Why Do Russian Soldiers Choose Colgate Toothpaste?



On Thursday, March 7, Drew Chapman of the University of Pittsburgh gave a guest lecture to students, entitled “Why is Солgате Toothpaste the Product Choice of Russian Soldiers? Conflicting Russo-Soviet Modernities and the Globalizing World.”

His talk addressed the (often humorous) interplay between Western products and Soviet culture during the final decades of the USSR, including everyday practices (standing in line, procuring goods), cartoons, and advertisements from the Stagnation period (1970s) to the present day, showing how globalization is an incomplete process, where past tradition and local spheres of knowledge collide with present day ideologies.


For Kevin Doye’16, the talk “was really fascinating. Especially the fact that so many cultural innovations and anecdotes came out of something like standing in line. I thought the flash-mobs of lines was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever heard of, but in a sense logical because of how essential queuing was to Soviet culture.”

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