Tuesday 13 October 2015


There are those who claim that the USSR was a wondrous paradise where money was no object, and resources were unlimited. I already published a number of documents detailing exactly how important money was when dealing between commissariats and factories, but it was also considered very important when dealing with individuals as well.

"Decree of the State Committee of Defense #575ss
August 24th, 1941

On the salary of soldiers of destroyer battalions

The State Committee of Defense decrees that:
  1. Include members of the Podolsk, Serpukhov, Noginsk, Elektrostal, Krasnopakhorsk, Maliy-Yaroslavl, Mozhaisk, Volokolamsk, Istra, Klin, Dmitrov, Shelkovo, Kolomenskoye, Kashirskoye, Stupino, Lotoshino, Uvarov, and Shakhtersk regional destroyer battalions of the Moscow oblast in coverage of decree #76ss issued on July 9th, 1941, paying each soldier 8 rubles per day for food.
  2. The salary of the 6000 members of destroyer battalions of the Leningrad oblast front line will be paid from the NKVD budget, issuing each soldier 8 rubles per day for food.
    Members of destroyer battalions who used to work at establishments that were evacuated retain their previous monthly salary. Members who earned less than 300 rubles per month will be paid 300 rubles, as well as students and farmers.
  3. The People's Commissar of Finance will assign the additional budget to the NKVD to maintain the destroyer battalions.
Chair of the Committee of Defense, I. Stalin."

RGASPI 644-2-15


  1. I had a co-worker who came from the USSR. He said they had plenty of money. Unfortunately, there was nothing to buy with it. ... Except there was Vodka.

    1. There was a very "healthy" black market in Leningrad during the blockade.

    2. That was the late Cold War period. Both standards of living and popular expectations were much lower in the first half of the century, and AFAIK in that regard the USSR was looking quite respectable - not to mention like it was going places.
      Apparently it wasn't until sometime in the Seventies that such optimism about the system's prospects began to fade, and when by the Eighties it was becoming painfully evident that the whole Communist block had not only fallen far behind its "capitalist" rivals but also had no real chances of catching up either a certain rather fundamental credibility problem arose.
      There's reasons nobody seriously tried to keep the whole house of cards from falling over when the critical mass of popular discontent was reached.