Below are some photographs of Russian farm workers from the 1980's. Isn't it difficult to imagine that they were taken barely 20 years ago in an 'industrialized nation'? Even more interesting, or unimaginable, is that in most of Russia, people still live this way today. The life of the average farmer has absolutely nothing to do with that of a Muscovite zipping around the city and blabbing on his cell phone.
Much of Soviet-era photography is amazing in the ways it obfuscated reality with happy, smiling agrarian faces. Never mind that roughly 10 million people died of hunger during Stalin's Five-Year-Plans.
Woman picking cabbage in front of old church
A farmer shows off her bedroom
A cowboy with a cigarette
I found the above photos on Marxists.org, a somewhat strange website that non-the-less has some very interesting photographs.
Now - compare these Soviet farm photos with this:
One of Moscow's new buildings
Granted it's a skewed comparison - over 20 years and the fall of communism separate these images, but the larger point still holds.
Here are two photographs of Russian farmers taken in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
Some methodology may have changed and the quality of the film used sure has improved! - But life hasn't. Not all too much, anyway.