I grew up during the Cold War, and there was a whole lot that we were taught about the Soviet Union. I’m still not sure whether there’s any truth to some of them. But here’s a partial list of things if “you” were a citizen of the Soviet Union. Keep in mind, when I was young I believed all of this. Later (pre-teen age and older) I tended to doubt most of it, because of all the other things we were told that were obviously lies, such as info about drugs and the Vietnam war. Now, as I read some dissident Soviet literature, I see that at least some of it may have been true (to some extent).
[li]You’re not allowed to choose your profession, the government tells you what you are allowed to do.[/li][li]You don’t know what’s going on anywhere outside of the Soviet Union.[/li][li]You aren’t allowed to travel within the Soviet Union unless you have some kind of very special permission.[/li][li]Any time you have to buy anything, including food, you have to wait on a long line, and when it’s finally your turn, the dour salespeople treat you like dirt.[/li][li]It’s almost impossible to buy anything other than basic goods which are produced by the state. Fresh fruit, gourmet food, stylish clothing, etc. don’t exist.[/li][li]Doctors are paid the same as garbagemen. (This was supposed to be a bad thing.)[/li][li]The secret police are everywhere. It’s hard to have meaningful conversations with strangers (even if you’re a Soviet citizen) because anyone could be in the secret police.[/li][li]There’s always a neighbor who’s going to inform on you for something, even if it’s innocuous like listening to Beatles records.[/li][li]The state tells you where you’re allowed to live, and forces you to live with roommates even if you don’t want to.[/li][li]If you’re Jewish you’re spied upon more than most people, and have stricter rules about where you can work and about higher education.[/li][li]If you’re athletic, you get all kinds of privileges, and you are forced to take drugs so you beat other teams in the Olympics.[/li][li]Russian Olympic judges are all corrupt and always give low marks to Americans.[/li][li]You’re dying to buy jeans, but the only place to get them is the black market.[/li][li]The only place to buy anything good is the black market.[/li][li]You’re taught that the U.S. is a terrible place, and that there are millions of poor black people (actually not too far from the truth).[/li][li]There are communist meetings at work that you are forced to attend.[/li][li]Party members get preference in everything.[/li][li]Everything manufactured in the Soviet Union (including items for the space program) are inferior to those in the U.S. – except furs.[/li][li]The housing is inexpensive and medical care is free, but the quality of medical care is terrible.[/li][li]Soviet bombers could appear at any time over the U.S. to start a nuclear war.[/li][/ol]