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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Blue-Collar Workers and Manual Laborers

The category of blue-collar workers included those who performed manual labor in industrial enterprises as well as those on collective farms and state farms engaged in transport, construction, and other nonfarming activities. In the late 1980s, blue-collar workers and their families made up about two-thirds of the country's population.

The CPSU has always loudly proclaimed blue-collar workers to be the backbone of the state and the most honored segment of society. Although newspaper accounts and photographs glorified their labor accomplishments, blue-collar workers were masters in name only. Only 7 percent belonged to the CPSU, the ruling group, and their pay and benefits were close to the national average and considerably less than those of the elite.

Data as of May 1989