My Soviet Childhood

Memory from the Soviet Georgia - My Soviet Childhood (started first grade in 1984) was all about confusion and questions I as a child had about things I would come across in my daily life or my family would believe and do but, would have to hide. One of these memories is about the vouchers each family would get for buying butter, sugar, meat, etc. These vouchers allowed families to purchase specific amount of products each month. I remember once coming back from the grocery store together with my dad, who had purchased meat by these vouchers and expressing hope that this would be enough for my birthday party coming in several days. This was the first time I realized that we could only buy certain amount of meat and butter (unless we paid 3-4 times as much to get it through the “black market”). This was the first time I started to think why the government was deciding how much we could eat and what. And once, when I raised this question in my classroom, I remember my teacher telling me how this was one of the mechanisms to make sure that all people – teachers, workers, actors, directors of factories - lived equal lives unlike in the US, where black people were starving, and white capitalists lived great lives at the expense of black people. This left me in confusion thinking about these two extremes (one experienced by myself and the second described by my teacher). It was me who did not like being the object of the government plan of resource distribution, but at the same time feeling sorry of those victims of cruel capitalists (as my teachers would call them) and asking my parents if there was any possibility of bringing poor kids from the US to live with us.