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Monday, November 12, 2007

October Revolution Celebrations in Kyiv

November 7 marked the 90th anniversary of the event that tossed Ukraine into the meat grinder of the Soviet experiment.

Red babushka: I just stand here with this flag for a while, and I can do without Validol. And I don’t need any medication. I feel better, and the heart starts pounding [as in the lyrics to “I Vnov Prodolzhayetsya Boi” (“Again the Battle Continues”), the background song].

Twin babushkas: How can we miss it? It’s our Khreshchatyk.

Activist masquerading as a Red sailor: A past of solidarity? You mean that past when they gave people free apartments, free education, free health care — that, basically, is a good past. I wish we had a future like that. The worse we live, the more popular our ideas.

Activist wearing a budenovka: There’s only one guide — the Communist Party. A wrathful people’s rebellion awaits the oligarchy. Glory to the Great October Socialist Revolution! Hurrah, comrades!

Background music: The Internationale (Russian Version)

Red babushka: I sing everyday. There’s nothing left for me to do but to sing. Now there are all kinds of nasty songs being written, “Come on, come on, give it to me, give it to me."

A group of people singing
Smelo My V Boi Poidem” (“Bravely We’ll Go to Battle”):

Za vlast Sovetov (For the Soviets’ power)
I vse my kak odin umryom (And all of us will die like one)
V borbe za eto (In our struggle)


“The worse we live, the more popular our ideas.” So, maybe the commies and oligarchs need each other more than they can tell us?

Video uploaded from:

Click here for a photo report.


Anonymous said...

These people need to get a life. Do they really look to anyone like they're having fun?

I can imagine a young guy asking a girl out on a date - "hey, gorgeous, let's go over to Lenin's statue and sing the Internationale, and wave our fists in the air and sing songs about the glory of the Revolution."

That'll sweep any beautiful girl off her feet - NOT.

Have they never heard of "make love, not war"?

Why do they constantly want to battle?

I think "give it to me, give it to me" is much better than "oorah, let's go into battle."

These people are delusional. They simply cannot admit that they made a BIG, HUGE mistake, and that their parents LIED to them, BIG TIME.

Everything for free? Free living quarters, free food, etc.?

I saw the "free living quarters."

They sucked big time - one room, with a communal bathroom down the hall.

Well, except for the people who were more equal than others - they had dachas and all sorts of other stuff.

Taras said...


These elderly Sovok folks are what they are. We can’t change them. It’s their little lost world. What we can and should change is stabilnist, or Sovok 2.

Most Ukrainians can’t even afford the meager housing and healthcare privileges they enjoyed under the Soviet system of the 70s and 80s.

Of course, young people can make love. But when millions of them have no jobs, no place to raise their families, they will make war. “The worse we live, the more popular our ideas.” Exactly!

The struggle for the hearts and minds boils down to changing the system before it’s too late.

Anonymous said...


"during communism, we had jobs and money, but no goods; now, we have goods, but no money"

the commies have one good point - there is point to having an oligarchy.

but there is no point to going back to commies, either.

Benazir Bhutto just said somethign to this effect - "it's dangerous to oppose a military dictatorship; but it's more dangerous not to."

These people are living in a dream world. I know what it was like during sovok times, and they are fantasizing. Free health care? You paid the doctor under the table.

Free food? You're kidding.

"We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."

TANSTAAFL, pronounced "tanstaffel" -
there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

You are absolutely right - the thing to change is Sovok 2.

Democracy, true democracy, is like giving birth to a baby. It's painful, but once you give birth, the pain is over, and it's beautiful and it grows.

as opposed to commies - "sit down, shut up, we'll take care of you at minimal levels, as long as you do and think and say what we want. And if you don't do and think and say what we want, we'll kill you."

One is a garden - the other is an acrid cesspool.

Those people are delusional, no matter how many stupid songs they sing, and no matter how much they pump their fists in the air.

Taras said...

Stabilnist is Sovok’s alter ego. Most people who vote stabilnist visualize Sovok. Neither of these social contracts will do Ukraine any good.

Stabilnist is an agitprop simulation of Sovok’s most prosperous era — the petrodollar-financed consumer paradise of the mid 70s to the mid 80s.

People moved into separate apartments, as opposed to kommunalkas. They could buy food in abundance, as long as they spent a few hours standing in those lines. Healthcare and education was provided by the state free of charge.

