About Kelsey Shober

Senior History and Political Science major at Virginia Tech. I have written blogs for multiple classes including: Twentieth Century Russia, America in the 1960s, and the History of Sexuality in America.

Comment on Rainbow: The Magic of Television in the U.S.S.R. by Kelsey Shober

I agree, that it is not surprising that the government was not able to provide enough color televisions. I can only imagine the sheer mayhem of people demanding “Where is the Rainbow?!” I would be interested to hear about some other typical Russian programs during the Soviet era. It’s interesting that KVN was the most popular program yet it was cancelled because it didn’t represent the working class well enough.

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Comment on Moscow to Sochi: The Legacy of the Russian Olympic Host by Kelsey Shober

This was a really great post. Besides the fact that I’m a total Olympic junkie, the way that you were able to expand on the Moscow Olympics module and include all of the information and ties to the Sochi Olympics made for an interesting article. In addition, I think the debate of boycotting the Olympics on political principles is well founded. Like you said, many believed that not boycotting gave Hitler legitimacy, but the boycott in 1980, did not change much either. I think that its actually very sad that the athletes who had trained their whole lives did not get a chance to compete. On the other hand, the possible boycott of the Sochi Olympics is because of real fear from terrorists and the anti-LGBT laws, which makes more practical sense but would still be pretty sad.

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Comment on The Soviet Super Cities by Kelsey Shober

The Soviet Super Cities of the 1960′s definitely seem to be an interesting topic. I like that you included the note that they were built with “heroic intensity”. That was a very Soviet way to spin the hasty way that these cities were built. That same heroic intensity was likely part of the problem stated in the above comment of the lack of details and oversight. I noticed that the average age of a citizen in Togliatti was 26, so it was important that you mentioned that lack of entertainment in the city. Maybe if the average age was much older, the lack of entertainment would have been less of an issue, but what person in their 20s wants to work and then sit at home all of the time. I also wonder if the age, and lack of entertainment had anything to do with the level of crime in the city then and now. Good post.

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Comment on The Third World War by Kelsey Shober

First of all I liked your little disclaimer at the top. This was a well thought out post on a point of view that most of us are reluctant to take. Here in America, we grew up being told that we were the “good guys” and rarely acknowledging our foreign policy flaws. The world rarely gets to hear a perspective from the “third world”, and I like that your post did just that. Also- I think that this ties well into some Cold War aspects. For example, the US was held in pretty high favor in Western Europe following World War II in part because of the money and rebuilding offered through the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan involved aid, not the take over of governments that followed during the Cold War years. I think that in addition to aid, the Soviet Union offered something else that the United States did not, and really could not: the alternative way of life. Since the Soviets were really the flagship communist state, they were seen to less prosperous or “third world” countries as big successes and in turn something that they could aspire to. The United States was preserving the capitalist status quo of sorts. The third world countries, no matter what kind of government change that occurred were simply more attracted to this alternative way of life because it was something that they stood a chance at succeeding in. It would have been really tough for a country to just rise up through the ranks and effectively compete with a capitalist country. Thanks again for the perspective in your post.

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Comment on Socialism with a Human Face by Kelsey Shober

I also wrote on this topic and used the Brezhnev Doctrine as a source. I think that it is kind of paradoxical to say that every country may implement the principles to their country but they may not deviate from them. There really isn’t much interpretation to these principles, so in my opinion it was impossible to truly apply them to your country. This was the key problem in Czechoslovakia. The country was the most western of any of the satellite states and had been before World War II. Dubcek pledged strong allegiance to socialism, but he saw that the principles that applied to other states were impeding any social or economic progress in his country. I think that Dubcek’s attempted reforms in the Prague Spring clearly deviated from Marxism-Leninism principles, but I don’t think that Dubcek intended to cause a full scale revolution.

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Comment on Moral Code of the Builder of Communism by Kelsey Shober

When reading over the 12 tenets, my first thought was that they sound so nice and idealistic,but there is no way that they were continuously followed. That was probably my first thought because I was thinking of the Stalin years. I think that the you’re right about the code being a good starting point for Khrushchev and the thaw. The Stalin years gave socialism a pretty bad rap in my opinion. I do find it interesting that Khrushchev was eventually ousted and his de-destalinization was curbed. I also think that this moral code seemed great for the Soviets, but this tenet: “Intolerance towards the enemies of communism, peace, and freedom of nations” gave the green light to oppress anyone inside and outside of the Soviet Union who disagreed with the communist system.

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Comment on Поехали. by Kelsey Shober

I also liked how you spent time in your entry discussing Gagarin’s embodiment of Soviet values. Not only does he embody the values, but I think that it is interesting that the different parts of his life have so far covered topics from the chapters that we have covered the last few weeks. Another thing that I liked about your post was that you indicated that sending a man into space actually wound up easing Cold War tensions. Although there was a competitive drive that followed, the International Space Station would eventually help to ease tensions.

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Comment on Dubcek’s Socialist Dilemma by Kelsey Shober

This was really informative. Dubcek really did have a dilemma on his hands. I think that it is interesting that even after the Prague Spring he claimed his loyalty to socialism. The situation here shows just how non-monolithic communism was. Dubcek felt that he was loyal to the party, however his idea of “Socialism with a Human Face” went against so many institutions that those in Moscow would strictly oppose (Freedom of the press/speech, multi-party elections, etc). I think that Dubcek had a really noble cause and did a lot to influence the later actions of Havel and even Gorbachev. I also agree with the above comment’s idea that the events in Czechoslovakia really highlight how out of touch the Soviets were with the wishes of their people.

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Comment on Stilyaga: Hipsters of DeStalinization by Kelsey Shober

I think that this counter-cultural movement is really interesting. I agree that it is surprising that such a counter-culture, especially one who liked Western-style things, was allowed to be such a trend. I think that its even more interesting that they were often the children of party higher ups. You might have noticed this since it was accessible from the Wiki article but there was a 2008 film about the 1950s Stilyaga that was translated in the United States as “hipsters”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stilyagi_(film)

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