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    So, a bit more about the Soviet cars. In 1966, the Soviets signed a contract with FIAT to license the production of FIAT-124. It was a brand new design that ended up winning the European car of the Year award in 1967. The Soviet engineers actually preferred the French Citroen but Brezhnev struck a deal with the Italian autoworker union off his personal friendship with the then recently diseased head of the Italian Communist Party Palmiro Togliatti. Togliatti spent the Mussolini years in the USSR and, oddly enough, died there while on vacation in Crimea in 1964. The production was placed in a city named after Togliatti, near a city formerly named Kuybyshev (now back to its pre-USSR name of Samara). In the USSR, it was sold as Zhiguli for the nearby river. In Europe and Canada, it was sold as Lada.

    For the Soviet use, the car had to be reinforced and rode on much higher suspension than its Italian sibling. That made it horribly unstable in corners. But it was the first modern car in the USSR, when it went into production in 1970. When the production ended in 1994, it wasn't quite as modern.


    This is my favorite version, 2103. It was supposed to have a 70 hp engine but its 0-100 km was around 20 seconds. My old 1986 Honda Civic had 65 hp and went 0-60 in ~ 12.5. Given the same weight and a similar H-manual transmission, the Soviet numbers seem exaggerated. Nonetheless, when Zhiguli appeared on the Soviet roads in the early 1970's, it was a very prestigious car than was priced around 7,500r, when the average wage was ~ 1,400r per year. 2103 was around 8,500r in the early 80's.

    Edit - a January, 1975 test of the export version in Autocar (in English). Priced at 999!
    Last edited by DLD; 09-29-2020 at 09:22 PM.

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    Soviet era comic/satire/humor magazine -

    The lady falls down (off slick iced steps, while wearing high heels)

    Husband - you didn't break anything, did you?

    Finds the bottle of vodka intact.

    Husband - Oh, thank G-d.


    Soviet humor.

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    1960, by Vladimir Bogdanov. He titled it ~, "Fancy Furs and quilted jackets". The quilted jackets were the outdoor and military clothing, made up of stuffed cotton. Very rudimentary, very heavy and soon very smelly... but very effective in cold weather.

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    I went to a Soviet version of a "magnet" school. I got into the top study group via a connection (the top physics teacher was a neighbor of ours and my dad's friend). As a part of being exceptionally gifted, we began to study computer programming (FORTRAN, COBOL, PL1) and soon, three quarters of the top floor's lobby was taken by a mainframe. At the time, the Soviets imported the Hungarian made IBM knockoffs. Which looked like the above photos.

    I have no idea on the specs. The computer was installed in 1977, so whatever IBM was making circa 1972 sounds about right.

    The Soviets kind of/sort of competed reasonably well on the mechanical components but lagged terribly in electronics. Around 1977-78, they began to negotiate with the Japanese about licensing their VHS VCR's and other items. The VCR they got was a 1978 top loader Panasonic NV2000, which came out in 1982 as Electronica BM-12. It was priced at 1,200R (half an average engineer's annual wage) but because it was in huge demand, the "used" prices were around 2,500r. In good condition. A basic 2-head Japanese VCRs were sold in assignment stores only for 3,500r+. And, much like with cars, the VCR was kept in production until 1994.



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    I uploaded the "svimver. eveninkver" ad onto my FB page a couple of months ago .. showed it to my new friends from "over there" ... they never saw it before ... and found it amusing ... a 35 year old video ....

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    A weekend open air market, somewhere in the countryside, with the patrons arriving via their regular transport.

    The catch is that this is 1961.

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    Something more uplifting. A few shots of popular and attractive Soviet era female stars.

    Evgenia Simonova, actress (early 80's)


    Irina Ponarovskaya, singer/actress, late 1970's.


    Irina Alferova, actress, 1980's.


    Irina Azer, actress, 1970's.


    Lyudmila Senchina, singer and sometime actress, 1970's.


    Natalya Vavilova, actress, early 80's.


    Natalya Trubnikova, ballet dancer, actress, late 70's..


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    A more prosaic memory.


    A bus/train fare machine from those days. Often accompanied by a 'conductor" who took your change and gave back the ticket that looked like that.


    Self-service from 1960's.

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