In Dmitry Bykov’s novel, there’s a character, a young woman called Alya who lived in France for many years and then returned to the USSR in late 1930s. She’s super excited about the Soviet system and gushes about it endlessly.
“Back in Paris, men would constantly hit on me!” Alya exclaims. “And here nobody gives me a single look! I feel so safe and comfortable.”
“You dumb little fool,” thinks her Soviet boyfriend. “Nobody hits on you because people are hungry and terrified. Nobody has any energy to flirt. We aren’t enlightened. We are beaten down.”