What similarities did Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have in the '90s? This retrospective photo story depicts the household items of the 1990s, most of which, were novel for these newly independent countries at the time, but outdated today.

It was the ‘90s, a time of Armenian independence, the Karabakh conflict, an economic crisis, and ubiquitous low quality of food, and many protests at the Freedom square.

For someone born in the USSR, this was a time of strict changes and new order. People became more troubled. “Everything has changed dramatically, as if in one night, we weren’t ready for it, but we got used to it and the interesting part was that we revealed the extent of our own flexibility and overcame many difficulties.

“We had electricity and water only a few hours during the day, there was no fuel for a kerosene heater and the kids had to learn their classes before getting dark… but… we were more happy and united, we had victory, we were sharing everything and were enjoying each other’s happiness”.  Madam Anahit’s country house is like a museum of ‘90s goods.

“My children asked me to get rid of this junk stuff, but I couldn’t, as they were not just goods of the ‘90s, but the history of those years”, -says Anahit.


This is a kerosene heater, mostly known as “Kerosinka”, imported from Iran. “I have baked many cakes on this. It was always burnt a little bit”, says Anahit.

As there was no proper electricity supply, the iron was heated on the cylinder gas. “Sometimes we would just roll the clothes and step on it”, -tells Anahit.

Hexamine tablets were also one of the means to heat meals and coffee. “The children were enjoying it”.

These lamps and candles know thousands of stories”.

This comedy film of the ‘90s was a good reflection of that period.

Chewing gum stickers were a thing.

It was in the ‘90’s that the Turkish goods entered into Armenia with the help of “Sadakhlo” market on the Armenian-Georgian border.

One of the “achievements” of the ‘90s was the musical direction called Rabiz. [A popular modern Armenian music style. Shows Middle Eastern influences and is related to Russian blatnyak and Azeri mugham. Considered tasteless and vulgar.

The “keepers” of hot meals and drink during the ‘90s.

The new generation phones replaced old ones.

The Japanese made ‘National’ tape recorder was always on the pianino. “Once in a week we were having parties”.

"I bought this velour dress from a parcel sent from Beirut".

A floppy disk which was popular in the western world starting from the ‘70’s was a discovery for us in the ‘90s.

One of the few warm apartments of the ‘90s.

In those years, in order to have a bath, people were boiling water with an immersion heater.


Even after 25 years, the legacy of the ‘90s has become a kind of symbol of nostalgia for the Soviet period for some, while the struggle for independence and freedom stands out for others. After 70 years of living together, the life of 15 republics collapsed in one moment, and it was necessary to get accustomed to the new rules and new life. The conflicts in the post-Soviet countries, the lack of food, clothes, lack of electricity and gas, all of which characterize the ‘90s.

To borrow money under the high percents destroyed the people. They had to sell their houses, and instances of suicide increased. There was crime, war, drugs. People tried to seek entertainment. The  bars opened. Everyone wanted to be forgotten.

Nostalgia for the real symbols of this era - is not a new phenomenon. Views towards the years of the ‘90 are very ambiguous, very contradictory, they are all different, and everyone has their own nostalgia. The complete freedom, sometimes turned into anarchy. The opportunities to travel abroad became permitted- to easily receive a  foreign passport - and then say hello to America.

In Azerbaijan, as well as in all the neighboring post-Soviet countries, the ‘90s are considered very important and crucial, and traces of the restructuring are felt to this day. 

The children of that time were obsessed with collecting. Previously collected stamps, souvenir soldiers and cars, then, with the advent of the nineties, would turn to collecting simpler things: shells, toys from Kinder, stickers and posters.

A tape recorder with a lamp. Commonly used in the time when there was no electricity, this was charged from elements and could be used as a tape recorder and a lamp.

Photo camera Palaroid

The same thing as a cassette player, only with CDs. To have a player was considered to be cool.

Collection of posters and stickers

Dictaphone A sound recording apparatus. There were two types: a conventional cassette and a microcassette. Commonly, it was used as a player. People recorded music and then listened to it.

What do people remember from the ‘90s? In social networks, the generation of the ‘90s reflects their memories, fragments of stories, the socio-political life.

