Corruption, female sexuality, and rock-n-roll…This week’s posts engaged the complex dynamics of Soviet society in its final decades. The invasion of Afghanistan, the Moscow Olympics, and the Chernobyl nuclear accident attracted the most attention, but visitors will find wonderful discussions of popular music, Gorbachev’s efforts to limit alcohol consumption, and the intransigent problems of Soviet agriculture as well. Looking forward to the end of the Soviet Union (and the Semester), these posts provide context for the major stressors and changes that affected the Soviet system in its final years. Enjoy!
We end our study of Soviet history with yet another turbulent decade – one that began with the invasion of Afghanistan and the Moscow Olympics, and ended with the entire Soviet system on the verge of collapse. 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 dynamics of the late Soviet period and the social transformation that would result in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Please find a topic in the final three modules (on 1980, 1985 or 1991) from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. As usual, the possibilities are vast, with 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.
Textbook context for this post includes the remainder of Ch. 13 and pp. 451-464 of Ch. 14