About our Soviet History Podcast

Soviet Union. What has shaped current Russia and it’s government and ideologies. The government of the USSR.  History of the Soviet rule. Laws, culture and everyday life of a Soviet citizen. What did they see? How did they get by? What did they go through? And what is left after the collapse of USSR?

I’m Kristaps Andrejsons. I live in Riga, Latvia, I have a master’s degree in western philosophy from the University of Latvia (and I’m working on my PhD), and this is my podcast about the politics and the history of the eastern Europe – including, but not limited to the current state of Russia, politics of the EU, history of the USSR and the region in general. Well, currently it’s about the history and the life in the Soviet Union, but we mention current political events sometimes. And make sarcastic remarks about them, remembering how we wanted to do actual political episodes a while ago. So, sit down and enjoy – we have beer, pelmenyi, and the best midsummer festivities ever!

If you want to contact us, then, feel free to send your comments/ideas to theeasternborder@gmail.com. I promise to reply as quickly as possible.

We can also be found on iTunes  and Stitcher, so if you like the show, please give us nice reviews there. Sometimes I also hang out on the History Podcasts page on facebook, and we also have our own page there: https://www.facebook.com/TheEasternBorder/
If you want to follow us, our Twitter account is: @Eastern_Border

Our episodes also come out on Youtube:


And, as we are also a part of the Dark Myths collective, don’t forget to check out http://darkmyths.org/ for more awesome, dark podcasts by very talented people!

If you want to hear me talk about what this all is about, here’s our intro:

Episode 0 – Introduction


Note: This is from the very beginning of our show….I’ve gotten better over time, and definitely will re-record the intro some time in the future.

P.S. If you want to support us, feel free to use the donate button in the sidebar or support us in Patreon.

Also, according to one of our listeners, we’re obviously a CIA-funded, pro-American, propaganda spewing machine that hates Jesus and wants to destroy Russia. But as Latvia shall be conquered soon anyways, it doesn’t matter, because we’ll get shot then. We wear this as a sign of pride now.

43 Comments on About our Soviet History Podcast

  1. Dear Sir, How do I find you on Itunes. I can’t seem to be able to find the Eastern Border on Itunes.
    Michael Raben

  2. Oh wow, the iTunes thing. Yep, somehow they don’t seem to be able to load my 1400×1400 logo picture. Which Stitcher does perfectly. It sucks to try to use apple and live in Latvia.

  3. Good intro! I do wish you’d talked more about what it was like as part of the USSR, but we’ll hear more of that in future, no doubt!

  4. Hi. Would you ever consider doing an episode on the history of booze/vodka/beer/alcoholism in these parts? I think it’d be super interesting.

  5. Well, it’s been looked at in the Very Old Men…and almost every other episode. But it promise to do it one day. I have a list of things I still need to talk about, as requested. Among others: Childhood, Space Race, more Army, Religion, Booze. Thank you for providing ideas, people!

    • We’re fixing this issue right now! (For now, just download form the page) As we’re not really good at this wordpress thing, we had unintentially set the syndicated feed to only show the most recent 10 episodes. Now we’ve changed that to 100 or so, but the feed isn’t updating yet, for some reason. When I’ll upload my next show, I’ll know if this is fixed and the EP6 isn’t thrown out of the feed.

      You see, our primary feed is this one, and now that one seems to be fixed: http://theeasternborder.lv/podcast/feed/

      Which we then feed into feedburner, for statistics and itunes and everything, and for some reason the
      feeds.feedburner.com/TheEasternBorder one, hasn’t updated yet, although it basically takes from our feed.

      So yeah, actively working on this.

  6. I just finished listening to Episode 15 Childhood, and it brought back memories of my childhood in Newark New Jersey, USA in the mid 1950’s, memories of childhood games not so different from your own. We, too, made slingshots from wood, and also bows and arrows. We had many commercially made toys, which each had a season on the school yard. Yoyos, spinning tops, baseball cards with which we traded and played one of several flipping games. Pea shooters – store bought colorful plastic tubes from which we shot dried whole peas. Yes, food was plentiful, and we did play with it! I guess all boys like to make things explode. We made small bombs from empty small paint bottles left over from the painting of plastic airplane model kits. We filled the bottle with the heads of stick matches, punched a small hole in the lid into which we inserted a wick made of string and candle wax, then waxed the lid onto the bottle, lit the fuse, and ran like hell. Boom! Great fun. We played the same knife games as you described in the podcast. We played many ball games in the street with our friends using a pink rubber ball. Cheap ones of poorer quality cost 10 cents (@ one tenth of an hour’s minimum wage), and high quality balls cost 45 cents….I never bought one of these due to their expense. Box ball, box baseball, triangle ball, stoop ball, points, pointers, butts up (Chinese handball with a penalty for losing). I yelled myself hoarse every summer.

