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In Soviet Russia, vacations were as purposeful as work. Many state workers of the era, instead of wasting time in idleness, used the holidays to spend time at a sanatorium—which is like a modern-day spa but with a strong medical component. The idea was to recover from the strains of working hard throughout the year and return refreshed and more productive. All expenses incurred during their stay at the sanatorium, which could be up to two weeks long, were paid for by the state. Many workers actually looked forward to their state-funded holidays.


Vacationers at the Aurora sanatorium in Kyrgyzstan undergoing a treatment involving ultraviolet light-emitting sterilization lamps to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi in the ear, nose or throat. Photo reproduced from the book, “Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums”.

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