D. Snell

Televised Youth

Globally, television was booming in the 1970s and 1980s, as it became an industry that entertained and often pushed certain political agendas. Similar to the Soviet film culture that historically challenged the values of the Soviet Union, TV shows had the opportunity to weekly immerse viewers in anti-communist satire, and the “signal reached roughly 70% of Soviet territory by 1970″ (KVN Canceled). The Soviet game show that was first broadcast in 1961, Club of the Merry and Resourceful (also known as KVN), was an attempt to combine elements of sport, youthful rebellion, and political satire into a form of entertainment that would attract …

Zoot Suiters and the Wicked West

  The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 created a culture vacuum in which the anti-communist styles and values of the West attracted the millennial generation of the Soviet Union. The uniformity of the Stalinist era focused on collective accomplishment, whereas the new wave of the Stilyaga revitalized the idea of individualism for both men and women.… Continue reading Zoot Suiters and the Wicked West

The Entitlement Warriors

The Soviet veterans of the Great Patriotic War, though united through the fight for entitlements, differed greatly in generational experience and social welfare. The frontline generation, born between 1923 and 1927, “had not been established in adult life before the war and by 1945 had not learned much more than ‘shoot, throw grenades, and creep around’… Continue reading The Entitlement Warriors

Revival of Soviet Sport

In conjunction with the push for education, infrastructure, and equality movements of the late 1920’s came the state-sponsored physical, pro-sport culture in the 1930’s. Physical attractiveness and a healthy lifestyle were only side benefits of a campaign that believed exercise of the body would benefit the socialist mind. Specifically, in a state striving for socialism, the shared discipline… Continue reading Revival of Soviet Sport

Entrepreneurs and the Reemergence of Capitalism

In 1921, the New Economic Policy was implemented, which denationalized industry and further diversified the Russian economy. Vladimir Lenin argued that reforming the economy would stabilize unrest, particularly within the peasantry. Citizens were permitted to privately sell and exchange surplus of food and resources as a result of the New Economic Policy’s tax-in-kind parameters. Ironically, this economic policy… Continue reading Entrepreneurs and the Reemergence of Capitalism

The Influence of Art in Illiterate Russia

After the Bolshevik victory in 1917, Vladimir Lenin knew that the peasant and worker masses, worn from capitalism, needed a kickstart into a Socialist state of mind. Not only had the Bolsheviks long been the underdog in a revolution decades in the making, but many were educationally unaware of the political battle they were waging on behalf… Continue reading The Influence of Art in Illiterate Russia

The Okhrana and the Frailties of a Police State

The assassination of Alexander II in 1881 revealed the existential threat of revolutionary groups to the regime, and inspired the creation of a secret police force to silence activists before revolution broke out. The Okhrana, different from street police, formed to gather intelligence on these rebel groups through discrete surveillance and provocative measures. Up to… Continue reading The Okhrana and the Frailties of a Police State

Samarkand: Home to Jewish Tradition

This 1911 photograph from the Prokudin-Gorskii collection captures a Jewish teacher instructing Jewish children in Samarkand. Beginning around 600 BC, the Silk Road connected Europe with Eastern Asia in order to establish a trade circuit. Samarkand, located in Uzbekistan, stood as a main stop in central Asia along the trade route, and in turn, adopted a… Continue reading Samarkand: Home to Jewish Tradition