The Dacha Life for Me

Six-hundred square meters and a structure better described as a hut than as a house.  The majority of Dachas were humble at best, but they were mansions to the Soviet citizens lucky enough to have one.  Life in the Dacha world was the life most mid-20th century Soviet citizens dreamed of.  The ability to be away from the world, to have a small vegetable patch, and to have a place that was, more or less, your own was the dream for many Russians.

Dachas Outside Moscow Source: http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/dachas/dachas-images/#bwg144/799

 

Under Stalin these prime pieces of real estate were only for party elites, but once the Khrushchev era dawned the privilege of inhabiting a Dacha was opened up to regular people.  The trade unions were each allocated a certain number of dachas and they distributed them to their members in varying ways.

The chance to escape the dirty city air was an exciting prospect in and of itself, so the couple hours long ride on electric trains out to Dacha country were definitely worth it to Russians.  They saved all their weekly effort to care for the Dachas that were not technically theirs.  The care and time spent on Dachas was only less than the care for their children.  Even though the state technically owned all Dachas the people who were lucky enough to have their own Dacha treated them like their most prized possession.

The Dacha mystique was so strong that even when someone was under suspicion there was hesitation from the trade unions to revoke the Dacha.  Perhaps if the Soviet Union had given their people more things to feel personal responsibility for they may have been more successful as a country.

Dacha Painting by Mikhail Kozell Source: http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/dachas/dachas-images/#bwg144/797

 

Further Reading:

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/dachas/

http://www.sras.org/russian_dacha

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3 Responses to The Dacha Life for Me

  1. I liked reading your post and learning about the Dacha houses. It’s interesting to note that the state may have owned several of these homes, but the individuals who were able to live in them were very concerned with the upkeep of them; we think about public or low-income housing in the United States, and this is not the case at all. I wonder if there were any shops or industry growth close to the Dachas, or if everyone had to commute into the main city for work.

    Really informative post!

  2. Tom Ewing says:

    The post effectively describes the powerful appeal of having a space of one’s own, especially in a society where employment, education, social life, and even family roles were determined to a great extent by the state. People grew attached to their dachas in part because they offered a space over which they had some measure of control.

  3. Emily B says:

    The idea of the dacha houses is interesting. I understand how badly people wanted their own places and power/feeling like they owned something. The people who were able to live in dachas took pride and full responsibility of their space. Very cool!

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