Month: May 2019

Was the Virgin Lands Campaign a Success?

After the death of Stalin in March 1953, Nikita Khrushchev succeeded as the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Georgii Malenkov (Council of Ministers) and Lavrentii Beria (leader of the KGB) joined Khrushchev as formed a collective leadership. This collective leadership quickly derailed, as Khrushchev and … Continue reading Was the Virgin Lands Campaign a Success?

Down with Religion

What role did nationality and religion play in the formation of the Soviet State? After the 1917 Revolution, one of the Bolsheviks’ main objective was to reverse the deeply-rooted Russian Orthodox ideals in order to establish gosateizm (state atheism). The new regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion and its followers, and propagated atheism in the … Continue reading Down with Religion

Stalemate on Stalin

After Josef Stalin’s death in the USSR, the question of succession posed a difficulty for the Community Party and what would come next. Typically within a party of the democratic centralist type, new leaders are proposed by the old leaders through slate elections, but in this case, the party was questioned with an emergency- one … Continue reading Stalemate on Stalin

Guns or Records? What do athletes want?

Throughout the Carter administration tensions between the United States and Soviet Union were on the rise. The growing power of the Sandinista Communist faction in Nicaragua in 1977-1978 created as sense of urgency in the United States to perpetuate the policy of containment of communist ideology. The idea of containment became a domestic emergency following … Continue reading Guns or Records? What do athletes want?

Songs of War, Olympic Rings, and the New Morality – The Last Soviet Decades

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!