10 November 2015

November 3, 1969 - Soviet Toilet Paper Day

It looks like the subject of waste management is heating up lately, so, in order not to miss the trend, here is another interesting historical event, as covered by Russian Wiki:
Two huge British paper machines were purchased in 1968 for Syassky pulp and paper mill (Leningrad region) for production of toilet paper. A ceremonial start of production occurred on November 3, 1969.  At first the new product encountered zero demand - a simple citizen of the USSR didn't know what do with these rolls of paper and didn't buy it. But quite shortly, after an advertising campaign organized through newsreels in theaters (shown before the main movie) and voluntary-compulsory distribution among workers in large factories, toilet paper has become a scarce commodity.
This is the factual historical treatment. The wider social aspects of this event were interpreted by a Russian blogger:
Emergence of the toilet paper in the Soviet Union affected the durability of the Soviet state's foundations most directly. Going to the toilet and settling there for a long time, a citizen of the most reading country in the world picked up a Soviet newspaper hanging there and inevitably ingested from it a few ideologically correct statements about the advantages of the socialist system over the capitalist one. And this wasn't happening at Party meetings - but during a very special state of the citizen's mind.

Along with the lead from the newspaper ink, all the newsprint wisdom of Marxism-Leninism and the leading and guiding force of Soviet society - the Communist Party - were rubbed into the arse of the Soviet citizen.

And with the advent of the toilet paper, the said arses became too tender, which led to the collapse of their hitherto unswerving ideological orientation ...

So when you hear that we "shut the USSR out", you can safely take it literally!
As this wise Russian guy says:

(The closest translation will be "cut the crap", but it hardly conveys the spirit of the original).