monet asiat mita suomalaisesta kulttuurista kerrotaan ympari maailmaa. Tosiasiassa monet suomalaiset kultuurin piirteet ovat hyvin rasittavia ja alkoholin kaytto on hyvinkin runsasta mina tietaen taloja taalla Varkaudessa, missa alkoholia juodaan hyvin runsaasti joka paiva aiheuttaen kaikenlaisia epanormaalisuuksia. Alkoholin kaytto luo paljon rikollisuutta, ja lukuisat tietamani henkilot ovat olleet tai ovat talla hetkella ehdollisessa tai ehdottomassa vangeudessa. Nykyisin myos huumeet ovat tulleet kuvioon mukaan, mika on varmaankin ilmeista myos nuorison keskuudessa. Mutta tasta siirrymmekin toiseen asiaan.

    Suomeen tuloni jalkeen lukuisia tietamiani ihmisia on kuollut, ns. kaatuneet heidan omassa taistelussaan suomalaisessa yhteiskunnassa. Aiemmin jopa pidin kirjaa kaikista kuolleista, mutta eraan Sepon neuvoa noudattaen paatinkin lopettaa kuoleiden tilastojen seuraamisen. Viimeisin kulttuuriuhri oli 28 vuotias yhden lapsen isa Timo, joka hirtti itsensa tassa noin kilometrin paassa. Itsekin joi olutta hanen kanssaan viime kevaana eraan Ollin luona, ja mielestani han, Timo, oli hyvin mukava ja rauhallinen nuorempi mieshenkilo, mutta jostain syysta han hirtaytyi. Han kuten lapsuudenystavani Lars oli vain yhteiskunnan uhri heidan taistellessaan olemassa olostaan suomalaisessa yhteiskunnassa. Lars kuoli pirunpaivana 6-6-6 Varkauden poliisien putkassa. Muiden kuolleiden muistoa kirjoittaen paatinkin kirjoittaa heista lyhyen listan tata Internetissa julkaistavaa otetta varten:

    2002 molemmat naapurit (2), einari, ari, jussi, lassi
    2003 jarmo
    2004 kari, kurolasta henkilo
    2006 lars, inkeri, yksi nat.
    2007 pena r., matti, seija, antti, laura, kari, kaksi lydea (2), paula, kauko, merimies, jorma
    2008 keijo, timo

    Yhteensa 27 tietamaani ihmista on kuollut eli seitsemassa vuodessa mita olen ollut Suomessa on melkein nelja ihmista kuollut vuodessa. Tosiasiassa kuolleita saattaa olla enemmankin, mutta en enaa seuraa tilastoja. HE OVAT POISTUNEET! Lukuisat nuoremmat kuolleet kuten Lars, Kari ja Jarmo ovat heittaneet henkensa nautittuaan itsensa kuoliaaksi alkoholia ja erillaisia tabletteja kayttaen. Vuonna 2008 kuoli Keijo, erittain uskonnollinen mies, joka meitakin tuli avustamaan ja antaen meille esimerkiksi polttopuita ja isalleni magnesium pulvereita. Vaikka meidan, minun ja isani, elamassa on ollut kaikenlaisia “tapahtumia”, me olemme viela elossa ja aiommekin pysya niin pitkaan kun tulee meidan aikamme poistua tasta maapallon yhteiskunnasta. Isanikin melkein poistui Varkauden sairaalan virheiden takia elokuussa 2008, mista jopa Iltalehtikin kirjoitti. Itseasiassa jatettyani isani tarkailuun sairaalaan hanen rintakipujen johdosta ja ajaessani autolla takaisin meille, minulle tuli “intuitio”, etta jotain oli vaarin, mika saatoi johtua silloisen paivystavan laakarin “kaytoksesta.” Noin tunnin sisaan siita alkoikin suuri etsinta, mika eteni siihen, etta puoli Varkautta oli etsimassa isaani, joka viimein 12 tuntia myohemmin loytyi 100 metrin paassa sairaalasta katuojasta puolikuoleena.

    Ja nyt eraaseen toiseen ymmartamykseen. Mielestani Suomen valtion yhteistyo Nokia yrityksen kanssa on liian laheista, ja henkiloita, jotka tyoskentelevat esimerkiksi Nokian kilpailijoille kuten Samsung, Apple ja monet muut yrityksen voidaan sortaan ja syrjia Suomen valtion toimesta, koska Suomen valtion budjetti on riippuvainen kuten alkoholistin Nokian budjetista. Itse kun puhuin Nokiaa vastaan, koska en halunnut olla kenenkaan orja, tulin Suomen viholliseksi. En pida Suomen valtiosta! En mina ilmaiseksi mitaan tyota halua tehda ja tuntipalkkani on edelleen 30 euroa tunnissa, jos joku koskaan tai milloinkaan saa mitaan tietoja minulta tai haluaa keskustella minun kanssani. Jos Matti Vanhanen haluaa keskustella kanssani, hanen pitaa maksaa minulle 30 euroa tunnissa pelkastaan minun lasnaolostani aivan kuten kaikkien muidenkin ihmisten. Minusta on mukava olla Suomen vihollinen, jos Suomi kayttaytyy kuin rikollinen.

    Mistahan syysta ei kukaan ole minulle tullut koskaan tarjoamaan mitaan toita Suomessa? Olenhan mina korkeakoulun kaynyt Diplomi-insinoori ja USAssa lukuisia opintoja ja sertifikaatteja suorittanut henkilo, joka on matkustanut yli 35 eri maassa. Ehka suomalaiset vihaavat minua.

    Orava on muuten syomassa ulkopoydalla, mihin laitamme talvisin ruokaa variksille, harakoille, naakoille ja muille elaimille. Taidamme olla ainoita ihmisia, jotka syottavat variksia ja muita mustia lintuja. Taytyyhan niidenkin elaa.


    DI Markku J. Saarelainen
    Jumalan Mies

  23. umm you’re a bit wrong on the exchange rate.
    It’s more like:
    1 USD = 35.2132 RUB

    If it were 1 USD = 0.63 RUB i would be a millionaire by now by changing like let’s say 1000 EEK (1EEK = 0,34RUB) to about 3000 RUB, then 3000 RUB to 1900 USD and the then back to EEK (1USD = 12,2EEK) which would end up me having 23k in estonian kroons and earning 2300% profit every time 😀

    but yeah the calculated prices are just about right…. too bad you can’t bring unlimited ammouts of alcohol over the border 😀

  24. How much of that stuff was easily available, though? I’ve heard all the stories about how you had to line up for ages just to buy meat or lettuce or whatever, and some people would sell the good stuff out the back to their friends or whatever.

    But if you could get the stuff I imagine it was pretty cheap by today’s standards.

  25. Ребята, что за бред? Кто в Союзе получал $200? Когда заршлата была 150 рублей “Волга” стоила 10 000. Стоит то она стоила, да кто мог купить? На “Москвич” ждали годами, любой товар доставался очень трудно, или по блату. Что значит “дешево”, если дом не твой и если захотят, выкинут к такой матери, хотя ты стоял за него в очередь 5-10 лет. В городах по 100 000 человек был один ресторан и один кинотеатр, а что покрупнее – 2-3. В Курске например с 350 тысячним населением было 2 ресторана и одна гостиница. За любой товар в гастрономе надо было ждать часами в очередь. Продолжать можно очень долго, но нет необходимости. Я знаю, что все вы патриоты (хотя не остались в Росии, а сбежали в США, от хорошей жызни наверно) и будете кричать на меня, но из песни слов не выкинешь.


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