Other Currencies

Soviet Samizdat - Underground Economy of the Soviet Disabled

Group of five self-published photographic brochures distributed by Soviet disabled persons.

Soviet Union, 1980s. 12mos (9 × 6 cm). Staple-stitched pamphlets printed on photographic paper; each 6 leaves of photo-reproduced images and text to rectos. Very good.

A group of five illustrated samizdat brochures containing recipes for homeopathic remedies, dream interpretation charts, and desert recipes. Mementos of the underground economy of the Soviet disabled persons who were poorly integrated into the mainstream economy, brochures of this sort were typically sold for small change by the deaf persons in inter-city and commuter trains. In “Everyday Life of the Disabled,” historians Stephen and Ethel Dunn note that a 1987 study of Soviet disabled persons asked: “Do you have adequate opportunities for finding a job? From 50 to 76.5 percent of disabled, depending on the area, answered negatively” (See The Disabled in the Soviet Union: Past and Present, Theory and Practice, p. 226). Left to fend for themselves, individuals from the deaf community were especially active in producing a variety of entertaining samizdat materials for sale, from calendars and pornography to homeopathic medicine brochures, dream charts, and desert recipes such as the ones assembled here. The titles in this collection include: “Zelenaia apteka” [The green pharmacy], “Sonnik” [Dream book], “Lechenie pchelinnym medom” [Medicinal cures with honey], “Torty” [Cakes], “Narodnye sredstva” [Homeopathic remedies]. The variety of homeopathic remedies range from a brew that prolongs life, to ones that cure liver disease and help the user quit smoking.

Book ID: 50990

Price: $250.00