American Life in Russia, 1959

Back in 1959 there was a strange exhibition held in Moscow. It was a show case of American way of life demonstrated to common Russian people, something unseen by them and never even dreamed to be seen during the harsh Stalin years.

For this purpose thousands of examples of the American lifestyle were brought to Moscow and placed in the freshly built complex, that was also built by an American company. They brought everything you can imagine – American cars, American food, Coca-Cola and jeans, but also they brought some really large objects like the real american shopping mall was brought and displayed in Moscow, or the example of a typical American home.

This video was shot during that event by an American filmmaker and was originally more than fourty minutes long but due to youtube rules was shrinked to ten minutes. Still you can see most of it caught on tape.

23 thoughts on “American Life in Russia, 1959”

    • Doubtful. This was during the reign of Khrushchev who ushered in an era of openness in the USSR that was not again seen until Gorbachev. He was hated by the establishment and eventually deposed because of his loosening of state control over the people.

    • Still superior to living standards in most of the world today, and better than the living standards of some Americans today as well.

      In the 50’s the US was undoubtedly the most prosperous country on the planet.

      But now the US is 1/3rd black and latino. And although whites in the US still have it good, the minorities make the country look pretty bad.

  1. I’m with Valery…that was the most boring thing i have watched on this site to day…i want those 10 minutes back dam it!!!

    • More like an actual look into the kind of good life that exists in a capitalist country like the US, that could never happen under communism.

      If the stuff was unrealistic, you’d have a point. But it actually accurately reflected what was in the US.

      I know Russians who moved to the US and even now they are amazed at how big American houses are and how much money we have. When I was in high school I had a friend that was born in Russia and me and him worked at Blockbuster video part-time. He told me that he made more money in a year than both his parents did combined when they lived in Russia. He said that my bedroom was bigger than the entire apartment he lived in back in St. Petersburg.

    • It’s not just Russia, in 1971, we had a friend from “civilized” England who was floored that my dad (factory worker) had a Cadillac about ten years newer than his dad’s Chevy, and also that I (his age) had my OWN CAR, both paid for.

  2. A. Bunka here. Just a little show to demonstrate how a successful society lives. What I liked was how Russians would ask: “where’s the Studebaker?” in reverent tones. A great car and truck, killed by Detroit.

  3. Good film. Say what you will about the Soviet government at that time, when you look at the Russian visitors you just see people, people just like Americans. I don’t believe the average Russian bore Americans any ill will, and I doubt the average American had anything against Russians.

  4. Russians at the time were genuinely fascinated about America and Americans but the majority of Russians were absolutely convinced that the quality of life in the USSR was light years ahead of America. So, to Russians this exhibition was an extraordinary event at an amusement park but not much more than that. See how a girl smells Pepsi in her paper cup first and only then drinks it with a slight expression of disgust. An American guide tells Russian visitors (in a good Russian) about a higher education in the US. He says, “There’s a university in every state that you can attend for free. For example, I went to a university in New Jersey…” From this you can deduce that Russians were asking if higher education was too expensive in the US and was only for rich people. In Russia anybody could get one absolutely free. Life in Russia in those days was not perfect but it was very decent and, most importantly, it was full of hopes and dreams. In my opinion, it was comparable (in terms of overall satisfaction) to the life in the US. Bigger houses, cars, and gadgets never make you truly happy. Hopes and dreams do.

      • hahaha
        hops and drinks. Those “hope and dreams” made the poor Russian really happy, while the Communist ruling class suffered from the capitalist decadence: big dachas, cars, and loads of cash.

  5. Russians were (and still are now) brainwashed by propaganda and censorship. All Russian TV channels (and radio stations) are under government’s control even today. It seems that this is the only way for Russia to exist.

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