Chernobyl and the Meltdown of the USSR

This picture shows Ukrainian “liquidators” who worked to build a cement “sarcophagus” around the remains of nuclear reactor 4. Their banner reads “We will fulfill the government’s order!” (at least,…

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Taboos Abound

In 1985, women in the Soviet Union saw their chance to finally get the liberation from the ignorance towards women and their bodies that was rampant in Russian society. With…

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Sobering Up

                  Much like the morning following a wild night at TOTS, the dawn of an anti-alcohol campaign brought with it the remorseful…

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Afghan War Is the Soviet Vietnam

The Soviet Union military involvement in Afghanistan lead to the forming of one the most cohesive social groups in Soviet Union society the Afghan veterans. These veterans formed a bond…

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За здоровье!

In Russia: A History, by Gregory L. Freeze, the text discusses the notions behind and the results of Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign. Freeze deliberates on Gorbachev’s intentions, and highlights the difficulties…

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After the Fall

Doughnuts and Shots12-13WebWelcome to the final edition of the weekly digest for the fall of 2013. The meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign led the way as the most popular topics for this last set of posts, but debates about female sexuality, the challenges of economic reform, the move for independence in the Baltic states, and the coup of August 1991 all inspired good posts that shed insight on the collapse of Soviet communism.

Your editorial team finds this “18th Moment” in Soviet History bittersweet.  You all have made the mother blog a dynamic space and valuable resource this semester, and I’m very proud of what we accomplished together.  I greatly appreciate your patience and perseverance with the bumps we encountered along the way, and especially cherish the sense of humor and creativity you brought to the class, your blogs, and even the last day of class. Doughnuts and kvass are an unlikely combination, but you all made it work!

As you know, commenting has been a key part of the blogging project.  Blogmeister Ben and I enjoyed reading and taking part in the discussions, many of which were as valuable as the posts themselves.  There are no official honors for commenting, but we wanted to recognize the author of Seeing Red  as the “Stakhanovite of Soviet Blogging” (Ben’s term, not mine). While many people posted terrific comments and met or exceeded their “commenting quota,” Seeing Red nearly doubled hers.

Thanks everyone! / Всего хорошего!

 

The Fall of the Wall & The Fall of it All

          The picture above is one that I took while on my trip to Washington DC this past October. The sign, found in the Newseum, originally hung in the American sector of West Berlin. It features the phrase “You are leaving the American sector” in English, Russian, French, and German. The […]

The August Coup, 1991

Boris Yeltsin urging resistance against the August Coup http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/72/121672-004-614BEA53.jpg With the election of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, the Soviet Union looked like it was on a path of reform on all levels, from economic to political to social.  Obviously, hard lined Soviets would be opposed to such reforms and changes in the Soviet Union that […]

За здоровье!

In Russia: A History, by Gregory L. Freeze, the text discusses the notions behind and the results of Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign. Freeze deliberates on Gorbachev’s intentions, and highlights the difficulties the campaign faced in its effort to make the nation sober. The text reads as follows: As the new general secretary consolidated power, he was […]

The Final Strike

  The collapse of the Soviet Union was definitely not expected to happen without bloodshed, and few would have ever guessed for it to play out the way it did. Most if asked would have thought that its destruction would have come from an outside intervention, either a  conventional or nuclear strike, but this is …read more

Chernobyl and the Meltdown of the USSR

This picture shows Ukrainian “liquidators” who worked to build a cement “sarcophagus” around the remains of nuclear reactor 4. Their banner reads “We will fulfill the government’s order!” (at least, according to the source of the photo it does, I myself have, shall we say, “limited” Russian..). Thousands of liquidators like these either died from […]

From Vodka to Water

It was a particularly tough time in Russia from 1985 to 1987. This was due to the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev had issued an anti-alcohol campaign throughout the entire Soviet Union. Alcohol was linked to extremely high levels of child-abuse, suicide, divorce, accidents at work, and a rise in mortality rates among men. However, alcohol […]