    A small English pronunciation correction: The words Crow and Sew. The ow and ew in these two words are pronounced like the name of the letter O. Like grow. English has many pronunciation and spelling oddities that defy any general rules and must be learned on a case by case basis. Your English skills are excellent, by the way.

    Thank you for doing The Eastern Border Podcast.

  7. I listen to the Astonishing Legends podcast and that is how I learned of Eastern Border. I am SO GLAD I jotted down the reference as I was listening during my commute. I’ve only heard a few episodes but my mind is seriously blown. In a good way. Thanks!

  8. Just started the series and am delighted! I was on the other side in the US military, so your show has been revealing.
    Also my wife was raised by first generation Czech immigrants here in the US, so your accent as well as sense of fatalism/irony/humor is very welcome and familiar.

  9. Hey, heard you’re interview with Prof CJ, you got a new listener.

    If you feel like doing another interview, I’m certain Jack Spirko from “The Survival Podcast” would love to talk with you (that’s where I found out about CJ). He always talking about finding ways to circumvent “the system”. From what you said it sounds like former soviet citizens are experts at it.
    Here’s his guest submission form:

  10. Labdien Kristaps,

    I just started to listen to your show. It’s great!

    My father’s family are from Aizpute.

    Did I hear you correctly that your father is from Aizpute, too?

    My father lived on Kalvenes Iela in Aizpute. His father, Janis Balodis built the house they lived in. My father,s sister and family, named Rasmanis, lived there afterwards.

    I visited Latvia in 1990, a very important year.

    My family told me that there were plenty of firearms and other ordnance left over around Aizpute after WW2. The story of the mortar does not surprise me.

    If there is something I would like you do cover it would be Latvian history from any era and more tales from Aizpute.

    • Thank you, Eric, we’ll definately will look into this! We’ve planned on some research trips around the Baltics and other post-soviet countries in the future, and Aizpute is on the to-be visited town list. And yeah, my dad’s from there.

  11. Hi Krisap,
    Your podcast is awesome. I just started listening to it 3 days ago, and cannot stop listening. My brother and I grew up in Sweden. I’m half Russian and he’s fully Russian, and he grew up his first 10 years in the Soviet Union in Moscow. I’m born 1988 in Sweden, so I was never able to experience the Soviet Union, but I recognize many of your stories, and many of the theories you have are extremely interesting and logical. Like for example why Gopniks wear Adidas and why SciFi is so popular in Russia (my brother btw always read it).
    My brother and I do a bro-trip once every year – if we decide to you to Riga this year, would you be interested to meet up and take us to one of your famous craft beer bars?

  12. How about an episode about the Soviet Airline, Aeroflot? I have heard crazy things about flying on AroeFlot.

  13. Great show but it some has potential to improve, like:
    Start each episode directly. The first sentence should by aiming to catch interest. Do not start with a complex of apologies. Start with content.

    When your in the real show, do not explain that you are not shore on how to pronounce a name. It is just waste of listeners time. Be confident.

  14. This is a great podcast! Just discovered it. Gotten to episode 7 now. Thank you so much!

    Is the offer to visit – mentioned in episode 7 – still valid?

  15. Heretofore I have enjoyed your podcast, but due to the last drop it is about to be deleted from all my devices.

    There is nothing wrong with bringing on propaganda, but I expect it to be good propaganda. Some hack, doctrinaire lefty providing talking points and agitprop is not why I have listened to your podcast.

    To provide just one example, the young lady’s discussion of “bankruptcy and President Elect Trump” displayed an almost unusual level of ignorance about the United States Bankruptcy Code, the collapse of American real estate markets in the late 1980’s, and business organisation. Anyone with virtually no knowledge of the aforementioned subjects yet enthusiastic about pontificating regarding all three subjects is a fool, and a fool seemingly proud of her ignorance.

    And, btw, though now retired I studied East European History in college and even a bit in graduate school, in addition to having a law degree. I am also a registered Democrat, though a Dem unwilling to vote for Madame Clinton. Purveying anti-Trump propaganda is fine, it is ignorance and stupidity on basic facts which I abhor.

  16. Hi. Love the show and I’m currently donating through Patreon. I want to remember the joke to you told about the Checka and starvation under Gorbachev. Can you remind me what episode that was in?

