The economic collapse of the Soviet Union is no doubt one of the most unexpected moments in modern history. I wonder if the collapse could have been prevented had there been different leadership. It must have been stunning to see a country which had become so great after emerging from so many hardships fall apart so quickly. Both of your pictures are great
I didn’t realize that the anti-alcohol campaign had any noticeable economic effects in Russia. I liked the comparison of the campaign to prohibition in the U.S. It just goes to show that if consumers in any society want a particular good it’s nearly impossible to convince them that they don’t need it or can’t have it. This is a well researched article on an interesting topic.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is one of my favorite history lessons on the dangers of foreign intervention. The war would come to be known as “the bear trap” because it dragged on for almost a decade and became a major source of Soviet economic problems. It’s interesting that this war essentially created one of the first versions of the religious guerrilla organizations we know today (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban) in the form of the Mujahideen.
I didn’t realize that the U.S. had ever boycotted a winter Olympics, or any Olympics for that matter. However, it makes sense that it was due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan as the U.S. was helping to fund the Mujahideen in order to get the Soviets out of the country. The Olympic games have always been a kind of gauge for international relations. I really liked the maps you provided at the end.
I think my favorite of the 12 tenets is number two: Conscientious labor for the good of society: he who does not work shall not eat. I don’t say it’s my favorite because I think it’s a reasonable or fair principle, it’s obviously a pretty draconian measure. However, I do find it funny in the sense that one of the main criticisms you frequently hear about communism and socialism is that people can just leech of off others without doing any work or by doing less work.
It’s interesting to me that the government chose to “merge” the monasteries in Russia rather than to flat out say they were closing them down. Ultimately it seems like that’s what they were actually doing (closing them down) but I’m still a little puzzled as to why they felt the need to hide that fact as I don’t think many people were fooled by intentions of the anti-religion campaign. Good post I really liked the title.
Awesome use of the soundbite to support your post. I’m surprised the U.S. didn’t take military action during the Hungarian crisis. Being that it was during the height of the cold war, I would’ve thought this would be the perfect time for a western nation to intervene and take a stand against the Soviet Union.
It seems like a strange coincidence that the “traditional” role of women came about in the 1950s; the same time that most people would remember that happening in the United States. At the same time it’s almost hard to picture a soviet woman being a housewife after what they had already endured leading up to that point. I liked your use of primary sources to really paint the picture of what it was like during this time for women.
The space race is interesting because there are so many different levels of significance associated with it. There’s the military aspect and how it most likely intensified the cold war, which you mentioned. There’s also the cultural significance that came with the infinite ability to explore a new frontier as well as the rivalry that was sparked between two very different nations. The level of competition between the U.S. and the USSR is something that history has not seen for a long time and I’m wondering what will cause the next great international rivalry of this scale.
“Hipster” was the first word that came to my mind when I read about the Stilyaga. I also think that it seems strange that the movement was able to take off without being put down or even discouraged considering the oppressiveness of the previous regimes. This post is also interesting because I’ve really never thought about counter-culture movements outside of the the scope of the U.S. or maybe Britain.