Luksus neuvostojen maassa eli kaviaarivoileivän arvoitus

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Democratic luxury in the Soviet Union or the secret of the caviar sandwich

The author's thesis is, that in the Soviet Union of Stalin's time, a historically specific conception of luxury was developed. This conception was not restricted to cultural politics. "Democratic luxury" was an important part of the Soviet "good life". It included such goods as champagne, cognac, caviar, cakes, chocolates, crystal bowls and glasses, as well as perfumes, women's jewellery, etc. These were an essential part of the Soviet "good life" and they were mostly consumed during such events as family anniversaries or public holidays. They were also very feminine products, Stalin's gift to women. This conception of luxury was most probably invented at the beginning or in the course of the second Five-Year Plan. In order to provide the same goods from Murmansk to Odessa or from Leningrad to Vladivostok, huge investments in factories, transport systems, restaurants and shops were required. In the Soviet system of planned economy, this also meant that someone somewhere had to make the decisions concerning their production The article discusses and analyses the reasons and conditions which led to this decision making.