12 things I learned about Soviet childhood from my Bukvar

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Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian BukvarAfter my last post, one of my cousins got nostalgic for her old Bukvar and thought she’d try to buy one online. She found one on Amazon, to the tune of $2,450. My heart is breaking that I didn’t have the fortitude to do anything more useful with mine than mark it all up for a future blog post. I thought I’d share some of the things I learned about happy Soviet childhoods while flipping through the Bukvar.

1. Soviet children don’t smile, even when they’re playing with a giant pile of sand. (It’s not even in a sandbox!) Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

2. They do all kinds of dangerous manual labour that even most North American adults couldn’t handle. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

3. Addendum to #1 – they do smile when they’re labouring on the kolkhoz in their Pioneer scarves. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

4. They spend time in the woods. Alone. They’re also allowed to pick mushrooms and carry rifles. But only the boys, even when they’re half the size of the girls. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

5. They do “zaryadka”. They still don’t smile. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

6. They want world peace. Because they come from a happy, peaceful people. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

We have a choir. It is a good choir. We have flags. Shura waved them. And we waved. Hooray! Hooray! Peace! Peace!

7. They do not have “yummy mummies”. 

Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

8. They are guarded by Yuri Gagarin when their parents leave them home alone. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

Mama left. Sasha is young. And Shura? And Lara?

9. They know that the world has smart people and stupid people and they don’t mind saying so. (Also, it’s never too early to learn a practical skill.) Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

Here, Mara. Masha is smart. Mara is smart. And Shura? (Clearly, not so much.) 

10. And let’s not forget who we have to thank for all the wonders of this life – Papa Lenin. Papa Lenin is always watching. Always. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

11. And because you can never start too young, we close with a mini-essay about Lenin. Because there’s no time to waste once you’ve learned your letters. Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

Vladimir Illich Lenin gave all his strength to the happiness of the people. Lenin established the Communist Party… It sees to it that our people have a light, happy life.

12. And, of course, “peace.” Or “world.” Conveniently, the same word in Russian. Also, diversity. (No, seriously, this really is the last picture in the book.) Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

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