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Newly Published: My Soviet Youth

New on our bookshelf:

My Soviet Youth: A Memoir of Ukrainian Life in the Final Years of Communism
Irina Rodríguez

Putting on gas masks and learning how to shoot Kalashnikov rifles in grade school made Soviet children fear possible attack by Cold War enemies. But a more prosaic invasion of Colorado beetles in the 1980s turned out to be a far more real threat to Soviet families. Many had to master farming when the state, near its demise, no longer had the finances to pay salaries.

One of the last generation of Soviet teenagers who tasted the political restrictions and propaganda, and the benefits and deficits of the communist state, the author recalls her early years in a Soviet school, a Young Pioneer inauguration ceremony, work on a collective farm, her family’s plot of land and their fights against invasive insects, and her first breaths of post-Soviet freedom, which brought economic havoc and bitter disappointments, along with new hopes.