Month: April 2019

Dizzy With Excess of Force; Yuri’s Triumph in the Age of Khrushchev

When Joseph Stalin faced a shortage of grains during his leadership, he turned to collectivization in order to increase grain procurement. The reason for adopting collectivization as an economic strategy was twofold: first, the systematic and industrialized state equipment was far more efficient than strip farming, second, it would be a direct attack on the …

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Final Blogpost Guidelines

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

Televisions and Tractors: Reform and Reaction in the Sixties

Welcome to the fifth edition of our digest of Soviet History. This week we turned our attentions to the social, economic and political parameters of de-Stalinization. We have a bumper crop of terrific posts focusing on the fallout of the “Secret Speech,” changing gender norms (again), sports and television,  Other significant topics include the cultural ferment of “The Thaw,”  and new forms of expression and leisure. I am delighted to report that we had a clear winner for Students’ Choice. You will see it’s sputnik graphic near the top of the website.

We are taking a break next couple of weeks for midterms but will be back in your feed for a final digest in early May. Enjoy this deluxe edition!

More Than a Game

Following Stalin’s death in 1953, the country begins down a path of “De-Stalinization” and the landscape of the Russian culture is shifting once again. When looking at the 1956 module on “Seventeen Moments”, I discovered an interesting change occurring among the masses of Russian civilians. A massive shift of culture took over Russia following the …

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Soviet Anti-Religion 101

Following the death of Stalin, the new regime began a social and economic transition that would lead to the provocation of Orthodox Christian views throughout Russia and the dissemination of atheist beliefs. During Stalin’s tyrannical reign, he accepted the existence of the Orthodox Christian institutions in social concerns in local providences. Little did the Russian … Continue reading Soviet Anti-Religion 101

Feeding Soviet Prosperity

The post-Stalin USSR faced a number of significant challenges as Khrushchev took power, yet perhaps none more daunting than its agricultural capacity and its ability to simply feed its people. Although the agricultural reforms of the Stalinist era had begun to bring about improvements in agricultural production and by extension the availability of food in […]

When the Cat’s Away…

On March 5th, 1953 the Soviet Union held its breath in anticipation. Joseph Stalin was this larger-than-life figure who effectively dictated the lives of millions of Soviet citizens in a long, unpredictable and bloody reign, his abrupt death left many questions and a very uncertain future. Not only did this throw a wrench in Soviet … Continue reading When the Cat’s Away…

Lights, Camera, Re(action)

During the post-war years in Soviet Russia the works of the cinema was a distraction to the deep wounds left from the war. Seldom were their films about war and the ones that were, focused on leaders and little on soldiers. What was portrayed on scree…