The Hypocrisy of the Moral Code

In 1961, the Communist Party presented a new “moral code” that was to be implemented in Russia.  Known as “The Moral Code of the Builder of Communism”, this code was supposed to replace the Stalinist principles of coercion and repression in controlling the lives of Soviet citizens.

At the 22nd Communist Party Congress, Khrushchev offered many new ideas, most of which fell under the anti-Stalinist principles that Khrushchev’s regime aimed for.  These ideas included continuing to create a more transparent government and the creation of term limits for most officials.  Also, a new moral code was presented, a code by which all”good communists” should abide by.  Contained in it were extensive instructions on how communists should live their lives, public and private, specifically mentioning topics such as sex, marriage, and raising children.  Should any Soviets not follow the rules set forth at the Congress, representatives of the party, including the child-Communist group the Komsomol, would intervene and correct the issues.  This was offered as an anti-Stalinist idea because instead of the government directly regulating these issues, it would be handles in a more transparent, less repressive way.

However, in reality, this moral code was a step backwards for this supposedly anti-Stalinist Khrushchev regime.  First of all, Khrushchev had been working on allowing more personal freedom to the Soviet people, and this code is intended to dictate the lives of his citizens.  After the 22nd Congress, Khrushchev wrote that in order for communism to be fully effective, society must be fully ready and obedient towards the principle.  While what Khrushchev wrote sounds good, it is essentially a return to the Stalinist idea that society must be fully controlled.  He was trying to distance himself from Stalin by saying that party representatives would be tasked with enforcing the code, but in reality, the party and government would still be in charge, albeit indirectly.

Up until the 22nd Party Congress, Nikita Khrushchev was on a de-Stalinist rampage, but he took a huge step back in implementing a new moral code.  While the moral code was sold as a better, more transparent way to instruct Soviets on how to fulfill their duties as a citizen, it was just a different, better sounding way to show that the party was still aiming to control every detail of Soviet citizens lives.

Khrushchev’s writing after the 22nd party Congress: http://dlib.eastview.com.ezproxy .lib.vt.edu:8080/searchresults/article.jsp?art=1&id=13792874

17 Seconds on the moral code: http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1961field&Year=1961&navi=byYear

Textbook: Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 426-427. Print

Casey

I think the Communist Party attempt to change Stalinist principles was an interesting topic. The “moral code” issued was supposed to replace the old ways of suppressing the Russian people. Even though they tried to play off the idea that the people had more freedom; they were still being controlled. I really like the way you pointed this part out!

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