Russians Are No Better Off Since The Fall Of The Soviet Union

1390 words - 6 pages

Russia has always struggled to overcome obstacles such as invasions, and poor living conditions. The physical geography of Russia has certainly contributed to these challenges. Russian culture is set in a position of unstable existence in which hardship is inevitable. They are forced to overcome severe climate extremes with bitter Siberian winters and remote frontiers that hinder advances in health care and education. This struggle between a culture and the forces of nature is an improbable battle and has resulted in a society unable to fulfill the needs of its people and has always been a major obstacle to strong programs. However some influences and challenges change with the type of government in control. Russia’s standard of living has deteriorated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its’ health care and education systems have suffered greatly since the decline of communism, and have contributed to Russia’s slide downhill from being among the top world powers to a nation of poverty stricken economic depression. Russia’s lack of proper health care and education since the demise of the Soviet Union is a sad reality and an unfortunate commentary on life in Russia today.
Education flourished under communist control. The literacy rate is a good indicator of educational effectiveness in Russia. “Before communism, only a quarter of Russians could read and write, but by 1980, literacy rates neared 100%” in urban areas (Corona 71).The Soviet Union put a very high priority on education, but there were drawbacks to Soviet controlled education. “Under the Soviets, all textbooks were controlled by the government, so they repeated the “party line” instead of giving a true account of history” (Rogers 94). Government control in education did not extend only to textbooks. The Soviet government operated all of the schools as well. “The underlying philosophy of Soviet schools was that the teacher's job was to transmit standardized materials to the students, and the student's job was to memorize those materials, all of which were put in the context of socialist ethics.” (Glenn 3). As a result of this way of thinking, most educational institutions discouraged creativity and individuality among its teachers and students.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, education faced new obstacles. The system that replaced communism did not put in place the funding that is needed to pay for education, and Public schools were hit hard by the downturn in the Russian economy. “Tax dollars that would normally support the schools are often uncollected and the result is dilapidated schools, inadequate teaching materials and poorly paid and demoralized teachers” (Corona- 73). On the other hand Russia does have some schools that are working well. The private school network is very strong. Regrettably, these schools are both very exclusive and very expensive. “Access to higher education is roughly proportionate to the social and financial situation of the individual’s...

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