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Post-Soviet Era Eccentricities and Kitsch

Just couldn’t keep myself from posting several kitschy things I came across after returning from Greece this summer. You know, this theory – developed partially by Leo Tolstoy – of a changed state of mind (kind of ostranenie of Soviet formalists…  ooops, I still remember all that linguist wisdom), when you notice some things that used to be so ordinary and familiar after some illness or travelling or whatever. This is my state of mind now – I tend to be more attentive to details and foolish things =)

Just to make you understand where I live and what is here to stay from the hard Soviet times. Paraphrasing Ilf and Petrov, ‘grave heritage of Soviet regime‘. So here we go (I apologize for the poor photos, they’ve been taken mostly with my mobile phone camera)

Lot #1

How’s that? The sledge in Russian is ‘sanki‘ and it’s the most common means of transport for the citizens from the age group 1-12 years =) And if you park your sanki in front of children goods store, don’t forget to secure it with a cord and a lock! No kidding, but several days after I passed the same spot and saw only the cord. No kidding.

Lot #2

 Hmmm… This eeeeeemmm throne welcomes you in the eeeeh lobby of the hairdresser’s in my suburb town. No, please, don’t think there’s only one hairdresser over here, of course not, but it’s my Mother’s favourite. The chair is certainly inherited from the hard Soviet times marked with a eeeeeh special aesthetic attitude towards notions of design, comfort and taste. Hmmmm.

Lot #3

Here are some gems of post-Soviet shop window decoration, this particular case is of a sanitary goods shop right next to the famous hairdresser from the picture above. You see a very nice lady welcoming you (although a bit faded) and even several examples of what you can buy there. Marvelous! The reflection in the window is a late-Soviet block of flats. they were everywhere, absolutely identical and ugly. Guess if they’re better inside?

Lot #4

Some more of Russian shops kitch – here you can find Furniture, Flowers, Shoes, Clothes, Bags, all under one roof of an ex-military factory that was – as my Mum recalls – just on the edge of the town once, was a closed (quasi-secret) organization during my childhood and now – the factory is still guarded from the pedestrians with some wires but its territory has diminished dramatically. You think we live in a garbage bin? Well, in some way you’re quite right.

Lot #5

Those are the gates of that ex-military factory, Voenohot (a typical Soviet-style abbreviation), the gates are open in a welcoming gesture, come, come inside and enjoy shopping! I guess a normal Soviet citizen would not have believed that!

Lot #6

And for the dessert – some ‘Parisian’ Cucumber seeds package which contains besides a veeeeeeeeery useful proverb for all of you cucumber lovers – ‘Yesterday cannot be caught up (reached), tomorrow cannot be avoided’. Weeeeell, in what way IS it useful for gardeners? Anyway, my Granny hasn’t even noticed that=) Such proverb package placing is somehow popular these days, we have Milk and Kefir packages with some proverbs and saying connected with them, such as (a satirized phrase from MilkyWay commercial) ‘Milk is two times funnier if [it comes] after cucumbers’ =) You would definitely buy this Milk out of the sheer pleasure of proverbs =)

I tagged this post as fun, but sometimes I doubt much if there’s anything to laugh at or rather to cry, but surely I prefer to be a little bit more positive and to prolong my life with some healthy laughs.

This is it for today from the post-Soviet eccentricities.

Coming soon,

G.

P.S. tomorrow I have a job interview finally, after a long dead season.

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