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The commodity shortage of the times of the late USSR has long become the talk of the town – in ordinary grocery stores and grocery stores without queues, you could …

The commodity deficit of the late Soviet era has long become the talk of the town – in ordinary grocery stores and food stores without queues, you could buy only the simplest things: cereals, pasta, milk in triangles, bread and the famous rolls for “three kopecks”, kefir in a glass bottle with a striped lid for 28 kopecks, processed cheese

Pot-bellied jars with muddy juices, pyramids of canned fish in tomato and dolmens from the Tourist’s Breakfast, packs of dry custards, frozen pollock and hake, cheap sweets by weight – this stuff was always enough. Cottage cheese in packs, glazed curds or cheese were already in short supply, and by the mid-1980s dairy products were disappearing from the shelves by lunchtime.

Everything else was followed by a constant and tough hunt – to find out where they “thrown away”, find an approach to a merchandiser or store manager, stand in line or be ready to return the service for postponing the goods. Kyiv was no exception.

although the capital of the republic was supplied unlike the provinces – there were preferences for cities of union significance. But even in the same pretentious (now burned down) Central deli on Khreshchatyk, 40, you had to stand in line for a sausage or sausages for a good hour and a half, and there were no good or bad varieties, with the exception of the useless Laverna at 1.80 or the most primitive boiled “loaves” – they either were.

or they were not. Kyiv has never starved, but always had to run. “Familiar butcher”, “phone of the deputy director of the base”, “you will go to the seller after 13:00, say from Lily” meant much more than a familiar doctor or deputy today, because business and health are, of course, important, but it’s good to eat wanted every day.

Kyiv and deficit

The first line of Soviet food distribution is grocery stores. Ordinary shops in residential areas on the first floors of Khrushchev, often named after the area, such as “Levoberezhny” on Darknets, or modestly marked with a number, for example, No. 6 on Khreshchatyk.

It was there that the very “blue chickens” who allegedly died not of their own death, tomato juices with coarse gray salt at high tables, glass showcases with buns, sometimes sour cream in outlandish factory “buckets” at that time, but more often – the cheapest boiled sausage and ” nausea” 11 kopecks each. From the good – there were decent milkshakes in a rattling machine and really tasty pastries.

1982 Department “Porcelain – faience – glass” in the store “Island” on Rusakova. Photo:

In the famous “Hot Milk” – a huge cup of milk and a couple of bagels, thickly sprinkled with poppy seeds, for a ridiculous 30 kopecks, but queues at any time of the day in the appendage.

There is no logic for the layman – they could “throw” a good boiled “Children’s” sausage into a departmental store from “Kievryba”, but it was not in the “Central”: it was necessary to fulfill the plan, someone called someone at the top, or the stars were formed that way – nobody knew. Information about smoked sausage, good meat, hard cheese was transmitted as spy reports, only to reliable people.

From farm to market

At the grassroots level, the people of Kiev were greatly helped out in terms of products by street vendors and markets. Aunts in white coats in the capital sold not only whites from a can or ice cream, but sometimes sausages, herring in cans.

smoked meats on tables with Tyumen scales and bills – they left quickly, but a couple of hundred kilometers from Kyiv it was already comparable with landing on the moon. Of course, there was no total abundance on the collective farm or cooperative markets, but there were almost always seasonal vegetables, a couple of varieties of apples, lard, brisket, draft sour cream, sometimes homemade cottage cheese.

There was a good meat department at the Bessarabia market, where meat was sold from private farms near Kyiv (naturally, with a collective farm stamp), a little further in a circle – tables with tomatoes, radishes, herbs, the famous flower rows.

Shiny market or Haymarket did not lag behind. The prices were appropriate: with a median salary of 172 rubles and a nurse at 70.

meat at 6 rubles a kilogram or strawberries at 3.50 at the beginning of the season were hard to bite. There were rumors that some guests from the southern republics, under the roof of the Ohms, brought melons out of season through guides to weddings and birthdays, but such a beauty cost 16-17 rubles apiece.

The second level – various shops for veterans, the disabled, departmental, subordinate to the departments of work supply, for example, in river transport or railways. The military trades were also at a stretch here. In the sense that the range was brighter.

but not for everyone. Having a “crust”, access or the right acquaintances, with a certain amount of luck, it was possible to purchase butter, cheese or tangerines for the New Year. Yes, oil was in short supply, an almost unthinkable thing now. By appointment, you could get a set of sausage sticks, broiler chicken from the mysterious socialist country of Hungary, a couple of packages of buckwheat and tea not from sticks and garbage.

Not always, not for everyone and for the holiday, but you can. Military “mailboxes” like KB “LUCH” also had their own supplies, food kits where you could find sprats or tangerines from Morocco.

your own catering, where they did not dilute sour cream and fried steaks, which are not ashamed to be served in a mediocre restaurant , moreover, for a price tag that was ridiculous even within the framework of the USSR – the military-industrial complex was valued and fed.

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