Today, most of these "freebies" are out of reach for millions of Ukrainians. The plants and factories they worked at are now the property of people who just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

That’s where their nostalgia comes from.

For Ukraine to be successful, she needs to find her way out of this nostalgia-enshrouded Sovok 2 maze.

Bravecat said...

I can't blame them, really. My heart breaks every time I happen to see Ukraine/Russia on telly and I see old people looking lost, dejected, miserable. The young still have their options. But the old? To have their ideas, beliefs, their entire lives dismissed and labeled wrong? So yes maybe they are dinosaurs, but just like dinosaurs they'll go extinct in a few years, and they will take with them the morals, ethics and some semblance of real patriotism and devotion to their country.

Anonymous said...

In the late 70's, people were walking up to foreigners in the streets in order to buy jeans (Левіс і Вренґлерс) and collecting chewing gum, if they could, from foreigners, and American cigarette pack wrappers (empty cigarette packes).

In 2006, Moroz, among others, was making nice noises during the televised debates about how money for medical care ought to get to where it's actually intended.

Again, you are absolutely right - Sovok 2 needs to go.

That's why Ukraine has such a huge underground, or "black" economy.

That's why the sovok paradise had such a huge underground economy (among other things, people trading rubles for dollars, at the risk of being arrested for шпекуляція).

As long as the oligarchs view government as simply a means to maintain and continue their own grabitization, and as long as people continue to let them do it - Ukraine is going nowhere.

Except to Poland and Portugal and Scotland and Ireland and Germany and Canada and the US.

Taras said...

It’s the political system in which they believe that proved to be wrong, Cat.

And, of course, you can’t change an old person’s belief system. I know that from my extended family experience.

But we can change today’s system, a system that is just as wrong.

Until we change the system, too many young and old people will have too few options in this country.


Yeah, the folks who traded jeans and currencies were called fartsovshchiki.

Exactly! As long as some Ukrainians vote for stabilnist, others will have to vote with their feet.

Anonymous said...


You are amazing! I don't know how you find these links, but I am truly amazed!

Here's another product of the glorious paradise ---

they went through your mail, especially if it was from overseas.

It took a very long time for mail from overseas to get to you.

And if you had relatives that were overseas,that was even worse. They frequently came to your humble home, or around it.

To make sure that you weren't getting some sort of weapon or contraband from decadent overseas capitalist imperialist pigs.

Who were "they"? "They" were the people who actually came to your window and to your door to check to see if there were priests in your town or village, or
overseas "contraband," or if you were listening to Voice of America.

"They" were the people who supported and tolerated this kind of terror. "They" were the people who were so lost, that "they" did not know how to organize against it, much less speak out against it.

"They" were the people who allowed only one foreign musician - Duke Ellington (Дук Елінґтон).

Who were "they"?

Taras said...

Thank you, Elmer!:)

You can call History Man!:) (I fell in love with history as a kid.)

That our mail was carefully screened is no secret. We had no freedom of speech, no freedom of information, no secrecy of correspondence. We lived in a Big Brother state. And we were part of that state.

During détente, the Iron Curtain loosened up a little. Jews were allowed to emigrate. Western bands were allowed to perform in the Soviet Union. The Iron Curtain became slightly more porous culturally.

Duke Ellington toured the USSR in the mid 50s through the early 70s. Boney M and Elton John packed Soviet concert halls in 1978 and 1979, respectively. The Beatles were quite popular among the youthful Soviet intelligentsia.

Many nonconformists regularly tried to sift through those heavily jammed VOA/RFERL/BBC broadcasts.

Here’s an interesting piecethat explores the impact of Western culture on the USSR.

Anonymous said...

How about this, Taras?

The more worn the jeans, the better.

It signified "status" - that you were able to purchase them yourself, and to hold on to the jeans through thick and thin for a long time.

Also, "Hotel California" by the Eagles was on the "official it's OK" list. I don't know how they made it, but they did.

"you can check in, but you can't check out."

How the hell does it get so bad?

Taras said...

Jeans communicated status and nonconformism. People who wore jeans were called stilyagas. And yes, the more worn, the more hip.

Check out this link on Soviet fashion:)

P.S. Pink Floyd had been ideologically OK for a while, until they said this:

brezhnev took afghanistan
begin took beirut
galtieri took the union jack
and maggie over lunch one day
took a cruiser with all hands
apparently to make him give it back