Archive for December 30, 2008

Alexandra’s Grandfather: Soviet Economic Conditions

I. Introduction  Today our economic conditions are more free and people can work and earn various amounts of money, all that we call the capitalistic system. But even today,  people do not think about what our parents, grandparents, ancestry went though, how was an economy different in  the Soviet Union period and how was it difficult to survive in harsh economic conditions. During the Soviet period, many people in Kazakhstan had no jobs or opportunities to earn money for food, but those who survived had their own ideas and ways to educate themselves.

II.   Why did this problem happen – war

Actually, the first point was war, because conditions which war brought were awful. In other words, the whole economic system has been devastated. Economy during Soviet time became very strict, influential and economic conditions which everybody had were equal. The Soviet Union’s ability to achieve appropriate goals declined, along with the attractiveness of its economic model (Stone, 1999).  Moreover, not all people were responsible for work. But on the other hand, it is difficult to believe that, at one time, the Soviet approach to economic development, or at least the sanitized version of it, was often held out as a worthy model for developing countries (Goldman, 1991).  

III.           Extent of problem –children having to work, no clothes

Nevertheless, such an economic situation had a great impact on people. For instance, women were the highest labor force and children as well. Women worked in an economy that espouses equal pay for equal work, but in which the wage gap between men and women was as large as in most other countries (Clayton & Millar, 1991). Real living conditions were terrible especially for families with many children. Because after the war period, the birth rate was on its expansion. This meant that having many children in families, the children had to work. Also, other problems such as no clothes occurred.

IV.            Effects of problem – bad conditions of life, effects the health and psychology of children

How did an economy affect simple people? Of course, bad conditions of life, no money to feed family, health and psychology problems of  children and etc. First, bad conditions of life. According to my grandfather, Melis, his family which consisted of 11 children, had terrible conditions , they lived in apartment of one room. In Soviet times, there were lots of such families, all they experienced situations when there was no money and no food to feed the whole family. Not everyone could get an education, buy school uniforms, and even for work. Sometimes, it was difficult, because according to an official Soviet statistics, women’s jobs required an advanced education (Clayton & Millar, 1991). It strongly was occurred because some people could not even to read, for example, my grandfather’s mother. Moreover, such principles as “to each according to his work”, “equal pay for equal work” affected many (Chapman, 1989).

V.   Solution – experience

Each family had their own ways and ideas on how to survive in such conditions. There were many problems, serious, sometimes vitally important. Opportunity to work and study was very difficult because of  high requirements on work places and opportunity to receive a chance to feed one’s own family. Different people tried different ways, for instance, scientists tried to change regime itself, but in their own interests (Pollock, 2001). My grandfather, Melis Usupov, experienced many harsh ways for money receiving. For instance, when he was a teenager, he had to work for possibility to buy school uniform and books. He lived in Guryev, on the river Ural, where he had chance to sell and caught fish for money or food. Actually, Melis was very young and he did not know how his father or mother handled all their problems. By the way, this period of history brought enormous experience to our ancestors. Now their opinion and thoughts are significant for us, because we know what they went though, what they experienced. In other words, this period of history should be treated as treasure, because we can hear from them.  

VI.            Conclusion

During Soviet Union period Kazakhstan was confronted with many difficulties.  Situations that each of our ancestors experienced were terrible and those people we call “heroes”. They are real “heroes” of that time and moreover of our time. My grandfather is still alive and his stories about Soviet conditions of life helps me and others to treasure current life and take care of close people. Grandparent’s experience proves problem of job opportunities and that everybody had to follow by his own way in order to survive.


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