The Big Deal: Children’s Verse

02C

The postwar era in Soviet Russia was a time of optimism in terms of national pride and rebuilding the country. “The Big Deal” was a product of a larger cultural evolution in the mid-1930s whereby social stability was valued over the Leninist idea of social transformation. The Soviet Union in this postwar era the private interests of a small group were valued over the living standards of the masses.

 

Sergei Mikhalkov’s poem, Children’s Verse, is a collection of stanzas that recall the optimistic spirit present during the industrial achievements of the 1930s. At a time of great economic recovery and uncertainty, his lyrics provided a sense of hope and patriotism to the Soviet middle class.

 

“Take a good look around,

All this is ours, it’s all for us;

All the mountains and the meadows…

For miles around are woods and fields,

And it’s all the people’s land,

No matter where your foot might fall!”

 

I like this particular stanza due to it’s draw on the natural beauty of the country in spite of the physical and economic destruction it endured during WWII. It’s quite impressive to me how a country can rebuild itself after such devastation. The Soviet people bore much of the cost of rebuilding because the reconstruction programs emphasized heavy industry while neglecting agriculture and consumer goods. To me, Mikhalkov’s poems are a valuable aspect of Soviet culture during this time period that greatly aided the people’s will to seek economic and social prosperity.

 

Additional Sources:

1. Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc by David Crowley

2. http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Soviet2.html

3. Mass Culture in Soviet Russia, pp. 421-422

4. Image Source: http://www.theartofgoodgovernment.org/berlinwall.html

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