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Were people happy in the eastern bloc?

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Soviet cogitations: 23
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Feb 2018, 23:56
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 27 Oct 2020, 03:09
Which evidence do we have that people were happy living in the USSR and the east bloc? By “happy” I mean “content/satisfied with their lives”. Are there statistics on this? Polls or studies made by eastern bloc countries, perhaps? I know there are many testimonies of people that lived there and speak fondly of those times, but what I actually look for is some sort of evidence from THOSE times, not from nowadays.
--The Revolution will not be made with silk gloves--
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 28 Oct 2020, 11:50
I think this is a difficult question to quantify in a meaningful way, because Soviet sociology/social sciences in general were catastrophically underdeveloped (to the point when they began to emerge in the late 1980s, they were for the most part almost immediately taken over by anti-communist elements such as T. Zaslavskaya).

However, there are a few case studies I know of that kind of document levels of happiness, for example Zsuzsanna Clark's recollection of how she grew up in Communist Hungary. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -life.html

There's also this book which seems to have made a lot of noise when it first came out, focusing on the issue of sexual satisfaction for the women under socialism: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=sovietempire&path=subst/home/home.html/Women-Have-Bette ... 1568588909 (haven't read it myself though).

Then there's Vladimir Shlapentokh's excellent "A Normal Totalitarian Society". Although he was a rabid anti-communist and dissident emigre before the collapse, Shlapentokh seemed to be one of those generally honest intellectuals who recognized the real achievements of socialism, and even admitted throughout his book, at a time when it was not in vogue to do so in the West, that most Soviet people genuinely supported the system.

Here are a few excerpts from "A Normal Totalitarian Society". Forgive the shoddy quality
:

https://sun9-37.userapi.com/RFPZMSEjjnu ... XJJUiQ.jpg

https://sun9-56.userapi.com/GARhjVlGI_P ... HLgRJs.jpg

https://sun9-26.userapi.com/RZK5PqYjinb ... nH_ukw.jpg

https://sun9-45.userapi.com/dYAF12cOfVy ... DXiRPA.jpg

https://sun9-51.userapi.com/iGYY10AmXJL ... y2W7FA.jpg

https://sun9-54.userapi.com/xhcdE3-ABM6 ... wKM1qY.jpg

https://sun9-75.userapi.com/65-MQvZOJq- ... aBAexA.jpg

https://sun9-7.userapi.com/v_g5l3Iregl7 ... 1n6pF0.jpg

https://sun9-55.userapi.com/p6XpYUQYS29 ... uLwuD8.jpg

https://sun9-4.userapi.com/UCw45w0scJga ... XYo4d4.jpg
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 23
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Feb 2018, 23:56
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 28 Oct 2020, 20:54
This is great! That book "A Normal Totalitarian Society" is exatcly what i'm looking for! Thanks for the images! How did you get this book? I'm unable to find it in Archive.Org or Library Genesis. I NEED this book in either .doc, or .pdf, or something.
--The Revolution will not be made with silk gloves--
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 29 Oct 2020, 14:54
No problem.

I actually purchased two copies of the book while living in Canada after reading part of it in university, giving one away to a friend and later ordering a second. It's one of only a dozen or so English-language books that I liked enough to lug to Russia with me when I moved back.

I searched around on Yandex a bit for an e-version of the book (in Russia things are generally more liberal as far as copyrights go, and this includes search engine results, for now). There seems to have been an 8.1 mb version of it on depositfiles at one point but it appears to have been deleted.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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