From: "Slav Pidgorny (GEUS)" <slav.pidgorny(a)anz.com>
It's a bit too simplistic to equate Soviet Union
to Russia. Georgia was
also a part of USSR and now is #65 in the world. And they have been
through wars and occupation.
Yep, that's true.
It is also fair to say that there is a gap between the Russian empire
and Germany even before communism came (you shared your experience in
the Soviet Union after I mentioned mine in East Germany).
Russia had an urbanisation of 14.8% in 1915
in Germany it was more than 60% in 1910.
(sorry, it is German but believe my translation of "Im Jahr 1910
lebten nur noch 40% in Gemeinden mit weniger als 2000 Einwohnern" - in
1910 less than 40% lived outside towns with 2000 people or more)
1998, last time when I travelled through the former Soviet Union,
mostly by train (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan), I saw
countries very poor compared to East Germany before 1989.
Your sad experience do not surprise me but I am not sure how much they
have to do with communism.
What I noticed was a difference in attitude in the former Soviet Union.
Russia and Ukraine was very sad to see, with people drunk already in
the morning (even hotel porters in "good" hotels) and a lot of "there
is no hope" ("Why are you here? I leave as quickly as I can", I heard
while in Central Asia people seemed to be more upbeat (even if not
really better off in materialistic values - and Uzbek democracy isn't
I wouldn't be surprised if Alcoholism plays a major part in bringing
down Russian life expectancy.