So, Ilkin Alisoy, 29, says that time is considered very poor, but at the same time, happy. "In the '90s we had more freedom and modernity, the mind and the level of people’s intelligence was different. The people in the ‘90s were much more modern and open than it is today "

Tural Gurbanli, a 26 year-old journalist, remembers how rare it was to see someone in the jeans, in the city center, he says, “everybody was speaking in Russian, the first four buttons on the t-shirts of men walking along the boulevard were open.”

Another active Internet user, Fuad Èminov, also calls this period more interesting. He said that the society was more politicized. The enthusiasm of the ‘80s was felt until the end of ‘98s. In politics, there was more freedom. The parliament was built more on pluralism. Such a big monopoly, as it is today, was not in the economy. “he economic level of the people was much lower than today, but the trends such as ‘to take a loan in order to have an Iphone’ did not exist”.

Housewife Rena Shalbuz, 27, remembers the ‘90s. "Though, I was a little girl, I remember clearly the queue for bread. I remember the crafts for all women; all sewed at homes. I remember the delicious cakes of our mothers. Yes, not only baking but home Dutch cheeses, candies, delicacies. I remember my high-quality Soviet toys,that passed from generation to generation. I remember the news about the war and speeches of Elchibey ( the second president of Azerbaijan). They were on black and white televisions without remote controls. And women with perm hairstyles". 

Farida Mamedova, 32 years old, a housewife, associates the ‘90s with dark and unpleasant memories. "There was shooting, fear, pressure on Russian-speaking people, agitation near the school in order not to send them to the Russian sector. It became easier when the borders were opened; local production has given way to “komissionka” (small private shops). Then, the privatization of objects and checks". 

Kamran Makhmudov, a freelance journalist, says that in every sense of the word, it was a transition period. "From a period of occupation, it switched to independence. The economy became privatized. Everyone thought that it is a democratic period, you can do anything you want. Young people think that life is westernized the way, which was shown to us in the soap operas.  Watching the Turkish and Brazilian TV series, they were trying to be like them. Both in clothing and in lifestyle. It was poverty. But there was hope, faith and spirit. Everyone tried to support each other. There was only one concern, war and and bread to eat."  

In the ‘90s, video games were still on the top! Dendi, Sega, Sony...

Chocolate eggs with a toy in a cone are alive even today, but not so much popular

Children were obsessed with collecting cars

A Kerosene Lamp. Every soviet and post soviet family had a kerosene lamp and will never forget its smell.

Slinky Toy

Palaroid Photo, found in Dry Bridge


The decade of the 1990s in Georgia is characterized as the poorest period in the century. Recovering from the Soviet collapse, the independent country overcame two ethnic wars as well as a civil confrontation. Rising unemployment, starvation, a plummeting economy and territorial deterioration raised inflation and the number of criminals. Whereas most of foreign trade markets were closed for Georgia, people had to use Soviet inventory to adopt it by handcraft. 

A Soviet blood pressure machine with quick-silver in it. This machine was very popular in almost every family of the ‘90s. It works well even now, as it consists of only a simple mechanism.

Sunglasses of these shapes were very popular among men in the ‘90s. Actually, it was inherited from ‘80s Soviet fashion, as in past times, they were commonly thought to be the best. Cartridges against mosquitos were useful only when the electricity was o

A cast iron furnace was used in the winter period, when there was neither electricity, nor gas. People had to warm at least one room and to cook with it.

Some families could afford electric generators that were able to ensure 2-3 rooms with light and a TV. Other families collected money and used a generator jointly.

Gas containers were used to substitute the central gas system. People used to cook, to wash or even to lit up a special lamp with the gas of these cans.

«Sugar ice-cream» machines were widely spread in parks. If the electricity allowed for it, kids had a chance to enjoy a portion of sweet sugar cloud that they called «a cotton ice-cream».

When unemployment rose and the electricity was almost constantly off, citizens (mostly male) used to chat in the streets or gather in the entrances of flats. One of the major entertainments for them was to throw a match that was lit upwards at the ceiling

Second hand shops were very popular as it was the only chance for the majority to have branded clothes.

Aerial antennas outside the rooms were used to catch some TV channels that were unavailable inside. Some people had even to climb to the roof to insert the antenna in the right position.

Telephones with no dial plates were used in offices and were inherited from the Soviet period. They were usually used to connect the directors with their secretaries.

The Persian board game, Nardi, had always been popular in Georgia. In the ‘90s it became a major source of entertainment for elders, who lost their jobs.


Generation of the 1990s


Chai-khana Survay