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Why Thursday was designated a "fish day" in the USSR: the history of another propaganda tool

Anna OnishchenkoLife
Fish day

In the Soviet system, where control over all aspects of life was the norm, even food was not without ideological influence. One example of this was the introduction of a "fish day" on Thursday.

The propaganda claimed that this decision was aimed at supporting the fishery and improving public health. However, OBOZ.UA tells about the history and true political background of the "fish day".

History

In the 1930s, meat was a scarce product in the Soviet Union. Instead of 35 kg per year, the per capita consumption was only 17 kg. One of the reasons for this was collectivization. The right to private property was taken away from people. Peasants had to give their livestock and land to form collective farms. However, some people considered this unfair and preferred to slaughter their cows rather than just give them away.

Why Thursday was designated a ''fish day'' in the USSR: the history of another propaganda tool

The devastation of farms led to famine, and famine led to poor public health. Due to the lack of nutrients, people's ability to work significantly decreased.

The authorities were not satisfied with this, but they were unable to provide the population with meat in full, so on the initiative of People's Commissar of Food Anastas Mikoian, it was decided to introduce a "fish day" in the canteens, where people who earned their living by hard physical labor ate mainly, and to introduce at least some protein into the diet of workers.

The "fish day" was fully introduced only after World War II. When the Soviet Union faced another meat shortage in the 60s and 70s, the government remembered Mikoian's idea.

Why was Thursday chosen for the "fish day"?

It took a lot of effort to choose a "fish day". Doctors, psychologists, and sociologists worked on it.

Monday was not chosen because, on weekends, Soviet citizens often organized family gatherings with delicious home-cooked meals, so people might not take fish well.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, enterprises worked quite intensively, so workers were fed meat dishes so that they had enough energy to work.

Friday is the last day before the weekend, so Thursday became the "fish day" by the rule of thumb.

Why Thursday was designated a ''fish day'' in the USSR: the history of another propaganda tool

There is also a version that Thursday was chosen to promote atheism and further reduce meat consumption. As you know, Orthodox Christians used to eat fish on Wednesdays and Fridays. Thus, taking into account the number of fasts, Orthodox citizens ate meat even less often.

That is, under the guise of caring for its population, the Soviet government, as always, was guided only by the need to fulfill the labor plan and the desire to further control the citizens of the USSR.

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