Food shopping, Moscow, 1980s
Despite Khrushchev's economic promises, shortages of basic household goods became a permanent reality as the Soviet economy stagnated during the 1960s.
Agriculture was the main problem. From 1962 the government began to import grain to feed the Soviet population and expand livestock herds. Meat and dairy products were in short supply. In Novocherkassk workers strikes and demonstrations against the doubling of meat and butter prices on 1 June were put down by troops with machine-guns, resulting in the death of 26 protestors and 87 wounded. The massacre was unreported in the Soviet press.
Many factors contributed to the poor performance of Soviet agriculture. All of them were rooted in the catastrophe of Stalinist collectivization.