Cultural and social change rocked the Soviet Union in the years after Stalin’s death. This week’s posts address many aspects of the liberalization in politics and society leading up to Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” in 1956. From returning veterans, the H-bomb, and the advent of the space race, to hipsters, youth festivals and the emptying GULAG, this weekly edition suggests how rich, varied and contradictory the dynamics of de-Stalinization were. We should also note Russia’s transfer of Crimea to Ukrainian control in 1954. Intended as a “gift” commemorating the tricentennial of the union of Russia and Ukraine, Crimea remained a popular vacation destination for tourists from across the Soviet Union. Seventy years later, this “gift” would acquire enormous historical significance, as relations between the now independent Russian Federation and Ukraine soured.