How well did the Soviet scientist live in comparison with the Russian one?

Since the second half of the 20th century, the Soviet Union has been recognized as the leading scientific power of the planet. The state was ahead of the West in nuclear energy, astronautics, the aviation industry, and the humanities.

The number of Soviet scientists reached 25% of all scientific workers in the world. But how well did they live under socialism?

In the 80s, the Soviet Union


Today is a junior researcher

Official figures differ little from each other. Of course, we know how modern statistics are compiled. But in the USSR, they did not refuse to exaggerate salaries. And although the Soviet scientist did not live well, much more researchers worked at the research institute than now.

If the salaries of scientists are about the same, then the possibilities have become much poorer.

Why did it happen? The main difference between Soviet science was the full funding of research by the state, regardless of the results and expected benefits. Modern scientists are forced to research the disciplines in demand in order to attract investment from outside.

On the one hand, this is useful: society does not need fundamental developments, but applied ones that can be used right now.

However, most research is aimed at the long term. Almost all new technologies that we use are products from 30 years ago. Accordingly, the inventions of modern scientists will be in demand only in the future and will not pay off immediately.

Soviet scientists were in more favorable conditions. They were engaged not only in what society needs right now, but also in the discoveries of the future.

The Soviet scientist was constantly in danger of being repressed. You could go to jail for any reason — on a false denunciation or for your own research. And, unfortunately, the arrests were not accidental or fictitious.

For example, the Soviet virologist Lev Zilber

One of the most important scientists in the country

There are dozens of similar examples. Russian scientists do not face such problems and work quite independently of the state, without fear of being arrested for scientific ideas.

Although modern Russian science faces many challenges, the life of the average scientist has not deteriorated compared to the Soviet era.