  17. I was delighted at first when I found out about this podcast, but I must admit that after some 15+ podcasts behind me, hoping that things would gradually improve, I think I will now change the tune. If you dont mind, let me expand on why:

    – firstly, I think theres a major conceptual confusion in terms of what you want to tell in the first place: this is formally a Soviet history podcast, yet you tend to spend about half the time citing Latvian reality, distinguishing between the two. You even often switch between “us” and “them” (Russians). Which is a bit like telling the history of the British empire from the perspective of an Irish or Indian. Do you want to tell something new about the USSR or just fix your own countries inferiority complex throughout history, using the bigger topic? If you indeed want to talk about the Baltics, perhaps you should re-brand your podcast and not just focus on the victim story of the narrow Soviet era: rather than Perestroika or kulaks, perhaps you should start with the Latvian Arajs commando which murdered almost 30 000 Jews. Dont get me wrong, but telling the Soviet history from a Latvian perspective, from someone born and educated in the new paradigm after independence, is a little like learning about NSDAP and Nazi history from a young Jew born in Israel after the war. What I mean is: hardly objective.

    – it seems you automatically expect your listeners to be ‘muricans (I, for one, am Czech) and tend to cater to their cold-war stereotypes: everything the Russians ever made was lousy, unreliable, corrupted, evil, and the whole podcast is just totally ideologically one-sided without offering even small upside or explanation of historical continuity as for “why it turned out that bad”. How about the few things that indeed turned out really great, such as certain modernist soviet art, cinema, technology till the 60s, education, social system, the fact that back in early 20th century, Russia was really a starving gloomy feudal state and only 40 years later sent the first man into space? I was astonished to listen to your space-race podcast and hear you sell even that, possibly the biggest triumph of USSR ever, as a dark series of fatalities and incompetence. The only thing missing was some Latvian janitors not being able to celebrate their Jani festivities in Baikonur.

    – I was happy I found a podcast reportedly run by someone with solid background in philosophy and politology, hoping you would bring out some interesting intellectual layers, motivations and connections behind historical events, possibly using interesting russian sources not available to people not reading russian. But in fact, I find the content a little shallow, based on latvian anecdotal evidence from, pardon me, the periphery of the empire. In the Chernobyl episode, you drop over 40 (sic!) names of unimportant engineers rather than bringing up the environmental politics of the USSR, the value of human life in the Russian mind and history, the context of similar disasters before (Kyshtym, K-19), the nuclear disarmament movement… In the Khrushchev episode, the only thing your listerner learns about the man is literally that “he was weird and did crazy things”. Why? What was the source of his noted “avanturism”? What was his relationship with Stalin? How was his speech recieved? How did the Cuban crysis even happen? You should show these people new and never imagined consequences and not just offer stereotypical affirmation to their shallow, re-concieved opinions.

    – lastly, you do a lot of silly mistakes, for a man claiming a Phd in politology: in episode one, you call the chief engineer Korolevski (Korolev), later you repeatedly claim the Hungarian uprising happened in 1958 (1956), you keep calling the Warsaw pact “Warschau”…

    • I have listened to the first 10 podcasts, multiple times to catch everything. These are insightful for us Americans, we knew so little about the USSR and Russia growing up in the 1960’s. Almost 60 years on, we don’t know much more despite many changes in the availability of information.

      Regarding podcast quality, your English is excellent and your accent is fine. Your first podcast was very good, quality of information, clarity, organization of thoughts are all excellent, no need to apologize for anything. I wish my college professors imparted information as well.

      Thanks for all your efforts!

  18. Kristaps, I have only listened to a few episodes so far, but I felt compelled to give some immediate feedback. Having read all of the feedback before me, however, some of what I wanted to say has already been stated by Adam (18/03/17).

    Like you, I studied politics, and while I enjoy your presentation style (even though you could be more structured, direct and concise) I was hoping for considerably more analysis.

    Please remember that podcasts are international, and stop talking as if only Americans are listening. I am Australian. While I’m sure lots of Americans will love the (much deserved) anti-Russian bias you provide, Americans themselves are heavily influenced by a far right, conservative propaganda machine (the mainstream media), and decades of seeing Russia as the enemy. It has suited their economy and military industrial complex well, and allowed them to influence other countries elections, bring down governments, start wars, and encourage their friends into joining them.

