I was in the Soviet Union twice before my journey to the USA. It was not all that bad. Of course it might have been different for visitors who had hard currency and were able to exchange these to Rubles and spend time in hotels in the SU. But it is my opinion that it was much worse that came after the SU during the Yeltsin era, I am glad he resigned in the end of 1999.
Here is something that came after the Soviet Union, not so nice.