Radioactive Russia: The Chernobyl Disaster 6

(Editor’s Note: This post received commendation in the Comrade’s Corner)  The Chernobyl Disaster exploded in the Soviet Union’s face in more ways than one. On April 26, 1986, radiator number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine experienced a power surge, then exploded. This explosion and subsequent fire released massive quantities of radioactive particles and dust into ...

Moscow Summer Olympics 10

Moscow Summer Olympics
(Editor’s Note: This post received commendation in the Comrade’s Corner)       In 1980, Moscow was set to host the Summer Olympics. This opportunity had been granted to the Soviet Union in 1974 by the International Olympic Committee, and “represented an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the superiority of Soviet athletes as well as the achievements ...

Czech Yourself before you Wreck Yourself 9

Czech Yourself before you Wreck Yourself
(Editor’s Note: This post received commendation in the Comrade’s Corner)   The Crisis in Czechoslovakia was yet another pivotal moment between the Soviet Union and another one of the Soviet bloc countries. “Socialism with a human face” was the slogan Alexander Dubcek utilized in promoting the Czechoslovakia Communist Party’s platform in 1968. As the newly-elected First Secretary, ...

Hungry in Hungary 8

Hungry in Hungary
(Editor’s Note: This post received a Red Star by the Editorial Team)      In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev totally denounced Stalin (following his death in 1953) at the Soviet Communist Party’s Twentieth Congress in February. This condemnation led to multiple crises in Europe, particularly in Hungary and Poland. In particular, Poland and Hungary had communist parties with little ...

Let’s Get Physical (Culture) 6

Let's Get Physical (Culture)
(Editor’s Note: This post received commendation in the Comrade’s Corner)    James von Geldern describes physical culture as “the hygiene and discipline of the bodies of socialist citizens” (von Geldern). This phenomenon was of fundamental importance to the Soviets in the 1920s and 1930s for several reasons. Prior to the revolution, sports clubs and teams were not ...

Rockin’ Shock Workers 2

1929 was an important year in Russia. In fact, it was known as the “Year of Great Change,” which was the title of an article by Stalin written to commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the October Manifesto. This article helped outline a “manifesto for the First Five-Year Plan that already was in its second year” (Siegelbaum). ...

Russia’s Religion…or Lack Thereof 5

Russia's Religion...or Lack Thereof
(Editor’s Note: This post received a Red Star by the Editorial Team)    The Bolsheviks viewed religion as Marx did, as the “opiate of the masses.” When they rose to power in 1917, they wanted to free all citizens from this “drug.” Under the previous regime, Church and state were closely tied, and because the Bolsheviks ...

Political Authority Crisis Continued: Constituent Assembly 3

Political Authority Crisis Continued: Constituent Assembly
After the October Revolution in 1917, the very first constitutional body to organize in Russia was the Constituent Assembly. One of the most popular demands to emerge from the Revolution, the Constituent Assembly is widely-regarded as the first democratically-elected legislative body in Russia. This is saying something, considering that eleven years prior, Russian rulers would ...

A Unified Peasant Class 6

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was comprised of many groups of people working together with different end goals, like peasants, workers, and intelligentsia. Most of these factions had one thing in common—they were exhausted by the tyrannical tsarist regime. Prior to 1906, Russian rulers would not do so much as recognize a body of law that could ...

Hay harvesting 3

Hay harvesting
 This photo depicts farm workers harvesting their hay fields. According to the Library of Congress’ Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record, the location of the photo is unknown but is likely close to Cherepovets in north central Russia. Farmers and farm workers like the ones pictured here made up much of the peasant class in early twentieth-century Russia. I was first ...