Second Blogpost Guidelines

Beat the Whites with a Red Wedge - El Lisitsky 1919

“Beat the Whites with a Red Wedge.” By El Lissitzky –, Public Domain,

There’s contagion among us, and we are all settling in for a few weeks of self-isolation. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep learning and interacting with each other around the key questions that animate our study of Soviet History.

This week, we resume blogging with a focus on the first decade of Soviet rule. Please use the resources in Seventeen Moments in Soviet History (1921, 1924, or 1929) to identify a topic that interests you.

The twenties were a turbulent and fascinating decade bookended by Bolshevik victory in the civil war in 1921 and the massive upheaval of the First Five Year Plan (1928-32), when the forced collectivization of the peasantry and a massive industrialization campaign permanently transformed Soviet life. Indeed the “Great Turn” brought changes so profound and wide-reaching that the period of the First Five Year Plan is often seen as a “second” revolution.

Start by browsing through the modules and reading some of the subject essays to find a topic you like. As you do your research and frame your post, think about how what you are learning connects to one of the framing questions for this unit. Make sure to check out and use the primary materials. Make sure to cite your sources — hyperlinking is your friend! You should also consult the relevant sections of the Freeze text (Chapters 9-11).

You may focus on an event, a development or an individual. Your post should use (and cite) primary sources (texts, music, or images). You may also use a particular image or primary document as a focal point for your post. In any case, your post should address some aspect of one the following questions:

How did the Bolsheviks prevail in the Civil War?

How did the Bolsheviks negotiate the transition from being revolutionaries to being rulers?

What role did nationality and religion play in the formation of the Soviet State?

How did the revolution affect social norms regarding gender roles, and how did early Soviet policy toward the family attempt to realize revolutionary values?

How were politics and economics connected during the period of the New Economic Policy?

What were the objectives and consequences of “The Great Turn” during the First Five Year Plan?