© Mikhail Iossel, founder and Executive Director of the international program, Summer Literary seminars, and a Professor of English at Concordia University in Montreal, is the author of "Every hunter wants to know," a collection of short stories.
After graduation I got a job as an engineer in the Central research Institute of ship electrical engineering and technology in Leningrad. My salary was 120 rubles a month – the usual average Soviet salary. The money in 1979-1981, you could buy:
12 000 boxes of matches (50 matches per box ), 1200 cups of sparkling water (no fruit syrup ) from a street machine, pencils 12000, 12000 pieces of bread in the dining room.
6000 phone calls from a street machine.
4,000 glasses of sparkling water with fruit syrup ( flavor unspecified) from a street machine, 4000 small ( 0.25 litre ) mugs of kvas ( very, by the way, was delicious drink) from the barrel on the street, 4000 copies of most Soviet daily Newspapers ( Pravda, Leningradskaya Pravda, Izvestia, Soviet sport, etc.), 4,000 trips to the tram, 4000 cups of tea (without sugar) in the cafeteria, 4000 pencils tipped with eraser.
3000 trolley coupons, 3000 hot meat pies / cabbage / liver / potatoes / fish, which were sold on the street.
2400 travel in metro / bus / Ferris wheel.
2400 bunch of dill / parsley grandmothers, bagels 2400, 2400 balls for table tennis, 2400 jars of mint tooth powder.
2400 cups sunflower seeds from street vendors.
2000 large ( 0.5-liter ) mugs of kvas, 2000 postcards, 2000 cutlets in the dining room, 2000 small sachets with vitamin C.
1710 servings of fruit ice cream in paper cups, 1710 haircuts in a Barber shop, 1710 servings of fresh salad in Stanovoy, 1710 conventional light bulbs.
1500 honey cakes, 1500 little notebooks, 1,500 cups of birch juice in the grocery store.
1333 servings of dairy ice cream in paper cups.
1,200 glasses of tomato juice at the grocery store, 1,200 kilos of salt, 1,200 sandwiches with boiled sausage in the cafeteria, 1200 kg of potatoes, 1,200 boxes of mustard.
1091 hot big tat in the cafeteria, 1091 copy of Literaturnaya Gazeta, 1091 chocolate ice-cream.
1000 kilograms of carrots.
923 hen eggs, 923 standard loaves of wheat (white) bread.
857 packs of cheap cigarettes prima.
800 kilograms of watermelon in the season.
750 pounds of flour, 750 triangular packets of milk (0.5 l), 750 large round loaves of rye (black) bread.
600 km for a taxi in the city.
545 packs of cigarettes Belomorkanal.
500 small ( 0.25 litre ) mugs of beer at the beer stand, 500-millilitre bottles of vinegar.
480 movie tickets, 480 packs of margarine, 430 half-liter milk bottles.
430 pieces of imported soap.
400 filter cigarettes in soft packs Java or Husky.
360 cans of sardines in tomato sauce.
343 large ( 0.5-liter ) mugs of beer at a beer stall, 343 plastic combs for hair, 343 packs of cigarettes of the Bulgarian Rhodopes, or Aeroflot.
320 integrated three course dinners in the restaurant.
250 tulips on the market, 250 state lottery tickets, 250 packs of cigarettes of the Bulgarian Tu-154 or Opal.
219 cans of condensed milk.
A pair of scissors 170, 170 standard ballpoint pens.
167 three-liter cans of Apple juice.
160 metal combs for hair.
150 cast iron skillets, 150 packs of cigarettes BT.
133 pairs of socks, 133 hand towels, 133 kg of sugar.
120 bed-days in the resorts of the Black sea (in peak season).
118 bottles of wine Cabernet.
114 bottles of dessert red wine.
109 bottles of white table wine, 109 pounds of bananas (in theory; few have seen them then).
92 instance of either the first or second part of the most popular Soviet textbook of English language (edited by N. A. Bonk ).
86 pounds of oranges (for most people, in theory).
80 miniatures ( 0.25 litre ) in Moscow, vodka, 80 bottles of white vermouth.
73 bottles of sunflower oil.
71 kilograms of cooked sausage “Chaynaya”.
63 pounds of low quality meat or chicken (called “blue bird” ), 63 records the state of the music company “Melody.
50 bottles of white wine Rkatsiteli.
48 domestic swimwear production.
45 cream cake “fairy Tale”.
42 half-liter bottles of Moskovskaya vodka.
41 kilograms of high-quality doctoral sausage.
40 pounds of cheese ( Russian, Dutch ), 40 Chinese pairs of sneakers, 40 new books, 40 pairs of imported underwear, 40 leather soccer balls.
Knitted 38 pairs of sweatpants, 38 bottles of domestic port 777.
33 bottles of Soviet champagne, 38 half-liter bottles of vodka a Wheat.
30 wooden chess sets.
29 bottles of three-star Soviet “cognac”.
28 aluminum pans.
18 feather pillows, 18 sheets.
17 wooden chairs.
14 pairs of summer sandals in China.
12 pounds of chocolate truffles, 12 trips on the train Moscow - Leningrad.
11 linen tablecloths.
10 wooden tennis rackets, 10 winter hats from rabbit fur.
7 conventional men's shirts.
6-7 travel Leningrad - Moscow on the airplane.
6 cameras Change
4 pairs of shoes of Soviet production.
2 cheap bike.
1,8 suits Soviet production.
0,8 winter coat.
0.67 travel from Leningrad to Vladivostok, to 0.67 pairs of jeans on the black market ( if you're lucky ).
0,6 black-and-white TV.
0.35 player VEGA.
0,27 portable mini-TVs electronics.
0,17 color TV.
0,024 car Moskvich-412.
0,01 – 0,0001 from most other cars.