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15 achievements of technological progress that only the rich had in the USSR



Many Soviet people believed that in their country they were all equal. So thought those who huddled in communal apartments and lived from paycheck to paycheck, putting off from each paycheck to a tape recorder. At the same time, in some apartments it was possible to meet unprecedented wealth in the form of imported miracle technology and various gadgets for all occasions, writes

Still from the film "Ivan Vasilievich Changes His Profession" YouTube / Cinema Concern "Mosfilm"

Remember the mansion of the dentist Anton Shpak. How many "were acquired by back-breaking labor: three tape recorders, three foreign movie cameras, three domestic cigarette cases ..." Ordinary Soviet citizens could only dream of such riches. The difficulty was not even in acquiring a unique gadget (many had money), but in the very opportunity to buy any product. Everything was in short supply. We have compiled a list of things that only wealthy people with great connections could afford in the Soviet Union.

Washing machine

Until 1925, Soviet women washed by hand. It was a real torment. The linen was first soaked in soapy water (soap was always in short supply, so lemon juice was often used instead), then it was washed with a roller (sometimes linen was also boiled), and finally rinsed and dried. It took several hours to wash, by evening, women fell down. And in the morning they received aching back pain, hands with ragged knuckles, I did not want to look at my nails at all. The situation was different in rich houses. Back in the mid-1920s, washing machines began to be bought for nomenclature workers abroad. After the war, our country began to produce their own electric laundries, but not everyone could afford them. And getting a washing machine was not easy: as soon as they went on sale, people signed up for a queue that could stretch for several years. In the 1980s, rich ladies boasted to their friends about the Vyatka automatic washing machine, which completely freed women from hand washing.

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Air conditioning

In the USSR it was believed that "nature has no bad weather" and even the summer heat "must be gratefully accepted." Air conditioning was an expensive pleasure. Moreover, Soviet leaders saw in the air conditioner a kind of threat to the existing system. For example, in the media until 1955 it was forbidden to tell citizens about various climatic equipment. Progress cannot be stopped: in the 1970s, the first domestic air conditioners appeared in our country. Huge and too noisy, they were far from perfect. Their main minus is the price, which reached 350 rubles (while the average salary was 150 rubles).


The production of furnaces in which food can be reheated in a matter of seconds began in 1941. Before the outbreak of the war, scientists at the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of the Meat Industry presented a device that used ultra-frequency currents to process food. The terrible “forties, fatal” came, and they forgot about the development for several years. They returned to her only in the 1970s. In 1978, the first Pluton factory launched the first microwave ovens. The rich immediately began to decorate the kitchen with a stove and show it to guests. True, no one used this miracle stove daily. They preferred the oven, and warmed up the products on the stove.

Color TV

An indispensable attribute of wealth was considered color TV. The owners of this treasure held movie shows at home, to which all the neighbors came running. Color TV showed Soviet people a different world full of bright colors. Sports fans were especially happy. Try watching a football match on a black and white screen!

Still from the film "Ivan Vasilievich Changes His Profession" YouTube / Cinema Concern "Mosfilm"

Record player

In the early 1980s, a cassette recorder was considered a luxury item. With a cassette player, you could become the coolest guy in the whole area. Tape recorders took with them to the beach, on hiking trips, just carried out into the yard to show off in front of the girls. True, the performance of rocker songs with a guitar was still valued more than tape recordings.


Our mothers learned about disposable diapers only in the early 1990's. In Soviet times, diapers were mainly used. For older children sewed diapers from gauze. In rich families, diapers appeared much earlier. Mostly they were brought from Hungary. True, getting diapers was difficult.

Wrist Watch

The quality of watches made in the USSR is still attractive. Such watch brands as Rocket, Vostok, Seagull were appreciated all over the world. For example, during the Gulf War, the Americans supplied their troops with a commander's watch, which proved to be excellent in extreme conditions. Ordinary Soviet citizens could only dream about watches of domestic production. Some models cost as 2−3 salaries of factory workers.


In the late 1960s, on the basis of the Voronezh Scientific Research Institute of Communications, they created a device for mobile radiotelephone communications Altai, the predecessor of cellular. “Altai” was to become a full-fledged telephone, which could be talked on in a car. To make a call, just dial the desired number, bypassing the conversation with the dispatchers. Today it seems primitive, but at that time Altai was real know-how. Scientists have tried to make the Altai look like a regular apparatus with a handset and buttons. For the first time, automatic mobile communications began to be used in Moscow in 1965. At first, Altai appeared only in party cars. Few knew about the invention. The list of subscribers was approved by the Soviet Ministry.

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Not a single school disco could do without them. Acoustic system with the label "Made in the USSR" rattled in all rich houses. By the way, some columns are still appreciated. For example, acoustic equipment collectors are ready to pay a tidy sum for the “Radio Engineering S-90” columns.

Movie camera

Many could afford cameras, but an amateur movie camera was a symbol of wealth and prosperity. For shooting, in addition to the apparatus itself, it was necessary to purchase a film, which was also not cheap. By the way, with the help of a movie camera, they shot not only stories from life, but even created cartoons with various special effects in the form of accelerated and slow motion, with the advent of ghosts, etc.


Still from the film "Ivan Vasilievich Changes His Profession" YouTube / Cinema Concern "Mosfilm"

Car multimedia

The heroine of the film “The Most Charming and Attractive” forced to attract the attention of all the men of the design bureau after the appearance of the boyfriend at the “seven”, cool for that time. Yes, and with the radio! Only rich people could listen to music while driving. Is it possible to still wonder whether to marry or not to such a guy?


In the 1980s, only very wealthy people could afford computers. And they didn’t really understand how to use it. The first Soviet computer was called "Agate". It was created on the basis of Apple II with a ROM of only 2 KB. In 1987, Mikrosha appeared, a family computer whose image could be displayed on a TV screen. By the way, its cost was not so sky-high. It was possible to buy Mikrosha for 500 rubles. The users especially liked the Robotron-1715 computer, which was manufactured in the GDR. It had a convenient text editor and a large number of games, such as Tetris, Snake, Labyrinth, etc.

Electric shaver

In the West, men's electric shavers were recognized in the 50s of the last century. Two corporate giants — the inventions of Max Brown (Braun) and Alexander Horowitz (Philips) —was involved in the battle for consumer attention. But these creations did not reach Soviet citizens; in the territory of the USSR, technologies followed their own, parallel path. The first electric shavers in 1963 began to produce a consumer goods workshop at factory No. 40 (Ufa Instrument-Making Association). The first razor was called "Jubilee", then the "Agidel" series appeared, which became legendary. Every self-respecting Soviet man had such a razor.


For Soviet schoolchildren who wrote with fountain pens, the appearance of felt-tip pens was a real miracle. They were invented by the Japanese Yukio Hori in 1942, but in the Land of Soviets they learned about magic pencils with multi-colored inks only in the mid-1970s. They brought sets of felt-tip pens from the Czech Republic. Of course, only wealthy people could afford their purchase. After a couple of years, by 1985, felt-tip pens were put on free sale.


The first strange boards on wheels appeared on the streets of the Soviet Union in the late 1970s. Wealthy dads brought skateboards from abroad as gifts for their children. Those who could not afford new foreign sports equipment made skateboards on their own. It is good that a series of articles devoted to the manufacture of a “roller scooter” was published in the magazines “Young Technician” and “Skillful Hands”. The skateboard became especially popular after the release of Karen Shakhnazarov's movie “Courier”, in which there is a scene where teenagers perform stunts on skateboards.

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