POLIS Discussion Group

Communism 20 Years On

Mrs Volha Piotukh

Life under communism was supposedly grim and joyless, with people spending their lives working in big factories and queuing for bread. However, although most people had to face a lot of difficulties on a daily basis, there was much more to their lives than that.
Under communism most people did have to work an awful lot to make ends meet. In order to cope with the constant lack of money and chronic shortages, most people had allotments and used them to produce their own fruit and vegetables, a lot of which were made into preserves. Swapping preserves and recipes was very common, and involved immediate and extended family, as well as neighbours, and it was one of many practices by which people not only helped each other to survive, but also established close communal relations. People knew they could rely on each other: borrowing from each other and pulling resources together was the order of the day. This true community spirit underpinned the whole social fabric, and was evident in hard times and also during celebrations.
Celebrations were not so much about gift giving, but rather about sharing a joyful event with others or just celebrating another day. Not having things made us use our creativity and imagination, and to treasure what we had and never take anything for granted, an admirable quality, long lost.
The Victory Day or Labour Day parades were something to look forward to, as was an annual general cleaning day, when people all over the country came to their work or study places informally dressed, with food and drink, to clean, to recycle, to plant flowers and trees, but, most of all, to enjoy doing things together, including a picnic at the end of a hard day’s work.
We always tend to feel nostalgic about the times passed. However, for many people these memories of our lives under communism are also memories of very different life values and aspirations, the loss of many of which is lamented today.

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  1. This was a really good talk that I think successfully highlighted the often uncosidered advantages of “life under communism”. While the talk definitely did not say that life was easy during these times, it suggested a few things could be taken from “life under communist rule” that can be applied to the society we live in today.

    It is definitely possible that things such as community spiritedness, more idea sharing and a greater trust in one another could go hand in hand with our current way of living. While I would not totally agree with the words “long lost”, I would certainly say that there could be more done to accomodate both a “capitalist” proffesional lifestyle with a more “socialist” personal one.

    An excellent talk!

  2. […]   “Communism 20 Years On.” Behind The News. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. https://behindthenewsleeds.wordpress.com/previous-events/communism-20-years-on/.   “Fidel Castro -.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. […]

  3. In reality communism have never been achieved to its full potential and thus there was never communism. sorry to hear of this grim happenings but if it was ever achievable(which is most likely not) it would be an absolutely different story.

    • Very wise!!! It’s totally true. In fact, nobody has experimented communism. There was no communism in URSS nor in North Corea nor Cuba. And certainly those “diseases” as long ques for bread can be seen in “non-communist” countries as well.

  4. I love communism it’s great

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