Card Carrying Commies (5)

One of my very best friends, whom I have known since Infants’ School, has always been a keen photographer. In 1989 he decided to go to Berlin on one of those cheap European flights. As luggage, he took with him a camera and a large hammer. He wanted, I suppose, to help history along on its way:

By December 25, 1991, the desire for change had spread to the USSR. The Soviet hammer and sickle flag over the Kremlin was pulled down for the last time. Mikhail Gorbachev, a good man, was replaced by Boris Yeltsin.

Here’s Gorbachev and Yeltsin:

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And the world that Aleesa and Vladimir had known all their lives comes crashing down. For years and years, Aleesa has come into the office with her Party dues. She has paid her money every single month without fail, to the only organisation she has ever belonged to. And then, she goes along to pay for May 1990, perhaps thinking it will help with the cost of the celebrations to mark the end of the Great Patriotic War on May 8th or perhaps even May Day itself. The day which celebrates the Workers of the World. But the Party is over. Gone for ever:

Vladimir will experience exactly the same process. He goes in one day to pay his 1 rouble 13 kopecks and there’s nobody to take it from him. Why, they’ve even written the next year on the blank page, so certain were they both that the Party would be there for ever:

But now, there are just lots and lots of blank pages, each with the number of a future year already inked in in the top right hand corner. Life though, has changed for ever:

Even “Zolochevskiy” has changed as I found out when I googled it. In my previous post, “Zolochevskiy” was the name of the local administrative area of the Communist Party. I skimmed through four news reports thrown up by Google and I found nothing at all about any branches of the old Communist Party.

“Zolochevskiy” was there though, but the stories were all reported with the kind of vocabulary such as:

“Anti-Corruption Bureau, colossal greed, corruption, crime, criminal proceedings, dirty money, embezzlement, illicit assets, laundering, mafia, misappropriation, possible abuses, proceeds from crime, seizure of property through abuse of official position, stacks of treasures, suspicion of illegal enrichment and the wanted list.”

How sad. The Party fades away and is replaced by something lots, lots worse. And that’s not just the Ukraine, of course. Plenty of other ex-members of the Soviet club are much, much worse off than they ever were before. Whole countries run by criminal elements. Fixed elections. Old people forced to beg in the streets because their pension funds have been stolen.

Don’t worry though. I’m sure that somebody will come along and save them all:


Filed under History, Humour, Personal, Politics, Russia

18 responses to “Card Carrying Commies (5)

  1. More fascinating history of our lifetime

  2. As always, you are a good historian, but as a Brit not only is that last inappropriate, but historians should not insert their own feelings.

    • It is never my intention to upset anybody with my posts so if I have upset you, you do have my fullest apologies. I have taken down the video of the Leningrad Cowboys’ song and replaced it with a photograph of Vladimir Putin. And once again, my apologies.

      • It is my fault, John. We have so many complaints and arguments going around – I’m at the point of total frustration. We try to help everyone, yet get nothing but arguments in return. I should never have said anything, I know you better.

      • It’s OK. Actually, I was only having a laugh about the similarity of haircut, because the Leningrad Cowboys, as far as I know, pre-date the Trump administration by at least five years so they weren’t specifically imitating him as far as I know.
        And please say what you want to. The moment that free speech is frowned upon, we really have started to lose the plot!

      • I know what you mean.

  3. All these events happen and life has to go for the common people, facing so many hardships. Thank you for sharing. Regards

    • Yes, the ordinary people are the ones who have to suffer the burdens of life while the politicians, who are supposed to be curing them, carry on in their own little world. There has been a lot of interest over here in the giant statue in northern India which has been on TV recently, and, while people admire it as an achievement, there are a lot who think that the money could have been spent elsewhere. Having said that, British governments still remain the experts at wasting money!

      • Yes, there are so many opinions. If some say it is a big waste, others say so many have been given employment in the making of it. But Sardar Patel, whose statue it is, would never have wanted one. This is a political drama.

      • Thank you for that interesting idea. Absolutely no news broadcast in England has mentioned Mr Patel in any detail and they have certainly not offered any ideas about what he himself might have thought of the statue.

  4. John Page

    Hi John,

    I have sent you a story or two from my rather adventurous life but the attachment photographs I sent apparently met a snag. I merely wanted to make them available should you decide to use any of my stuff. I hope you received everything in the end.
    Kind Regards, Dr. John A Page (ON 1948-1953)

  5. Fascinating as always John. It’s awful for those who were paid up members and reliant upon the party, to see it just stop overnight. But I guess that happens all the time and is sadly part of life everywhere!

    • Absolutely. From the dinosaurs to Woolworths, it’s happening all the time! It must have been one hell of a shock, though, to go down to the local Party Office and find that your entire way of life had gone down the tubes. There is a fairly small Russian Communist Party now but they are not very successful. I think that it is pretty difficult to be successful politically in present-day Russia, especially with the Putin Party elected time after time after time.

  6. Chris Waller

    The collapse of the Iron Curtain and the end of apartheid were two events I never thought I would live to see. Sadly, neither has delivered the expectations of those times. I have always thought that if our politicians had worked with Mikhail Gorbachev instead of wallowing in triumphalism at ‘defeating the Reds’ then we might not now have Putin.

    • I too thought I would never see the end of the USSR and the Cold War. I can remember saying to my wife on one occasion “What a pity I shall never live long enough t see the end of the Cold War. I wonder who will win?” And bugger me, a week later, and the Berlin Wall is in a million pieces.
      A cracking example of “Be careful what you wish for “. It was certainly a lot simpler dealing with the Communists than the people who are now in charge of the country.

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