Archive for August, 2010

A bit about family life in Russia

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

A Russian traditional family is normally composed of mother, father, children, and extended family. In the former Soviet Union the family traditions were strictly observed – the State was interested in it as after World War II there were too many broken families and too many children lost their families and it was not good at all neither for the children, nor for the grown ups.

Family traditions remain very strong. Now every generation lives separately, though earlier it was a normal thing, that 2-3 or even 4 generations lived together due to the lack of apartments and money for living. At the present moment more and more young couples have possibility to buy or to rent an apartment of their own and to start their family life.

My own family is very traditional, it consists of mother, father, my older sister and me. My grandparents from the dad’s side have died very early, I do not even remember them. As for my mothers’ parents – they always lived in another town and we met not so often – I only spent my summer vacations with them or they came to see us for a short time in St. Petersburg. My grandfather died in 1989, and grandmother – in 2010.

Now I live separately from my parents but in the same city – we see each other very often and I spend a lot of time with my mother – we luckily have very much in common and understand each other very well. We also usually celebrate all the main holidays like the New Year coming, Easter and birthdays together. (more…)

A bit about my Soviet childhood

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Though I was born in 1979 in the Soviet Union, I do not remember much about those times. The Soviet Union ended with my childhood. Childhood is a time when you just feel free and happy and do not realize many things that are around. I do remember some hard times – when we could not buy some products and even bread, when it was hard to buy some books, when my mother had to create clothes for me and my sister on her own – as the clothes sold in the shops was very ugly and inattractive. But at the age of 4-12 it was not realized – as we, children, thought it is just the way of living.

Now it is a history – but my friends and I we were happy to become oktyabryata – that was an organization for children of 8-9 years old – the first step to the communist party. It was not done under constraint, it was done willingly – it is compared with the Scout movement – we were involved into a great number of social events that had sense for us, that brought good to other people, to our ecology, to our culture. For example, we cared about our World War II veterans and memorial cemetries, we collected the waste paper for further recycling, we planted new trees in the areas we lived and went to school – we did something to improve life around us. At the age of 10 we became Pioneers, but it was not a long story – very soon, in 1991 the Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union came to an end together with the Soviet Union.
At that time I understood that my pioneer red scarf would become a part of history and I was willing to keep it for many years as the part of that time. Anyway, I failed. I lost it somewhere or may be someone of my relatives decided it was a useless thing and threw it away.

I would not now judge the political side of these youth organizations, as I didn’t feel any politics at that time. I would just say about the emotional part – we had an opportunity to be useful to the society and to be involved into many interesting events. I do remember the name of my penpal friend from Bulgaria, and I still keep a couple of her postcards to me telling about the life in her country. That was really amazing. I do remember how we wrote postcards to our World War II veterans on Victory days each year. I do remember how we collected old newspapers and magazines to pass them for the recycling – that was a true competition for us, we knew that we keep some trees alive in this way. I also remember that my friends and I had something in common, something uniting. Now we do not have any uniting organizations for children and teenagers. Children are not taught to care about those who are around, about nature and they do not have many friends. Do not know if they are lucky or not – they just live in the other time and in the other country.