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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Differences in Life-Styles

Rural dwellers faced culture shock when moving from the countryside to the city. Until they were assimilated into their new way of life, they were marked by their dress, speech, and behavior. The rural existence they left behind was slower paced and socially and economically more homogeneous than life in the cities. They no longer received essential services, such as housing, medical care, job training, and entertainment, from their village communities but rather from their urban employers. Their new urban neighbors not only saved less of their wages each month but also spent an average of three times as much on leisure and culture.

The difference between urban and rural society was also reflected in housing conditions. Rural inhabitants traditionally lived in detached houses and had access to private garden plots. These rural gardens provided produce either for home consumption or for sale. City dwellers, in contrast, did not usually have this extra source of income. And although rural housing sometimes lacked indoor plumbing and other features of urban housing, it was roomier.

One major legal difference between urban and rural dwellers disappeared in 1976, when collective farmers were issued internal passports (see Glossary) required for travel outside of their particular district. Before 1976 collective farmers were obliged to obtain the permission of employers before such travel was allowed.

Data as of May 1989