Connect to share and comment
The tyranny of daily bribes has many Russians nostalgic for Soviet social services.
As a young mother in the Soviet Union, Irina Bezrukikh had few worries when trying to get her daughter into a good grade school. Education was free, and it took just a little sweet something to ensure winning the headmaster’s favor.
“I brought her a book by Boris Pasternak and a bottle of French perfume, and that was that,” said Bezrukikh, now 51. Her daughter, Katya, received a top notch, if strict, education, and now has a good job in media. She travels often and widely, reaping the benefits of a Soviet education combined with the relative freedom of the modern Russian state.
Katya, however, would have faced far greater challenges if she were born more recently.
Along with the fall of the Soviet Union came a collapse in social services. Long accustomed to free, high quality education and healthcare, decent pensions, secure jobs and apartments, Russians decry the loss of what they call “social guarantees,” just as they welcomed the country’s new openness and flood of capitalist goods...
Editor's note: The remainder of this article is restricted to members of GlobalPost Passport. Continue reading if you are a Passport member.
Passport helps GlobalPost support its worldwide news operation. By joining, you'll get exclusive in-depth reporting, regular access to our foreign correspondents, and a voice in the topics Passport covers. Support GlobalPost by becoming a member of our inner circle. Learn more about Passport's innovative community.