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Why children in the USSR collected dried mosquitoes: where did the myth of their sale come from?

Children even gathered in groups to collect a kilogram of dead mosquitoes as fast as possible. Source: Created with the help of AI

The Soviet childhood, which was not rich in impressions and entertainment, forced kids to show imagination and invent games that now seem like real madness. For example, children in the USSR used to collect dried mosquitoes and compete to be the first to collect a kilogram. But why did they do this and what for?

OBOZ.UA tried to understand the origin of this myth. And also what made children do such strange things.

Researchers of urban legends claim that children were collecting mosquitoes in the 1970s and 1980s. They themselves spread among themselves the story that pharmacies began selling dried mosquitoes and paying fabulous amounts of money for them. According to some versions, a full kilogram of dead insects could even be exchanged for a prestigious car, a Volga.

It is not known for certain where such rumors originated. However, they spread at a frantic pace. Children, who suffered from the eternal Soviet shortage of everything, realized their dreams of prosperity in this way, along with adults.

Little Soviet citizens did not think much about why pharmacies needed mosquitoes. But there were versions that some medical research or social experiments were conducted with the help of insects. And not only Soviet science was allegedly interested in such material. One version of the legend claimed that pharmacists illegally sold dead mosquitoes to Americans, who used them to develop new drugs.

Of course, this was not the only version of the myth that spread among people. According to another version, pharmacies did not need whole mosquitoes, but only their proboscis. Allegedly, this was the only way to get a Volga. A more mundane version said that pharmacists sold the caught insects to pet stores to be used as food for aquarium fish.

One way or another, none of the Soviet children managed to collect a kilogram of mosquitoes, although some tried very hard and even gathered in groups to reach the goal faster. Over time, this game was forgotten, and now only those who grew up in the USSR can remember it.

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