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Comment on Singing Themselves Free by A. Nelson

Thanks so much for this, Kevin — I really appreciate how you tie the various strands of national identity and protest together to talk about the pressures for liberation of the Baltic states at the end of the Soviet period. The Estonian song festival is especially cool. A student who took this class a couple years ago actually went to one — about a million people turned out (and the total population is only 1.3 million!). There’s a video at the end that’s worth checking out:

Comment on Soviet Movies Finally Released to the Public by A. Nelson

I agree that the problem with Trial on the Road was having a defector as a protagonist — even if he redeemed himself. Anna raises an important question about Gorbachev’s rationale for releasing previously censored films. I think that the spirit of openness called for having a more nuanced and controversial public sphere, and it involved a recognition that difficult topics needed to be discussed and dealt with, not just pushed underground.

Comment on The Americans: That’s So 80s by A. Nelson

Thank you so much for writing about The Americans, Michael! I agree, for all of the spot-on contextual richness of the 80s sets and references, the real power of the series comes from the moral complexities that permeate the motivations and actions of the main characters. And it isn’t nearly as pretentious as Mad Men. I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that Stan is so hapless — living across the street from the Jennings and always a couple steps behind.
Very interesting article from the CD as well.

Comment on Young, Wild, and Free by A. Nelson

That’s really great that you updated this after reading Elizabeth’s post. There’s been some nice synergy between the topics this week — who knew motorcycles were so central to youth culture in the Soviet Union?

Comment on Sober Up, Comrade! by A. Nelson

You’ve got great comments here, so I’ll just focus on the sugar issue: People used it to make moonshine / homebrew when the state clamped down on vodka.

Comment on “We Came to Beat up Punks, Hippies, and Break Dancers, too” by A. Nelson

Thanks so much for writing about the Liubertsy, Caroline! You found some terrific sources, especially in the Current Digest, that really highlight the contradictions between the authorities’ concerns and the agendas of “restless youth.” It’s also really great to see you linking back to your earlier work on the stilyagi.

Comment on The Disaster at Chernobyl by A. Nelson

What an engaging and interesting post! I think the way you start with a narrative of the explosion and then link the aftermath of the disaster to the collapse of the Soviet Union works really well. And you’ve found some really good sources as well. Do make sure and indicate the courses of the images as well. Nicely done!