Welcome to the final edition of the 20th-Century Russia Digest for Spring 2017. The collective went out on a very strong note and the best of the final contributions are featured in the slider and the top section of the site. These posts suggest the array of challenges that ultimately overwhelmed the Soviet system, including the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, the way economics and politics coincided to undermine the Warsaw Pact, and the Baltic republics’ bid for independence. Another group of posts looks at the fallout of social and economic transformation in government efforts to regulate the supply of alcohol, the complex dynamics of youth culture, and changing norms of sexuality. Finally, Michael’s terrific analysis of “The Americans” (yes, that TV show) offers a glimpse of the moral ambiguities that permeated the Cold War and its agents of espionage.
The lower section of the site features posts the class selected as “Greatest Hits” from the entire semester. Your editorial team is proud of the range of interests, topics, talent, and perspectives represented here and elsewhere on the site. We’ve learned a lot together and these greatest hits offer visitors to the site an overview of how exciting that journey has been.
As your editor-in-chief I want to thank you all for your enthusiasm, commitment and patience over these last few months. There were some bumps along the way, but you navigated them with grace and humor. I hope you will look back on the work we did together with pride and that the course has piqued an ongoing interest in a fascinating place with a rich and complicated historical experience.
Finally, please join me in thanking your devoted, accomplished and talented student editors. The weekly editions and the discussions in class and in the comments would have been impoverished or absent without them. They brought their best to the class and the website and we all benefited from their insight, experience and interest in Soviet History. Thank-you Parker, Drew and Ellen!