Red Square – The Editor’s Corner

Painting; six young women sitting in front of a wooden building

Soviet Culture In Perspective

Welcome to the course website for History 3684: History of Soviet Culture from Fall 2018. Over the semester we explored many of the key issues that shaped artistic expression and popular culture during the Soviet period, including the challenges of cultural transformation during times of revolutionary upheaval, the evolving dictates of Socialist Realism, changing sensibilities around gender and generation, and […]

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Greatest Hits

"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),…

Vasiliev, Demobilized Soldier - painting

“My darling, where did you go?”

It is no secret that the nature of war can change a person, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is also no secret that a society is rarely ever fully ready nor capable to accommodate for the men and women who return from the front lines. The USSR was no exception to this assumption, as their […]

Bedroom scene from Lady Macbeth

Stalin v. Katerina

Scene of The Lady of Mtsensk at the Met in 2014 In 1936, Stalin went to the opera to see Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaption of The Lady of Mtsensk. Supposedly, Stalin “stalked out ill-pleased” after seeing the opera, and later declared a large crackdown on all artistic expression. Although there was widespread enjoyment of the opera, the vulgarity … Continue reading Stalin v. Katerina

Chapaev Film Poster

Red Soviet Down

Stalin’s Soviet Union used film to capture Russian audiences in the 1930s and to further their agenda of cultural revolution. Cinema served as the most efficient and gleaming tool for the masses, it was the easiest and most ‘entertaining’ way to hold the attention of the Russian people in a way that socialist realist literature…

Interior photo of Moscow Metro Station

“All aboard! Full steam ahead to modernization!”

The early 1930’s in Soviet Russia was in turmoil as Stalin enacted his first Five-Year Plan. Soviet citizens had to learn how to adapt to the harsher quality of life and the variety of obstacles that were thrown into their everyday lives. Although corruption and coercion were reaching record-breaking heights during Joseph Stalin’s reign, the […]

Washer Women: Arkhipov’s Superheros

What’s the first thing that strikes you when you study the painting above? Do you notice the people being depicted, or are you focusing on the smaller details and the setting? Maybe, you’re taken aback by the textures, shading, and all-around technique employed by the artist. Abram Arkhipov’s paintings, including the one above, are rife […]