Julia Ioffe’s pieces What Putin Really Wants, and Borscht Belt has multiple references to USSR-era life. In today’s class we briefly discussed the reemergence of USSR and Imperial Russia nostalgia in contemporary Russia. This was surprising to me given our earlier class discussions that explored the contemporary rejection of Soviet Russia after its collapse in 1991. One of the most prominent reasons fueling the denouncement of Soviet Russia must be its subjugation of religion. Given the apparent religiosity of modern Russia, this is not surprising. It is surprising, however, that individuals are able to embrace their “freedoms” on present Russia and simultaneously pine for a time they would not be granted as such. I didn’t get to ask her this, but I wonder if it’s the younger generations who did not truly experience the rise and fall of the USSR that are expressing the fascination with Soviet-era life, or if it’s those who did experience it that are expression their views to return to a certain way of life. Along the same vein, Ioffe shared a few memories of her childhood in a “Soviet home,” as she put in. One of the stories she mentioned that stuck out the most for me was her describing going to the supermarket. The shelves were mostly empty except for cans of sea kelp, yum. This image of Soviet Russia was one, surprising (I had not imagined the USSR has having a food shortage) and two, completely contradicts the piece of media accompanying this blogpost. The image depicts all the finest in consumerism: high quality alcohol, perfumes, possibly jewelry in the bottom right corner, and even decadence, of which I understood to have no place in the USSR. I find in fascinating the such disparate sentiments toward, the understandings and depictions of Soviet era Russia. Anyway, it was wonderful having Julia Ioffe visit Davidson, and I hope she will return soon.