Communist Daze: The Many Misadventures of a Soviet Doctor

Communist Daze: The Many Misadventures of a Soviet Doctor

Communist Daze: The Many Misadventures of a Soviet Doctor

Communist Daze: The Many Misadventures of a Soviet Doctor

Synopsis

Welcome to Gradieshti, a Soviet village awash in gray buildings and ramshackle fences, home to a large, collective farm and to the most oddball and endearing cast of characters possible. For three years in the 1960s, Vladimir Tsesis--inestimable Soviet doctor and irrepressible jester--was stationed in a village where racing tractor drivers tossed vodka bottles to each other for sport; where farmers and townspeople secretly mocked and tried to endure the Communist way of life; where milk for children, running water, and adequate electricity were rare; where the world's smallest, motley parade became the country's longest; and where one compulsively amorous Communist Party leader met a memorable, chilling fate. From a frantic pursuit of calcium-deprived, lunatic Socialist chickens to a father begging on his knees to Soviet officials to obtain antibiotic for his dying child, Vladimir's tales of Gradieshti are unforgettable. Sometimes hysterical, often moving, always a remarkable and highly entertaining insider's look at rural life under the old Soviet regime, they are a sobering expose of the terrible inadequacies of its much-lauded socialist medical system.

Excerpt

September 1964

It’s a bright summer morning in glorious Soviet Moldova. Once again, I find myself racing across dully colored hospital grounds in pursuit of a decidedly earnest, righteously dedicated Communist who also happens to be my new boss. Lyubov Evgenyevna Oprya, specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, is the Gradieshti Rural Medical District Hospital’s chief doctor. Though dressed in a doctor’s uniform of white gown and cap, she resembles a typical rural village dweller. Lyubov Evgenyevna cannot be called beautiful—short, practically without a neck, and sporting sharp gray eyes, a low forehead, and a large, round, moonlike face with weathered skin carrying the unmistakable scars of adolescent acne. the fat on her body is remarkably uniformly distributed, which, in combination with the absence of a neck, gives her the unfortunate appearance of a rapidly walking meatball.

Lyubov Evgenyevna is a no-nonsense but personable woman known for her fierce, unswerving belief in the Communist Party and an unabashedly uncomplicated approach to life. the fresh-out-of-school young doctor trying to keep pace with her is, I must confess, quite different.

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