I am contemplating the idea of making a role playing game set in USSR under Stalin, specifically the period between when he gained full power (roughly 1930) and operation barbarossa (June 1941).

I am looking not only for documentation about the politics and famous figures, but also the daily life, immersive elements like what people wore, ate, did during free time (if any), layman political activity like mandatory lectures, incorporation of new technologies, etc...

I realise the topic is mindnumbingly broad, but any start of a thread is appreciated.

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    Hi armand and welcome to History SE. I'm afraid this is too broad - one could write several books on this. It would be better if you broke this down into more specific areas and posted as several questions. Also, please have a look at the Help Center on how to ask questions. Commented May 9, 2019 at 9:05
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    Thanks for your comment. You are right that the topic is too broad. The problem is that I know too few by now to narrow it down, and I don't want to flood history SE with irrelevant questions. My plan is to use what I get here to become more specific.
    – armand
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 7:10
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    Don't worry - your questions will not be irrelevant here if you they are clear and cannot be answered by a simple google, and you really need or want to know something. You can just ask one specific question to start with and the feedback will help you if there is something wrong with it. Anyway, we look forward to your more specific questions! Commented May 10, 2019 at 7:21

2 Answers 2


On my opinion, the best description of daily life can be obtained from some Russian fiction. Especially I recommend the short stories of Michail Zoshchenko (many of them are translated into English). Zoshchenko was enormously popular with Soviet people whose daily life he described, but was persecuted by the authorities at the later stage of his life. Other excellent authors were Andrei Platonov and Michail Bulgakov. They describe the life from different points of view: Platonov was a Communist, while Zoshchenko and Bulgakov were not. Children of Arbat by Anatoly Rybakov is also recommended, though he wrote in a later period.

Of non-fiction, I can recommend Orlando Figues, Natasha's Dance.

  • Good thing to include the authors political inclination. USSR is a sensitive topic and any testimony should be taken with a grain of salt.
    – armand
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 7:12

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, is a pretty good source. Some even claim this book was key to bringing down the soviet union. see here, and here.

Aleksander was an Artillery commander in the soviet army during WWII. He wrote a letter to a friend that was critical of how the government was running the war, and shortly there after found himself under arrest and off to the Gulag.

He writes extensively about his experience before and after his arrest. He also includes a large number of stories of other peoples lives in the soviet union as well.

I highly recommend it. You can find it on amazon.

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    This is not about "daily life" of majority of Soviet citizens. It is true, millions were imprisoned, but still not the majority of population.
    – Alex
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 12:19
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    Your correct that is not the main theme of the book however the first portion of the book does talk about his daily life and life in the soviet union in general. Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:36
  • @Alex perhaps not the best source but it is a source Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:39

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