TV, Soviets, and letting go

No matter where you were from WWII had a great impact on your nation. By 1970, most nations had licked their wounds though, and moved on. For Russia though, this wasn’t really possible. It’s true, the world lost about three percent of it’s population, but the Soviet Union lost about sixteen percent of it’s people. When a nation loses that many people, mostly drawn from the everyday people, you don’t move on so easily.

The Soviets had a great reverence for those who served, and the part they played in bringing down the Nazis, and with good reason. This reverence, mixed with their great loss allowed the television industry to create many powerful series, with a single great result. Shows like Seventeen Moments of Spring, based on the novel of the same title, by Semyonov. This series was based on real events, and followed the trials and works of an under cover agent by the name of Maxim Isaev and proved to benefit all parties influenced by this powerful miniseries. The series was originally funded by the government, in a roundabout way. It was used to show a more humane side of the KGB agents that in the past had terrorized many. It was also used to subtly shed a not so nice light on the USA that may not have been entirely accurate. The people found this series endearing and powerful, not only bolstering their national pride, but also creating an all encompassing sentiment. Whether you were a worker, manager, or farmer, if you owned a TV you would have seen this show, and could talk with anyone about it. Finally the producers also were able to use this series to question the Soviet system in a way that didn’t end with them in jail, but could still portray some powerful messages. Personally I enjoyed what I have seen of this series, and intend to finish this 12 part series.


Of course, this wasn’t the only thing that came on the televisions, but this series is generally considered one of the most important, and powerful broadcasts made by the Soviet society. It’s one of the most watched Russian productions still today. This series helped the Russians not only honor their fallen family and friends from the Great Patriotic War, but it also helped them to finally move on. Taking place in the last seventeen days of WWII, this series brings closure to the war once more.

7 thoughts on “TV, Soviets, and letting go

  1. It’s very interesting how the Soviets held onto many of the actions and events from WWII and I agree with you that who could blame them considering the heavy loss they suffered in population and just general destruction of property. The premise of this book and tv series sounds extremely interesting and I’ll have to look it up sometime to see it myself!

  2. It is interesting that the government caught on, at least partially, to the power of television. People are more comfortable with what they are exposed to so what better way to make the secret police look good?

  3. I’m surprised that a television show that seemed to have been more than influenced by the government also had the ability to criticize the very establishment. Also, the fact that this series helped the Russian population move on from World War Two is a testament to how powerful the impact of television truly can be.

  4. I really enjoyed your post and will have to check the series out. On an interesting note, the Russians still take World War II very seriously and still view it as a great victory. I spent at least four hours one afternoon at the World War II museum in Moscow because that is how long it takes to go through all the exhibits. Also, many Russian cars have a black and orange ribbon tied to them in remembrance of World War II.

  5. I think it is really true that the Russian’s still see World War II as a very important part of their history. I think this TV show was a way to help heal some of the wounds left and allow for the citizens to move on. Great Work!

  6. It doesnt surprise me that the government was in on the Show but it did surprise me that they showed tried to show the more ‘humane” side of the KGB. I also liked how you tied in WWII and how this series helped the soviets get over the war. Very good post.

  7. Its amazing how influential the media can be, even in an authoritative Soviet society. The media, in the modern age, may be one of the most dominant industries. Throughout history it has been the source and cause of information, both domestic and abroad, and revolution, respectively.

Leave a Reply