Russian Husband, Soviet Childhood

Being married to someone from another country is not as strange as I thought it would be. I thought our cultural differences would be a much bigger deal than they actually are. Probably this has a lot to do with the fact that we have both lived in each other’s countries, we both speak each other’s native language, and we both have enormous respect for each other’s cultures.

Honestly, cultural differences don’t play that big of a role in economist husband and I’s relationship. Family differences affect our marriage more than cultural or language barriers.

One difference, however, that never ceases to fascinate me, is our childhoods. He grew up in Communist Russia. I grew up in suburban America. I love looking at his black and white childhood pictures – dressed up in a suit to go to school, checking out books about Lenin from the library, playing sports at pioneer camp. So different from my grainy childhood pictures playing on lush green lawns with barbie dolls, and wearing “Little Mermaid” sundresses.

These Soviet kindergarten pictures were taken a good 20 years before economist husband was born, but I still think they merit inclusion in this post...

I’m so curious about it – what was it like to grow up in the Soviet Union? I wish I could get a peek into his past. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in one of his grade school classrooms, or skiing competitions or in his living room while he watches “Ну Погоди!” cartoons.

Has anyone seen this movie “My Perestroika”? It looks so interesting! I’d love to watch it with economist husband and see what he thinks…

P.S. more Soviet kindergarten pictures here

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4 Responses to Russian Husband, Soviet Childhood

  1. Anastasia says:

    Interesting, people actually making comments about sadness in kids’ eyes. Just to clarify – I remember, when I was a kid (which was in 1980-s) it was normal not to smile for photos… So, there is a chance the kids are actually happy! 😉 but who knows… My comment about the video is in Russian, since you mentioned you speak it. I think it was Zadornov, who said something like that: “Но вот что интересно, газета, как называлась “Правдой”…” Things changed and they didn’t. The politicians, the news papers, the journalistic, the people – most kept their jobs and continued doing what they were doing before, just under different banners… Wouldn’t you agree?

    • Anastasia, yes I would agree! 1) that it’s normal in Russia to look serious for photos – it doesn’t mean anyone’s sad and 2) about perestroika – I think the time period between 1985 and 1999 in Russia is one of the most interesting in its history. How people reacted to having their country’s banner changed, as you say…

  2. Melissa says:

    Hi! I recently found your blog. I saw My Perestroika and thought it was a really good portrait of growing up in that time in Moscow. When I saw it I was living in L.A.; it struck me as a more accurate reflection of the Moscow I know than other current depictions of Russia from America. I’m also married to a Soviet Russian and living here in Moscow.

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