Friday, November 23, 2018

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series

In the mid-1980s the Soviet press agency Novosti released a series of small books looking the USSR's 15 republics. Each book dealt with a republic's history, culture, development, industry, agriculture, etc. They provide a fascinating look at the Soviet Union's accomplishments and plans. The series was known as the "Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union".

Over the coming weeks we will be taking a look at these books and the republics. The books will be slightly edited for length and repetition in some cases and the photographs and illustrations will be dispersed more evenly throughout the text.

In our first posts we looked at the Kirghiz SSR, Tajik SSR and Georgian SSRs in 1987. Written by Vladimir Serobaba and Sergei Kharchenko, this booklet looks at the Ukrainian SSR and is one of the longer installments with many photos. It looks at the formation of the Ukrainian SSR and the dramatic growth of its economy, educational facilities, healthcare, etc, during the Soviet era.

There is a great deal of information related to the evolution and expansion of agriculture and industry as well the immense challenges faced in the wake of the revolution and then the staggering destruction caused by the Nazi and fascist invaders and their collaborators during the Second World War (known as the Great Patriotic War in the former USSR).

The development of Ukrainian culture, education and language is dealt with along with the attempts to build at first adequate and then more spacious housing in the post-war era when the USSR was struggling with a nearly unimaginable housing crisis and shortage in the areas that had undergone Nazi occupation. This included the totality of Ukraine.

One notable part relates how the state ensured that all healthcare and education was free, that housing costs amounted to a tiny fraction of income and how vacations were all heavily subsidized. It looks at how the USSR sought to pay for and deliver this in practice. It also relates the story of how an American tourist to Kiev had a stroke while on vacation. Returning to the USA he eventually received a bill for a mere $29 for all the treatment he received as opposed to the $16,000 or so he would have faced had it happened when he was at home!

Among many other things in the booklet, we have also included the state emblem and flag as well as the epic painting "Soviet Government Is Proclaimed in the Ukraine". These are from a separate Encyclopedia of the Soviet Ukraine that we will be looking at at greater length in future posts.

(Click on scans to enlarge) 

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