The Big Deal: Children’s Verse

02C

The postwar era in Soviet Russia was a time of optimism in terms of national pride and rebuilding the country. “The Big Deal” was a product of a larger cultural evolution in the mid-1930s whereby social stability was valued over the Leninist idea of social transformation. The Soviet Union in this postwar era the private interests of a small group were valued over the living standards of the masses.

 

Sergei Mikhalkov’s poem, Children’s Verse, is a collection of stanzas that recall the optimistic spirit present during the industrial achievements of the 1930s. At a time of great economic recovery and uncertainty, his lyrics provided a sense of hope and patriotism to the Soviet middle class.

 

“Take a good look around,

All this is ours, it’s all for us;

All the mountains and the meadows…

For miles around are woods and fields,

And it’s all the people’s land,

No matter where your foot might fall!”

 

I like this particular stanza due to it’s draw on the natural beauty of the country in spite of the physical and economic destruction it endured during WWII. It’s quite impressive to me how a country can rebuild itself after such devastation. The Soviet people bore much of the cost of rebuilding because the reconstruction programs emphasized heavy industry while neglecting agriculture and consumer goods. To me, Mikhalkov’s poems are a valuable aspect of Soviet culture during this time period that greatly aided the people’s will to seek economic and social prosperity.

 

Additional Sources:

1. Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc by David Crowley

2. http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Soviet2.html

3. Mass Culture in Soviet Russia, pp. 421-422

4. Image Source: http://www.theartofgoodgovernment.org/berlinwall.html

6 comments for “The Big Deal: Children’s Verse

  1. Sean Moughan
    November 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    You raise a very good point. It is very impressive how quick the Soviet Union is able to spring back from the devastation it was served during World War II. Stalingrad, which was near leveled during World War II, was mostly rebuilt by the 1960s. It is also interesting how the mindset changed from one “state success” to “individual success”. This shift in fundamentals paired with the eventual death of Stalin would come to lead to the slow demise and loss of the Soviet Dream (a pure socialist driven state).

  2. John Mark Mastakas
    November 3, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I like your analysis of the poem and agree that the patriotism drawn from the past gives the poem an optimistic ring. The shift to reminiscing on the 30s and time of prosperity was important to keeping the morale high during a time of devastation and famine–particularly after the ever costly Great Patriotic War.

  3. Mallory Wyne
    November 3, 2015 at 2:20 am

    This is a greta post, I feel like time and time again we here about Russians love for their country and the beauty they have always seen it. It is amazing how these factors can produce strong nationality after such devastating losses. Good job!

  4. zacsever
    November 3, 2015 at 3:29 am

    It seems like we hear about Russian love for country but not in a normal sense. This love is in her physical qualities and how the people care for them. Interesting to think about especially with the level of industrialization during this period.

  5. December 12, 2015 at 5:07 am

    As to Sean’s post, I think the change to “individuals success” was part of the economic change that the Soviets were going through. As the culture started to be introduced to Westernized music, art, and entertainment, the economics was also changing and becoming more Western. The Ford Motor Company sold cars to the Soviet Union that the Soviets used for their models and sold them as Soviet automobiles.

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