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30 January 2019

Manufacture of Household Furniture in Soviet Ukraine in 1950 – 1960s: Problem of Quality (According to the Perets Magazine)

East European Historical Bulletin
Manufacture of Household Furniture in Soviet Ukraine in 1950 – 1960s: Problem of Quality (According to the Perets Magazine)

During 1950s — 1960s in connection with beginning of mass housing building in the USSR, conceptually — on a state level — approach changed to furnitures as such: there was a transition from primitive of their production — to industrial, standardised, conveyer type. This was due to the new course of the Soviet leadership, which after the death of J. Stalin (1953) began to somewhat shift the economic priorities and emphases from the militaryindustrial complex for the production of consumer goods, the so-called the Group B industry. However theme of production of furniture on territory of Ukraine so far did not become the separate article of research of domestic historians. One of the reasons for this is the lack of the elaboration of appropriate sources, one of the components of which is the publications in the satirical and humorous magazine the Perets, which, according to its genre specificity, has focused much attention on the domestic aspects of the existence of the inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine. The main thesis of the article is a demonstration on the example of the quality of domestic furniture in the Ukrainian SSR of the value of the Perets magazine as a source of the history of the everyday life of Ukraine in the Soviet period. In particular, it was determined that during the mid-1950s — mid-1960’s , furniture problems on the pages of the Perets magazine in one form or another were interpreted almost 80 times. The main directions of these publications are excess of demand over supply for domestic furniture (deficit), as well as the extremely low quality (defect) of products available for sale. The last problem was mass and systemic: on the pages of Perets magazine during 1954 — 1965 in the negative context, the products of 47 furniture enterprises (their complete list is given in the original article) from the nearly 200 available at that time in the Ukrainian SSR was mentioned. These are, first of all, wardrobes, bedrooms (beds and sofas), chairs, kitchen tables and writing tables, kitchen cupboards. However, despite the apparent systematic nature of the phenomenon, none of authors of the Perets magazine did not make an attempt analyse the similar situation. Everything was limited only to the statement of facts filed in a satirical-humorous clue. At the same time, the deepening in the cause-and-effect relation would inevitably lead to the conclusion that the whole Soviet system as such and, in particular, its economic component, were fallaciousness. Thus, using inductive and quantitative methodologies, on the example of a local topic (the quality of domestic furniture in Soviet Ukraine), it was possible to prove the thesis that the satirical-humorous the Perets magazine is an important public source for studying the history of everyday life. Moreover — in any of its segments

Source: Yakubets A. (2018) Manufacture of Household Furniture in Soviet Ukraine in 1950 – 1960s: Problem of Quality (According to the Perets Magazine). East European Historical Bulletin. Is. 6: 203-212

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