It Was Not Long Ago, It Was Long Ago

The second half of the 1940s. The country gained victory in the Great Patriotic War. And though the post-war years were very difficult, life was slowly getting better. Industry and agriculture were restored, everyday problems were solved. New families were started, children were born. Prices for some goods came down. More and more well-dressed people could be seen in the streets. They began to celebrate holidays more often and still sang favourite wartime songs: “Zemlyanka”, “Katyusha”, “Blue Kerchief”, and “In the Front-Line Forest”.

The display of the 1950s included a great number of posters. They used to be hanged at factories, in public places and in the streets. Veterans of war – defenders of the Fatherland, foremost workers were depicted on them. Peaceful labour yielded results. Many people got an opportunity to set up housekeeping and to decorate their houses. New simple furniture manufactured by local enterprises could be seen in the houses of Kirillov’s residents. A bookcase was especially popular. It was covered with embroidered and knitted napkins. Statuettes, books and vases were put on it. In the 1950s, the militarized silhouette was replaced with “peaceful” clothing. Soviet textile workers made various fabrics which were used to sew skirts, blouses, and shirts. For holidays, girls and young women tried to sew new dresses of expensive chiffon. Men, women and children wore leather boots and shoes. Shoe-makers provided them with footwear working in the customers’ houses. When the weather was bad, people put on rubber galoshes and glossy heeled overshoes presented at the exhibition. A city dance floor was the favourite place of rest and meetings. People danced quadrille and krakowiak to the accompaniment of button accordion.

The main event of the early 1960s was launching of the first spaceship with the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board. It was followed by the space-flight of the first woman - cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and the first space walk conducted by Alexey Leonov. A real poetry boom began in the 1960s. Young poets – Andrey Voznesensky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Bella Akhmadulina, Robert Rozhdestvensky – attracted a large audience of their admirers. The heyday of the songs composed and performed by amateur singers and composers was also in the 1960s. Songs of Y. Visbor, B. Okudzhava, A. Galich could be heard through the open windows. Music events took place in flats, cafes and clubs. Vladimir Vysotsky was especially popular. It was a great piece of luck to have a tape recording of his songs. TV sets also appeared in the houses of Kirillov’s residents in the 1960s. All neighbours came to watch television, especially on those days when football, hockey matches or the “Little Blue Light” festive show were broadcast. It was very popular at that time to paint walls in different colours to enlarge the living space. Coffee tables with thin legs, standard lamps, and light sofas replaced cumbersome furniture. Fashion changed several times during the decade. The silhouette of festive clothing became simpler. It was sewn using expensive artificial fabrics: capron, nylon and lavsan. It was convenient, practical and accentuated individuality. Accessories were very important: kerchiefs, bags, gloves and belts.

The concept “Soviet way of life” was introduced in the 1970s. An ideal cultural hero - a builder of communism – was to have good housing, available education, and medical care of high quality. Construction of first-class accommodation was actively carried out in the town. Dozens of young families got flats and furnished them. Sets of furniture, the so-called cabinets could be seen in the interior. There was a three-leaved mirror with prestigious cosmetics in every drawing-room. Crimplene was the most fashionable material. It was used to sew trouser suits, dresses and coats.

The 20th century has gone, but it has left us its signs: events, names of heroes, songs, poems, photographs which are memorable for many people. 

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