#1 Back In The U.S.S.R
U.S.S.R. stands for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a huge communist empire existing during the years 1922 -1991. Widespread economic problems like unemployment, chaos and often violence were prevalent right before and after the communist union had dissolved, especially during the 1990's. Countries that made up the U.S.S.R. were: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
#2 Recycling: Vodka Bottles For Change
After the U.S.S.R. fell and Boris Yeltsin succeeded Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, there was a lost opportunity for liberal democracy and genuine free markets to emerge. By 1995, 40% of the Russian Federation population lived below the official poverty line and 36%, "only a little above it". Life had gotten worse for the middle and lower classes, with an exception for a small minority at the economic top.
#3 The First Of Western Shops
Can you imagine the culture shock immediately following the fall of communism? Privatization was encouraged and although wealth concentrated in the top classes, the exposure of "life" outside the ex-Soviet Union became evident to all. More Russians began to travel and attend education abroad, which brought new insights home. New television stations were broadcast, corruption was exposed as running rampant in businesses as well as within the government.
#4 August 1991: Attempted Coup
A woman after the attempted 2-day political coup d'état against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. Members within the government's Communist Party, the CPSU, staged a campaign of civil resistance against Gorbachev's ambitious reform program for an open "economic and political restructuring". The coup claimed the lives of three victims in Moscow and became the beginning of the end of the former Soviet Union.
#5 Last Days Of The Iron Curtain: U.S.S.R.
The government's military moved to Moscow's Red Square at the beginning of the August 1991 coup. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was toppled but in the end, much of the military had decided to back him. Although Boris Yeltsin denounced the coup, power was eventually transferred to him In November 1991. In addition to being president, Yeltsin became prime minister of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.
#6 Novokuznetsk In Siberia, Russia
Novokuznetsk was recognized for its outstanding coal-mining and steel-manufacturing production after WWII. But massive work strikes by the Kuznetsk and Donets Basin coal miners prior to the U.S.S.R. fall weakened Gorbachev's government while crippling the industries. This resulted in years of bleak living and economic conditions for the community. Today it remains a steel, mining equipment, chemical, and aluminum town.
#7 Shopping Lines Everywhere In Novokuznetsk
Shopping in the U.S.S.R. during the final years of communist rule makes U.S.A.'s "Black Friday" seem like a cakewalk. Buying groceries and essential goods required standing in long, slow-moving lines. By 1991, the Soviet Union was in a severe economic and political crisis, making shortages the norm on almost all products. Imagine waiting in line for hours just to find in the end there is nothing to buy!
#8 Shopping In Tula, Russia
People wait in line for food supplies due to shortages in November 1991. Days after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., Boris Yeltsin embarked on a program of radical economic reform, but it looks like the effort to restore Soviet capitalism and "convert the world's largest command economy into a free-market" wasn't working! By 1992, prices skyrocketed and brought about a long lasting depression.