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Episode-1891- Kristaps Andrejsons on DIY Survival During the Soviet Union — 20 Comments

  1. I remember the old pay phones, we had one in the high school band room. One girl learned how to call home by tapping the hook to run the relays. Very good at it.
    When I was in grade school we had a party line. Two families shared a number.

  2. Is there any way to get this show transcripted? It was very hard to understand between the accent and it sounded like he was talking in a tin can.

    • It sounded to me like he had a bad microphone or some setting on his microphone, computer, or phone was not quite right. I Skype regularly between Asia and the US and while there’s always some delay and occasional intermittent issues, I almost never see audio quality suffer that badly through an entire session. Even when I or the other party is just using a smartphone for the microphone instead of a dedicated microphone. And from what little I know of Latvia and its capital, their broadband is far and away better than where I’m at. But I’m betting any future interview will have the audio problems addressed, as my guess is that it’s probably easy to fix given a little time and troubleshooting.

  3. How he described the local residents scrapping and scavenging (particularly the space capsule) echoes much of what my wife described happening in Mongolia. Apologies if I already told this story, but right after Russia pulled all its assistance and personnel out of Mongolia following the USSR’s collapse, all the buildings they left behind (those that weren’t immediately occupied in some way by another entity) were stripped to empty husks. Even the scrap wood was taken. My wife described being upset seeing those buildings slowly torn apart, with once complete and very functional buildings being ruined and the scraps likely sold at a tiny fraction of the value they had when combined as a building. As the local economy continued to suffer the problems with theft escalated, and just about every public asset that could be stripped for parts was left in shambles. And any private property either not locked up or watched like a hawk suffered the same fate. I’m told it’s not as bad now as it was then in the 90’s, but it’s still kinda bad now even with a much improved economy. Not that the attitude towards others property was perfect before, but the repressive communist state apparently did provide some stability in that sense. There’s probably a lesson there… respect for the ‘commons’ and others’ property apparently is lost easily, yet it seems awfully slow to recover. Perhaps especially when you have a couple generations being brought up to believe forcible redistribution of others’ wealth and property is ok….

  4. To make records all they needed to do is melt the plastic and re pour it. 3rd world record producers recycle all the 45’s that they press for last week’s big new artist.

  5. Is there any way you can reprocess this to improve the audio? It would be really interesting to listen to this interview, but it’s really hard to understand anything. Never mind the accent. From the little I can hear, the guy’s accent is not at all strong, but he is just not audible. Real shame.

    BTW, I’ve been to Riga, and they are not lagging technologically behind in Latvia, so the location or distance has nothing to do with the audio quality. I’ve also done transatlantic Skype or Facetime calls without any audio problems.

    Hope you improve the audio, and if not, it may be worth re-doing the whole interview, because the topic sounds very interesting.

  6. Sound quality was horrible, his accent is fine but it’s the beginning and ends of sounds that are very difficult to understand. I’d love a second interview if the sound issues can be tested ahead of time and improved.

  7. I would have loved to listen to this interview but the audio was so bad I couldn’t understand most of what Kristaps was saying (even with Bose headphones).

  8. Sound quality is bad, but there are podcasts on his website if you want to know what he has to say.

  9. Soviet people were tough sturdy survivors. They got by with little and improvised for things they could not get. Many apartment dwellers had a small plot of land outside the city where they grew gardens that they counted on for food. When their system collaped, they continued on.

    I do not think we will fare as well. Folks here complain when they have to walk a distance from parking to the mall. We expect FEMA to be our nanny. We lost our surviving skills. It will not be pretty.

    A great comedy movie about East West differences is “Moscow On The Hudson” with Robin Williams. About a Russian circus actor defecting to the US and the lifestyle changes he goes thru to become an American. Funny and eye opening.

    The sound quality on this episode is like listening to Voice of America from the USSR on shortwave radio. That is how they got their news.

  10. I stopped listening as well, BUT I have already listened to 4 of his episodes at theeasternborder.lv
    I highly recommend grabbing his podcast as well. I told my kids about it, pointed to our full pantry and told them to never ever complain again.

    Hoping Kristaps recorded his side separately and that the two sides can be combined for a remastered edition.

    Thank you, Jack for introducing me to this. BTW, I think the Dangerous History (anarchy leaning) Podcast also mentioned the eastern border podcast. Both are awesome supplements to TSP.

  11. The distortion of the audio was too much. I had to stop the podcast. It would be great if this could be cleaned up. I was really looking forward to listening podcast. I’m actually surprise you put it up because if a first time listener were to hear this, it would probably be their last. Hopefully he would be willing to sit in for another recording to get it right.