Month: May 2020

Introduction to the Site

Perestroika Poster (1985)

Perestroika. Glasnost’. Acceleration. Democracy (1985). From 17 Moments in Soviet History

This is the course website for History 3644, 20th-Century Russia, taught at Virginia Tech in the spring semester of 2020. This course began as a hybrid course built around regular face-to-face meetings as well as asynchronous work on individual blogs, which are syndicated to this site for discussion and curated into regular research digests.

A Look At The March Referendum: What Did it Mean for the Soviet State?

Openness and restructuring When Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on his crusade of reforms and unleashed the forces of “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” he had confidence in the nationality policy of the Soviet State, and therefore felt comfortable opening up Soviet society to a wide range of economic change and political discord. However, Gorbachev soon found himself inContinue reading “A Look At The March Referendum: What Did it Mean for the Soviet State?”

Baltic Independence

Having been forcefully occupied and integrated by the Soviet Union as per the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were not incredibly loyal to the Soviet Union. From 1940 onward, Moscow underwent Sovietization policies … Continue reading

The Sobering of Society: The Effect of the Anti-Alcohol Movement on the Family

In 1895, when Gorbachev launched his anti-alcohol campaign, his goal was to create a better society by limiting the consumption of alcohol. He took extreme measures to reduce alcohol consumption, such as limiting shops that sold alcohol, destroying vineyards, and reducing the production of alcohol significantly. Certainly Gorbachev’s campaign had several positive effects. The stateContinue reading “The Sobering of Society: The Effect of the Anti-Alcohol Movement on the Family”

The Dry Law

In many countries, alcohol is used during celebrations among family, get together with friends, and other hospitality purposes but when used in moderation. Alcohol generated an enormous revenue from indirect taxes for the Soviet Union and in 1979 the state received twenty-five billion rubles in taxes from alcohol beverage. (Anti-Alcohol Campaign) Even though alcohol is …

Continue reading “The Dry Law”

Chernobyl Meltdown: Russia’s Most Iconic Disaster

The Chernobyl Meltdown is one of the most well known nuclear disasters around the world. This particular disaster occurred in 1986 where a lack of knowledge and a poorly put together experiment caused Reactor 4 to quickly become unstable and blow the containment lids sky high further allowing the secretion of radiation into the atmosphere […]

The End of An Era?

The Soviet Union by 1991 was in complete disarray and decline. General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, taking over in 1985, had done much to try and reform the Soviet Union in order for it to keep pace with the West. However, the declining economy and the opposition by hard-line members of the Communist Party of Soviet […]