The Russian industry catalogues, aka The Soviet Commodity Dictionary, featured vital information about consumer products. Manufactured by domestic industry, all goods in the nine volumes were on sale to the public. Volume 9, for example, focused on food, featuring illustrations of what to look for and reviews on taste, nutrition, formulation and composition.
The books distinguished goods by style as well as substance, advising shoppers not only on knowledge of production but also on aesthetics. Here was proof that Soviet trade functionaries knew how to sell. Desire for material goods was no longer evidence of bourgeois decadence but proof of a thriving system. As the introduction to the section on lampshades states (via Stalinism: New Directions, By Sheila Fitzpatrick):
“A lampshade is an integral part of the light fixture; it serves to adorn the lamp and plays an important role in the architectural and aesthetic arrangement of the living space.”
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