In the article on the basis of the materials of Leningrad of 1950–1960s such element of the everyday life of a city dweller as the leisure sphere is scrutinized. The author pays his attention to the number and geographical location of cultural institutions in the urban space, the variety of forms of recreation and their financial affordability. Having analyzed these aspects the article assesses the extent to which the altered standard of living of a Leningrader during this historical period correlated with the quality of his life.
The article analyzes the trends of Westernization of consumption in Soviet urban society at the end of the Great Patriotic War (1945–1949). The author argues that the campaign against bourgeois values began even before the official announcement of the policy of isolation from foreign culture and opposition to cosmopolitanism. The fight against Western consumerism was waged in an environment of total scarcity and the low quality of domestic production, so that the media themselves largely formed an aura of prestige around foreign consumer goods. This led to the formation of a new culture of consumption, with a characteristic Soviet citizens’ desire to buy goods of foreign rather than domestic production.
Recent decades of historical studies devoted to the everyday practices of a Soviet individual have revealed a depressing picture of a chronic discrepancy between the interests, needs and sometimes the most pressing demands of people and the nature of surrounding city environment. In the article, this situation is considered as if from the opposite side — what were the positions of the professional community of Soviet architects and urban planners who created said environment.
The article, based on materials from the TASS Bulletin of Foreign Official Information, reveals the details of the stay of a delegation of Finnish journalists in the Soviet Union in October 1954. Modern historical knowledge makes it possible to characterize the position of Finnish journalists as objective, and to recognize their assessment of the quality of life in the USSR as quite adequate.