Did pizza exist in the Soviet Union?

A resounding “NO”.

We are a country of Slav and Turkic peasants on the edge of human habitation. We like portable food. Pizza’s not portable and needs to be eaten sizzling fresh and hot.

For the same reason, we had no tradition of making sandwiches. Sandwiches require shrink wrapping for it. With no wrapping, when you take these things with you to the fields, or to the woods, or to the battle with Tartar nomads, everything slips off and makes a mess of the lunch pack your mother lovingly made for you.

That’s why we are so strong on “PIROGI” (in combination with cooked eggs, dried fish and pickled cucumbers on the side). The pirogi dough wraps it all up, and absorbs any surplus gravy and fat in the filling.

When foreigners started pestering us with skeptical questions about the mystery meat inside, we came to make small inspection openings in the pirogi. But no more concessions! This is the closest you come to pizza in traditional Russian cooking:

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