Destination Dacha

Russia is a huge country. In theory, one can choose between millions of different ways to spend their free time. However there are few that seem to be extremely popular among people. These are mainly determined by the economic and political development of the country. The most common ones are the most practical ones. Mainly, people choose a specific way to spend their holidays according to their available budget and the benefit of leisure activity.

During the XX century, Russia witnessed significant social and economic changes. These brought the country into isolation, and created difficult social conditions. Traditional European holidays were no longer possible, since the population suffered from the civil war, intervention and radical change in social and economic structure. Efficiency and rationalization guided the country’s holiday paths. The natural reaction to the internal changes was the development of Dacha residences.

The aforementioned Dacha means a seasonal or all-year second home, often located in the former suburbs of Soviet cities. In some cases, they are occupied for part of the year by their owners and rented out to urban residents as summer retreats. Dachas are very common for Post-Soviet countries, and are also widespread in some other former Warsaw Treaty countries.

The popularity of Dacha is connected to its relatively cheap price for rent during the Soviet times. However the collapse of the Soviet Union saw the return to private property. Most Dachas have since been privatized and Russia is now the nation with the largest number of owners of second homes. The increase in living standards in recent years has allowed many Dacha owners to spend their discretionary income on improvements. Thus, many recently built Dachas are fully equipped houses suitable for use as permanent residences. The market-oriented economy transformed the Dacha into an asset, which generally reflects the prosperity of its owner and can be freely traded in the real estate market.

The habit to spend summer and holidays at one’s Dacha has become very popular in Russia. Few summer events are possible without a family gathering at their Dacha. The Soviet economy was struggling with private property, and so rentable summer houses for urban dwellers were created. The idea was to force the working class to work in agriculture and leave more space for industrial development. Decades later, summer houses were privatized and became the national holiday strategy.

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