[Product Card] – Vladimir Tsesler


A product card in a modern Russian version.

• About artist: Vladimir Tsesler

SKU: VT004 Category: Tags: ,


The cards were introduced for various reasons: during the years of wars and crop failures, to combat shortages, and sometimes the cards were intended for the ruling, elite part of society, so that the powerful of this world received products according to special, generous standards.

The card system was not a unique discovery of the Soviet Union. Even in ancient China, during disasters, long ropes with the imperial seal were distributed to the population, and the seller deftly snatched a piece during each purchase. The system of “rations” and distribution of products existed in Mesopotamia. However, product cards were introduced everywhere only during the First World War. Austria-Hungary and Germany thus regulated the demand for meat, sugar, bread, kerosene, France and England — for coal and sugar. In Russia, zemstvo organizations and local governments also introduced cards, one of the most scarce products was sugar.

In the 1920s — 1940s, the cards became the faithful companions of every inhabitant of the USSR.

All over the country, cards for bread products were introduced by the beginning of 1929. According to the first category, workers of the “defense industry”, transport and communications, engineering workers, the top of the army and navy were supplied. They were supposed to have 800 grams of bread a day (family members — 400 grams each). Employees belonged to the second category and received 300 grams of bread a day. The third category — the unemployed, the disabled, pensioners — were entitled to 200 g. But the “non-labor elements” did not receive cards at all.

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