Card Carrying Commies (2)

Last time we looked at what the members of the Soviet Communist Party used to carry around with them as proof of their membership. It was a little booklet:

This is the top half of the page which shows the Party Member who was No 11,286,415 in 1964 when she joined the Party:

The first line is her surname, with, printed in Russian “F-A-M-EE-L-EE-YA” with the Greek ‘Phi’, which is the word for ‘surname’. This lady is called “YA-TS-YEY-KA”. “я” is the sound “Ya” in English or “ja” in German. “YEY” should rhyme with ‘play’ and ‘stay’. There is an ‘o’ at the end of the name but it would be pronounced like the “a”  in ‘Carolina’. So her surname is “Yatsyeyka”.

The next line is her first name, which is “A-L-EE-S-A” …our “Alice”. Both names are handwritten in the special handwriting alphabet.

The next line is what is called a patronymic which is a name taken from your father. Alice is “I-V-A-N-O-V-N-A”, so her father was Ivan. Her patronymic is feminine. As a man, I would be “Frederickovich”. It’s no different from being “Svensson” or “Jonsdottir”, which would be my daughter’s name if we were Icelandic. 1932 is Aleesa’s date of birth, and “A-P-R-YE-L 1964” the date when she joined the Party.

Here is the bottom half of the page:

The bit above the photo refers to the issuing authority which is near Lvov in the Ukraine (now Lviv).

Aleesa received this particular membership book (bottom line) on November 23rd 1973. She may not be much of a looker, but a lot of Russian ladies are. In general, St Petersburg has the reputation of having the most beautiful girls, many of them with pale skins, brown eyes and very dark brown hair.




Filed under History, Humour, Politics, Russia

15 responses to “Card Carrying Commies (2)

  1. I think she might scrub up well after the application of a bit of slap. Don’t know what could be done about the ears though!

    • Well, if you watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’ you will know who Amy Farrah Fowler is, and the actress who plays her, Mayim Bialik is an attractive young woman, so there’s every chance for Alice. You do have a point about her ears though. All I can offer is that the Soviets did not have a monopoly with big ears, as all viewers of ‘Pointless’ will testify.

  2. I wonder how many party members became members to protect themselves and their families. And I wonder if I would have. Probably.

    • A further post goes on to talk about this. As far as I am aware, people joined to give access to better jobs, and to enjoy any facilities on offer such as the ballet or the opera. It’s a little like the situation in England where you may be much better off being a member of the Church of England rather than a Catholic, or in the USA with their host of secret societies which all presidents have been members of. The average citizen in the Soviet Union had a really good life under the Soviets compared to Russia’s pre-Revolution days (99% illiteracy and a life expectancy of 31), and indeed, compared to today where the division between rich and poor is becoming reminiscent of 18th century France or the present day USA.

      • Unfortunately I must agree with all that.

      • Jeff Tupholme

        I have a Hungarian friend who was a University student towards the end of the Communist period. She was never interested in the Party but one day a lecturer or tutor or someone of that standing said they would like her to join. She was very aware of the problems that could be created by turning down such an invitation, but managed to come up with a form of words along the lines of “I’m not ready yet”. Fortunately the other person took this to be a very wise judgement for a young person and said something like “Yes, you’re so right” and left it at that!

      • That sounds like an offer you can’t refuse! And what a wise answer for a young person to give. I think all societies have these organisations to keep the people at the top in power and to have themselves one day replaced by like minded people. For me they would include any church you care to name, the Freemasons, and, to name a couple of foreign ones, the Afrikaner Broederbond and the Bohemian Club. They are great for conspiracy theories and no doubt there are lots of others too secret for me to know.

  3. Phonics lessons will never be the same! Thank you John.

    • I have always thought that people automatically decide that the Russian alphabet is too difficult for them to bother with, but it’s not that bad!
      I suppose that one of the points I am trying to make is that the ordinary Russian is very like us. I spoke to ordinary people back in 1969 and they had the same worries and desires that we have.
      And while I’m at it, I think that their politicians nowadays are not that different from many of ours. Would Donald Trump be another Putin if he had the chance? And what about Jeremy and his colleagues if they ever come to power?

      • It certainly looks a complicated alphabet, bit there again many languages do to me. I’m pretty useless when it comes to learning them, flunking CSEs way back in the 70s. I do think you’re right about them though, the Soviet politicians are no different, and many of the western ones would do the same as them given half a chance.

      • Chris Waller

        I would most certainly agree with that. Most of the people I have met, be they from Japan, Poland, France, Spain or wherever, are, as they say, “just like us”, which is why I subscribe, intellectually at least, to anarchism, more so that expounded by H D Thoreau. Sadly it is politics, particularly that of nationalism, now disturbingly in the ascendant once again in Europe, that creates unnecessary antagonisms.

  4. Nationalists are invariably the people who say “I am proud to be a Pole” or “I am proud to be Hungarian”. I really do not recall being asked in the womb “What nationality do you want to be?”
    I would agree with you that a lot of these antagonisms are completely unnecessary but the other side of the coin is that lots of crime in Britain is a speciality of a particular national group, be it stealing pin numbers, pickpocketing, sex slave trafficking, modern slavery, sub-letting council property and so on. We would be foolish to naively let in people from certain countries without a careful check on their criminal backgrounds.

  5. Chris Waller

    A question on Russian pronunciation you can perhaps resolve. How do the Russians pronounce the name ‘Shostakovitch’? Is the stress on the ‘ta’ or the ‘ko’?

    • As far as I remember the name is pronounced “Shoss -TA- ka-vitch” with the second syllable emphasised. Much to my surprise, the Russians I spoke to back in the 1960s could not understand you if you got the stresses wrong.

      • Chris Waller

        Thank you for that clarification. I have always pronounced it in the English fashion, i.e. Shosta-KOH-vitch and was once corrected (rather sneeringly) by the assistant in a record shop. So, he was in fact, then, correct. You mention to the importance of rhythm and emphasis in spoken language and this is of course one of the ways we recognise a foreign speaker.

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