Based on an extensive reading of a broad range of women’s accounts of their lives in the Soviet Union, this book focuses on many hidden aspects of Soviet women’s everyday lives, thereby revealing a great deal about how the Soviet Union operated on a day-to-day basis and about the place of the individual within it.

Including testimony from both celebrated literary and cultural figures

and from many ordinary people, and from both enthusiastic supporters of the

regime and dissidents, the book considers women’s daily routines, attitudes and

behaviours. It highlights some of the hidden inequalities of an ostensibly egalitarian

society, and considers many wider questions, including how extensive was

the ‘reach’ of the Soviet regime; how ‘modern’ was it; how far were there continuities

after 1917 between the new Bolshevik regime and Russia’s imperial

past; and how homogenous and how mobile was Soviet society?

chapter 1|6 pages


chapter 2|23 pages

Born in the USSR

Soviet identities

chapter 3|19 pages

A happy childhood

chapter 4|21 pages

Looking for love

chapter 5|18 pages

Emancipation and equality

chapter 6|21 pages

Health and welfare

chapter 7|21 pages

Reproductive health and maternity

chapter 8|25 pages

Consumption, Soviet style

chapter 10|19 pages

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