    And … don’t be so naive about unfettered capitalism, that cares only about money (refer sub-prime disaster), and is responsible for the failed democracy, with its huge wealth inequality and some of the poorest people on the planet. It is the only first world country without a single payer health care system because their own individual-focussed culture and propaganda machine have convinced them that government is bad. Oh, and when they always claim to be the leader of the so-called free world, the rest of us cringe when we hear them say that. There are more admirable countries than the USA, especially ones with mixed economies and a degree of European socialism (and hence a greater sense of social justice) in their political parties.

    That may sound like an anti-USA rave, but I hope it shows you what your own heavy bias in your podcast looks like, that not everyone thinks (unfettered) capitalism is the best, and encourage you to balance your presentations with world-wide political context, facts, insights and analysis. Turn your podcast into something that reflects the political understanding of a doctorate student. Your listeners will appreciate it.

    Thanks for an entertaining listen.

    • Hi,
      Unfortunately, there is not a single mainstream media source in America that is not very left leaning. Not only that, but, if you go from one network to another you can make a slightly entertaining montage where each newscaster uses the exact same words with the exact same inflection.

      Also, there is ample documentation that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system. In capitalism ideas that work are funded by purchases from people whose lives are improved. Ideas that do not work are not funded and do not interfere with people’s lives.

      Socialism is based on the idea that government can run everything better than you or I. That government is made up of people smarter than us and is more interested in our well being than we are ourselves. Venezuela is the best example an oil rich country that now has to import oil, has no toilet paper, and ran out of beer.

      As President Obama while in the oval office stated “We should not be ALLOWED to earn more than we need.” Great, who decides how much I need and where will they be when the roof leaks and I have no savings. Naturally, the mainstream media ignored that statement.

      No matter how many times capitalism and America helps other countries in times of need we will be evil.

      No matter how many times socialism is proven to create corrupt, bloated, and rich government officials and impoverish any citizen not in high government it will be altruistic and good.

      In a capitalist system you can be born poor and, based on your efforts in making other people’s lives better which means they buy your products, you can become rich. And if you are born rich and only do things for yourself and your friends you can become poor.

      In a socialist system you are born to a class or purpose and, unless you know someone, you cannot break out.

      When you hear a “pretty idea” think it all the way through from beginning to end to be sure it functions. History will help you with that.

  19. Starting at the begining – on episode 4 now – just a quick note to say how much I am enjoying your angle on the Soviet Union.

    Your English is very understandable – your Russian is so very fluent that the names and phrases in Russian just sound like Russian, your translations of the terms is what makes them “real” to my untrained ear ( I speak one, and only one language).

  20. Hi,

    I think you could learn a lot about how the American political system works from Glen Beck, https://www.glennbeck.com/st/podcast,

    And David Barton and the Wall Builders, they have a you tube channel

    There are also free online courses on American history and government from Hillsdale college, https://online.hillsdale.edu/

    I think you would enjoy very much learning about how America was designed. It was called “The great experiment”.

    Also, instead of tithing to church I would like to send you money for your medical bills. I am a consultant in Occupational Health and Safety so I get paid when the job is done, in a chunk. I’d like to send you 10% of my latest fee, a little over $400. Please tell me how best to do that.

    I emailed Glen Beck’s show and suggested they listen to your podcast and set up an interview with you. Glen and Stewart, Stu, and sometimes other guys like to laugh and sometimes have that 13 year old boy sense of humor so I told them to listen to your podcast on swearing. I hope it works out you’d all have a lot of fun and it would be great to listen and laugh.

    Take care of yourself and get back to me soon, please.

  21. Actually, I am short on time and should have realized that this wasn’t an email direct to you.

    Please edit out or don’t post what I wrote as it works for your comment section.

  22. Comrades: I came across this podcast via the martyr made podcast via the Jocko podcast. Only on episode 18, but working my way through all of it. You rock dude, and greetings from sunny SoCal (80 degrees in Feb). I know you did a podcast on the T-34 and the space race, but what about a podcast on the rise of Putin. You mentioned this briefly, but how did Yeltsin put Putin in charge, and who is Putin’s successor?? Does Latvians grow weed and is it legal there??

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  24. Hey there,
    I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. i grew up in Chicago and Mom’s side of the family is Polish. I’ve always had an interest in Eastern Europe. The past 15 years I’ve lived in Central North Carolina. I’m not far from Fort Bragg, I think it’s the main base for the Army’s special forces. I really appreciate what they do. I don’t have much tactical knowledge though. Your podcast is a blessing to me, I think it’s the best possible use of the internet. I like it as much as my favorite neighborhood pizza place. I try to be a good steward here with the info that you share. I look forward to the day the Russians have gotten their asses thoroughly kicked and are out of Ukraine, and podcasts about post conflict Eastern European culture.

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