Soviet Armenia was only one page in a long Armenian history. Did Armenia completely get rid of Soviet influence after its collapse? Let’s find out!
Only 70 years in the history of a country that has seen thousand years pass by. This tiny historical period is called Soviet era.
Soviet Armenia has passed away giving its place to independent and modern Armenia.
Does it mean we can deny the influence of USSR period in modern Armenia? Probably not! Soviet Armenian culture is something deeply rooted.
But we have to admit that almost 30 years after this “little empire’s” fall too many things have changed in Armenia and Armenian culture. Should we even mention the cultural difference between Soviet generation and young independent ones?
Believe us, these changes have captured almost all spheres in Armenia, including Armenian culture, social, political life or just daily life.
So, we thought it’ll be cool just to compare how things were done THEN and how they are done NOW!
Meet Soviet Armenia VS Modern Armenia!
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #1 | Want to Watch TV? Then You Have to Wait Until the TV Hours!
The choice of TV programs was strongly limited in Soviet Armenia and, why not, through all Soviet Union.
There were several programs which were broadcasted mainly in the evening hours and the rest of the time there was just nothing. Yep, it feels boring indeed.
In modern Armenia, you’ll hardly have any problem connected with choices of TV programs and channels, there is a huge variety of both Armenian and foreign channels as well.
You can watch intellectual programs, soap operas or even international news on CNN. Well, we are not sure listening to American news would have been a good idea in Soviet Armenia.
The media was under a strong control and censorship at that time and all TV programs were delicately chosen before being broadcasted.
So, you’d hardly find any pervert jokes, sex and violence at that time in Soviet Armenian media.
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #2 | Having a Hard Time to Find a Job? You Could Never Have This Problem in USSR
Each historical period in Armenia brought some disadvantages and advantages with itself. One of the main advantages of Soviet Armenia was the large choice of job vacancies.
You would hardy meet anyone who was unemployed. In other words, it was harder to be unemployed in Soviet Armenia than to find the job you wanted.
Working was strongly encouraged and even forced during Soviet era. Not willingness to work was accepted as some kind of disrespect towards Soviet power and nations.
In modern Armenia things are more complicated. Knowledge of several languages, university degrees are among top requirements, age may also be an issue in finding a job.
So, if you’re middle aged person, without a degree and don’t speak at least 3 languages, then you’re going to have a tough time here!
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #3 | Hush! No Politics
Soviet Armenia, like any authoritarian country had its strict taboos which were ruled and kept by fear.
The atmosphere of fear was deeply rooted among people.
The situation is quite different today in Modern Armenia. Well, today’s Armenia is far from being perfect in terms of democracy. But freedom of speech, choice, religion, etc. is a common thing now.
Media is not controlled as it was during the Soviet rule, there is no censorship. The reason is clear: Armenia is walking the path towards democracy. Not there yet, but taking huge steps!
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #4 | Did You Just Say Religion?
Armenia is the first Christian nation and the representative of Armenian Apostolic church. In Soviet Armenia religion was strongly prohibited.
Atheism was broadly encouraged and accepted as the only ruling idea. Those who would try to propagate any religion would be punished!
Weddings, baptism, funerals could have been held anywhere else except churches. If anyone noticed you entering a church, you could end up in Syberia.
The official religion in modern Armenia is Christianity. Armenians are proud to be the first nation to adopt Christianity and consider it the inseparable part of Armenian culture and identity.
Indeed, it would be insane to imagine Armenian culture and history without Christianity.
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #5 | Family Models Could Not Stay the Same
Soviet Armenian families and modern Armenian families are far not the same.
USSR used to encourage traditional family concept. All efforts were directed to preserve the traditional idea of extended families and raise a respectable member of communist society.
Modern Armenia is somehow breaking this stereotyped and boring thinking.
Young couples are not much inclined to live with their parents any more. They tend to have their own apartment and form their own small nuclear families.
This doesn’t mean that they forget their traditions, no way! What Armenians are really proud of are their traditions.
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #6 | No Plastic Bags in Soviet Armenia, Only Paper Bags!
There were no plastic bags in Armenia during Soviet era, people used exceptionally paper bags or cloth ones.
Well, of course this was far less convenient, as people had to carry their cloth bags every time they went for shopping, though maybe this was a nice option modern Armenia can think upon.
You won’t be surprised if we say that some grandmas still carry those cloth bags, right?
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #7 | Cable Car as Means of Transport?
Cable cars are one of the first things Soviet Armenia is associated with. The cable car was one of the main means of public transportation in Soviet Armenia.
You can still see the remains of old school Soviet cable car in the center of Yerevan. However, modern Armenia decided to say goodbye to these oldies.
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #8 | The Educational System
One of the cordial changes occurred in Armenia was the change of educational system. As you could probably guess, it had both its pros and cons.
The quality of Soviet education was one of the highly ranked among the world. It gave profound knowledge in all spheres. Soviet education is especially known for its high quality in Maths and Physics.
The things got complicated in case of higher education. Higher education was something not anyone could get and it was not because it cost much money (education was free those years), but because it was very hard to enter university.
The competition was huge and the places for students were strongly limited. The graduates of the Soviet Union universities definitely became good specialists and professionals.
Modern Armenia lacked a good quality education for several years. That was because of newly formed independent statehood and not fully developed governmental institutions.
However, the situation changes for the better every year. One of the positive sides of modern Armenian educational system is the large propaganda of Armenian language, which you could hardly meet in Soviet Armenia.
In Soviet Armenia, many Armenian schools were with Russian bias, so many Armenian were not very good at Armenian and used to use lot of Russian words in their speech. Today excellent knowledge of Armenian is a must!
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #9 | Of Course the FLAG!
Today Armenia’s flag is preserved from the first Republic of Armenia which was established in 1918, before Soviet occupation.
It is a tricolor flag. The colors of the flag are red, blue and orange. All of the colors have their special meaning which symbolize Armenian spirit. You can know more about modern Armenian flag and its history here.
You may think that Soviet Armenian flag was the red one. But actually, every state in the USSR had their own local flag. Armenia had one too. It was a red flag with a blue horizontal line and a golden hammer sickle and star (the symbol of the Soviet Union) in the upper side.
Soviet Armenia VS Modern #10 | A Tourist from Non-USSR Country Was Somebody Special
Soviet Armenians, just like people of other member countries of USSR were living, like it is used to be called, behind the “Iron curtain”. That means no split of information about other countries.
The only way of knowing about the life the other side of the “Iron curtain” were tourists from different countries, which were something rare because of the strict visa regime.
They used to tell about the culture, latest news and fashion behind USSR. People of Soviet used to listen to them with huge admiration.
Nowadays, Armenia is full of tourists form all around the world. If you take a walk in the center of Yerevan, we assure, you’ll see tourists more often than locals.
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