Shop ’til You Drop

Once the people of the Soviet Union received a taste of what consumerism was and it’s ability to better their lives, there was no stopping it. Typically in “advanced capitalist societies goods chase people” but in the Soviet Union this was the opposite (Siegelbaum).  People chased goods. They chased them so much that many times […]

Rags to Riches

The 1960s were turbulent and boisterous for many children growing up around the world. American youth were protesting the war in Vietnam, using illegal drugs, and starting a sexual revolution. Across the Atlantic, the Soviet youth were painting a very different picture. Instead of rebelling against their government, they were putting their energies into activities […]

Hero’s “Welcome”

Typically when soldiers return to their home country after a destructive war, they are met with cheers and excitement. Unfortunately, after World War II, the Soviet soldiers returned to a country that had been demolished and a population that had lost millions. The war had destroyed “1,700 towns, 70,000 villages, 30,000 factories, and 65,000 kilometers […]

Marxist Mind Control

To the Bolsheviks the term ‘revolution’ was much broader than simple economic and political change. The revolution was considered complete when ‘’values, myths, mores, aesthetics, popular images, and traditions” were entirely transformed within every social institution (Freeze 329). A comprehensive recasting of the Soviet citizen was needed in order to create the ‘New Soviet Man.’ […]

Women on Holiday

Although International Women’s Day may not be a holiday as recognizable as Christmas or New Year’s Eve, in the early 1900s it had an enormous impact on long-term social developments in Russia. Observance of International Women’s Day began on February 28, 1909 in New York. It was in remembrance for the historic 1908 International Ladies’ […]

Student Intelligentsia Spark a Revolution

What if we as Virginia Tech students could change our country by means of revolution? It seems like a pretty radical idea for us, but it wasn’t for the students in 20th century Russia who worked as revolutionaries and envisioned a better way of life. As industrialization kicked in, the students living within these developing […]

#1: “Transportation of Lumber for the Smelting of Iron Ore”

Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic record of late Imperial Russia during the early 1900s provides a fascinating insight into the rapidly changing landscape of the country and its inhabitants.  In Prokudin-Gorskii’s “Transportation of Lumber of the Smelting of Iron Ore,” laborers are pictured sitting atop birch logs at the Bakal iron mines. The logs were used as a source of fuel and […]