Chris T.

The Fall of the Denim Curtain

Arguably the most significant and impactful event of the Brezhnev era was the legalization of the production of blue jeans (jk). Though many universities and workplaces had previously forbidden the wearing of jeans, the USSR embraced the denim craze, commissioning the companies Levi Strauss, Wrangler, and Lee to manufacture jeans in the Soviet Union in 1979. This […]

The Khrushchev Slums

One of the most noteworthy aspects of everyday Soviet life was the nature of their homes. While Westerners normally lived in single family houses and apartments, only about a third of Soviet families lived in single family homes. Just over half of the Soviet population lived in apartments, and about half of that portion lived in communal […]

Brain Drain Is Prohibited!

Though Khrushchev’s Thaw brought about significant political and social changes in Russia, many academics and scientists continued to view the Soviet bureaucracy as an impediment to their work. With newfound political freedom and a re-emphasis on technological advancement, Soviet scientists looked for ways to organize themselves into a physically close community in order to be able […]

She Defends the Motherland

During Russia’s Great Patriotic War, films about the war effort dominated Russia’s film industry. With the majority of film production safely moved to Kazakhstan, the studios began to release war films to rally the Soviet people, and many of these focused on the partisan war effort. The role of women in the partisan war effort was […]

Snatching God’s Thunderbolts

In February 1920, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets established The State Electrification Commission (GOELRO), kicking off the first major economic overhaul under the Bolsheviks. The GOELRO sought construct thirty new power stations, reaching a total capacity of 1,000,000 kW within 10 to 15 years (up from 1,038 kW). Expanding access to electrical power was significant […]

Father Gapon is Every Russian

By the turn of the 20th century, Tsar Nicholas II was beginning to see the limits of his autocratic rule. Not only was his military in the midst of an embarrassing defeat to the Japanese, but at home his own people were becoming increasingly displeased with Russia’s outdated government. There was a wide range of […]

Kasli’s Iron Legacy

One of the many aims of Tsar Alexander II’s Great Reforms was to modernize the Russian economy in order to compete with Western Europe. The Industrial Revolution had recently ushered in an enormous production and population boom in Europe. At the same time, Russia failed to keep up with its western counterparts. Russian infrastructure was severely lacking, […]