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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Finding the Big Deal – Prompt #7

Detail from the painting, "Papas Triumph"

Reconstructing Soviet society after the war involved a complex re-articulation of what communism meant in light of Soviet victory. The regime also needed to finesse the hopes of democratization raised by the war and avert potential conflict over postwar rewards. Vera Dunham has called the resulting social contract “the Big Deal.” For this post please explore a cultural aspect of […]

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The Great Patriotic War – Prompt # 6

Courage, resilience and sacrifice defined the Soviet effort to win in World War II. “The Great Patriotic War” became an all-consuming struggle, mobilizing the hopes and fears of the civilian population in equal measure to the military efforts on the battlefield. Indeed the border between battlefield and home front shifted constantly and was often impossible to discern. This week, please […]

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Heroes and Highs of Stalinism – Prompt #4 (3rd Post)

After the tremendous upheavals of the First Five Year Plan and the cultural revolution, the early thirties marked a distinct shift in the tone of Soviet culture. While dictatorship and coercion became more entrenched in these years, the “new normal” also celebrated new brands of heroes, scientific and technological triumphs, and the country’s triumph over “backwardness.” This was particularly evident […]

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What is Revolutionary Culture? 3rd Blogpost Prompt

Reading Sheila Fitzpatrick’s study has given us insight about the scope of political, economic, and social change the Russian Revolution inspired.  Of necessity, the Bolsheviks’ overarching concern was political — they needed to secure and maintain political authority. Yet they also believed that the revolution must be secured by profound changes in economic relationships, and assumed that those changes must […]

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Second Blogpost Guidelines

This week we take up the spectacular and diverse cultural transformation that preceded and accompanied the Revolution of 1917.  The connections between artistic and political radicalism were powerful and contradictory, and we will continue to explore them throughout the course. Please choose a cultural artifact that interests you — it could be an avant-garde painting, an example of commercial culture […]

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First Blog Guidelines

“Archip Iwanowitsch Kuindshi 005” by Arkhip Kuindzhi. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. For your first post, please explore Russian Realism, focusing either on the painting of “The Wanderers” (Peredvizhiniki) or on Nikolai Leskov’s story, Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk Uezd. For the painters, you might want to identify a particular painting, and tell us what you’ve been able to find […]

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Red Corner News

Greetings, and welcome to History 3684 at Virginia Tech for Fall 2015.  We are still moving in and getting set up, but please check back soon for the latest news on Soviet Culture.  If you are taking this class, please check out the documents posted on the “About” page.  And keep an eye on The “Red Corner” of the site. […]

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