Red Stars

“For Peace and Friendship”

Imagine a world in which youth unite amongst each other to stand for something bigger than themselves. Imagine them forming a unifying front against pressing political issues such as nuclear weapons, aggressive imperialist acts, and social justice. Well, look no further than the International Youth Festival, or World Festival of Youth and Students. In 1957,… Continue Reading →

The Thaw

Cover image: Youths dancing in Moscow during the Festival.  Following Stalin’s death in 1953, there was a “thawing out” of the typically strict, uptight Soviet culture. Creativity began to flourish with the end of the gulags, the Space Race, and the new generation rising up. In 1957, that new generation hosted the International Youth Festival in … Continue reading The Thaw

Bulat Okudzhava

Okudzhava’s Last Trolley

After the death of Stalin in 1953, his successor Khrushchev brought a cultural thaw.  Although it did not necessarily promote freedom of expression, “the Thaw” allowed for many cultural expressions that would have been forbidden under Stalin.  One of the most common forms of expression during the Thaw was the more realistic representation of life.  […]

Sputnik 2 / Laika Stamp

The Legend of Laika

From its birth, the Soviet Union valued technological progress and advancement. This tradition of advancing technology and information continued until the fall of the Soviet Union. One of the most valued ways of expanding technical knowledge was the Space Race. The Space Race spurred a fascination in the beyond and was the inspiration for much […]

"In Stalin's Time" book cover

Dr. Lysenko-stien’s Monster

One could say that the state of post-World War II Soviet Russia was a very ‘Big Deal.’ A term coined by Vera Dunham, writer of In Stalin’s Time: Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction, describes the social and democratic shift of Soviet society from “sacrificial and “heroic”” mindsets to a culture based on meshchanstvo (bourgeois culture),…

Red Square – The Editor’s Corner

Thawing Out – Prompt #9

The years after Stalin’s death in 1953 brought broad and often contradictory changes to Soviet culture and society. The emptying of the gulag, liberalization of cultural expression, dawn of the space age, and the coming of age of a new generation all contributed to vibrant creativity and heated debate about the future and past. You have a wealth of choices […]

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Iconoclasts & Conservatives