The Soviet Union, as you know, was great at rockets, and in the field of ballet we were “ahead of the rest of the world.” But the youth dreamed of jeans and chewing gum, with which everything somehow did not go well. Chewing gum of the USSR. What were they like? And why were they at first stubbornly banned, and then suddenly allowed?
Chewing gum of the USSR
Due to its popularity in the West, chewing gum was considered in the USSR a symbol of bourgeois decomposition. In the opinion of the party leadership, she did not fit into the image of the young builder of communism.
Teachers told students and schoolchildren that chewing gum is very harmful to the stomach, contributes to moral degradation, and at any given time may contain “infected blades” that the vile imperialists put in to harm Soviet youth.
Moreover, among children and adolescents, chewing gum was the subject of a real cult. In addition to the pleasant taste, this was due to the presence of colorful inserts inside, depicting comic book heroes, football players and luxurious cars.
Tragedy in Sokolniki
On March 10, 1975, in the Sokolniki Ice Palace, a match of the USSR junior ice hockey team against Canadian peers took place. The Canadian team was sponsored by Wrigley, one of the largest chewing gum manufacturers.
After the competition, going down to the bus, the guests began to throw chewing gum around them. Apparently, this was provided for by an advertising contract. By the way, at the Wrigley Field baseball stadium, named after the creator of the chewing gum of the same name, a similar practice exists to this day.
Unfortunately, the Canadians did not take into account how wildly popular the gum was in the USSR at that time. The fans rushed to collect the scarce goods. Maybe there would have been no casualties. But the stadium administration was afraid that the pictures would get into the Western press and ordered to close the metal gates leading to the street. As a result of the resulting stampede, only according to official data, 21 people died.
Soviet chewing gum
It is difficult to say for sure whether the tragic story in Sokolniki influenced the party leadership or whether the approach of the 1980 Olympics, where they expected to visually show tourists all the advantages of the Soviet way of life, influenced the party leadership. But in the late 70s of the last century, the decision to allow the production of gum in the USSR was finally made.
First, the lines in Yerevan and Rostov-on-Don started working. A little later, the Estonian factory “Kalev” began to produce chewing gum. And in the 80s the Moscow factory “Rot Front” surprised customers with a whole constellation of tastes.
The shape of the product of Moscow chefs resembled the classic Wrigley. The rectangular package contained five plates wrapped in foil. The assortment of gum included 5 types: “Mint”, “Orange”, “Strawberry”, “Raspberry” and “Coffee aroma”.
The quality of the Soviet gum was worse than the Wrigley. She quickly lost her taste, chewed with difficulty, and the bubbles practically did not puff out of it. But for the kids, it was still a magical delicacy, which, moreover, was not cheap at all (50 kopecks per pack).
Legendary 90s gum
In the late 1980s, gum from Western manufacturers began to enter the market. Donald’s gum with Disney duckling comics on the insert cost (scary to say) 1 ruble!
In the 90s, Turbo from the Turkish company Kent Gida became one of the most popular chewing gums in Russia.
Her car or motorcycle inserts are still a collector’s item today.
Many people who grew up in the USSR remember the “snacks” of that period and desperately miss them even now, when there is complete abundance. Remember with us what your favorite childhood food was!
Today in every store you can buy chewing gum for every taste and every budget. But, looking at these unpretentious delicacies from my childhood, I am mentally transported 40 years ago. And the forgotten taste of coffee gum appears in the mouth, the grayish plate of which my sister and I once divided into several parts to prolong the pleasure.
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