God help us if we say these women were better off under Communism. Right to work, education, choice of marriage, dress ... and men and women were EQUALLY oppressed.
Indeed, under Socialism (1917-1991) men and women were as free in all these aspects as anyone in the West. Freerer, actually, because free education allowed more freedom. Some backward republics (the same culprits as in this story) were more strict in the choice of marriage - but one simple solution was to move somewhere else and marry there. The only obvious restrictions on dress were in school and in the army.
and men and women were EQUALLY oppressed.
Yes and no. It was a trade. Soviet people gave up certain freedoms (such as free travel and free speech) but in return they got pretty good security and high stability of the society (until it ran out of steam in 1980's.)
There is still strong support for Communists in Russia. Why, you might ask? Because the trade was good for most people. The majority of workers do not want to travel (they can't get visas, they don't have money, they don't speak foreign languages.) Most people don't need political speech because they have nothing to say. Most people *are* sheep - they are looking for simple pleasures like a guaranteed job, a guaranteed medical service, a guaranteed place to live at, and the governmental support of large families. If all you want is to raise a family, socialism is perfect for that.
The very same problem is obvious in the USA. Majority of population does not march on Washington upon hearing of yet another horrifying story about TSA. Majority of voters are sitting in front of their TVs and drinking beer. They don't care about those freedoms that people on political forums are all agog about. They only want to live in a simple way, with all the "hard jobs" of making decisions done by someone else. Socialism in fact is an excellent destination for them - one large prison where every prisoner is guaranteed three square meals per day. Can you say that sheep in a herd are oppressed? Certainly not; they are far better off there than on their own in a forest.
This is why Obama is so successful: large numbers of voters *want* socialism - especially before it ran out of other people's money. Endless borrowing is the fuel for that
They were. Same applies to Afghanistan. Women's civil rights were better when the Soviets occupied that miserable hellhole.