Category: Blog Post Guidelines

Final Blogpost Guidelines

Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership ushered in an era of increased freedom, opportunity, and hope for Soviet citizens, even as it fostered economic uncertainty, political instability, and the threat of chaos. For your final blog post, please choose a topic that gives you some insight on the collapse of Soviet communism and the social transformation that accompanied it.

There are two more modules (on 1985 and 1991) from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History that offer an array of topics ranging from nationalism, sexuality and youth culture, to the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the anti-alcohol campaign, and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Please also consult and use the Current Digest of the Soviet Press and cite the articles you use from this collection. Feel free to explore any other relevant topic from this period as well.  There are good suggestions for primary materials on the Soviet History Resources page. You could also use articles from Historical New York Times to compare the coverage of a particular event or issue in the US with the articles you use from the Current Digest.

8th Blogpost Guidelines

Despite its reputation for “stagnation,” the Soviet seventies were anything but boring! Science fiction, new modes of consumerism and expanding television and film offerings shaped the decade, as did the dissident movement, the campaign to clean-up the Aral Sea, and the invasion of Afghanistan.

6th Blog Post Guidelines: From the Big Deal to the Thaw

Dramatic changes in Soviet society, culture and politics followed Stalin’s death in 1953. This week we consider Stalin’s final years before turning to the initial period of “De-Stalinization” and “The Thaw.” The modules on 1947, 1954 and 1956 from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History  are good starting points. You might also be interested in the photographs and films from the Martin Manhoff Collection on Radio Free Europe’s website. These materials offer fascinating views of everyday life and a rare perspective on Stalin’s funeral.

5th Blogpost Guidelines: Defending the Motherland

This week we turn our attention to build-up to The Great Patriotic War (aka World War II) and the immediate post-war period.  Please use one of the modules from 1939, 1943 or 1947 in Seventeen Moments in Soviet History on-line archive. You should consult Ch. 12 in the Freeze text. If you are writing about something specific to the war, it would be worth considering William C. Fuller’s discussion on pp. 383-392 of Freeze about the reasons for Soviet victory.

I have also flagged some resources that might be of interest on my blog here.

As you develop your topic, think about how your post might address either of these questions:

  1. Why was Stalin’s Soviet Union so ill-prepared for the war?
  2. How did the Soviets nonetheless manage to prevail?

There’s plenty of action, drama, and complexity to keep us all engaged this week.  Ни шагу назад!

4th Blogpost Guidelines


We begin with the upheaval at the end of the twenties, when the forced collectivization of the peasantry and a massive industrialization campaign permanently transformed Soviet life. Indeed the “Great Turn” brought changes so profound and wide-reaching that the period of the First Five Year Plan (1928-1932) is often seen as a “second” revolution. The decade that followed was one of Shockworkers, Stalinist family values, and Purges, as well as a social-political phenomenon scholars have called “The Great Retreat.” So, the thirties are going to be exciting to study!

Third Blogpost Guidelines

Beat the Whites with a Red Wedge - El Lisitsky 1919

“Beat the Whites with a Red Wedge.” By El Lissitzky –, Public Domain,

For your third blog post, use the resources in Seventeen Moments of Soviet History (1921 and 1924) to examine a significant aspect of the Russian Revolution. Make sure to check out and use the primary materials. You should also consult the Freeze text (the rest of Chapter 9 and Chapter 10).

First Blog Post Guidelines

Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, “Nadgrobnyĭ Kamenʹ Na Mogilie Khadzhi-Khusein-Beka, Dostavlennyĭ Tamerlanom,” still image, 1910, //

For your first blog post, please select a photograph from this online exhibit at the Library of Congress and analyze it in the context of social and economic change in late Imperial Russia.

A photograph such as this one, for example, might lead you to explore the religious, ethnic and economic diversity of this vast country. Looking forward to our discussions over the next couple of weeks, you should think about how the combination of economic modernization and the autocracy’s resistance to political change would inform developments leading up to the fall of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of the Bolsheviks in 1917.