Goodbye Village, Hello City!

1980 Soviet poster stating “We are loyal to the fields of our fathers!” 

1962 saw the rising of prices on many consumer goods, under the regime of Khrushchev. Aside from leading to many outbursts and revolts (such as the one that occurred in Novocherskassk in June of 1962), this rise in the price of goods also led to more government subsidies to agriculture (Freeze 441). Over the next 20 years, government subsides to agriculture made up eleven percent of the state’s budget (Siegelbaum 2013).

Despite the increased money being given to agricultural communities, people were still leaving the villages in favor of a perceived better life in the urban centers. As the rural population continued declining, the government wished to narrow the gap between in the living standards of those in the cities and those in rural areas. To do this, it adopted programs intended to channel funds to rural areas, specifically the “material-technical base” of the countryside (Siegelbaum 2013). These efforts however failed to satisfy Soviet farmers and the exodus from the countryside continued.

Its interesting that this decline in people’s interest in agriculture seems to coincide with the rise of popularity in cultural things like movies, music and television and an increase in consumerism. It would seem that there was really nothing the government could do to encourage people to stay in agricultural areas, when urban centers could offer so much culture.

Resources:
Sieglebaum, Lewis. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. 1980: The Dying Russian Village, 2013.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia A History. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. 441. Print.
Picture:
http://www.soviethistory.org/images/Large/1980/536.jpg?rand=258015314

2 thoughts on “Goodbye Village, Hello City!

  1. I was interested to learn that village life was slightly better than life in urban centers. I think it was also great how you explained the similarity with people’s interest in agriculture and the rise of popularity in cultural movies. You do a really great job!

  2. You make a great point in the last paragraph that the government could do little to continue to encourage people to live the agriculture life. In my opinion I would go with the new interests of movies, music and television. Good post!

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