Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Great Russian Melting

“The Thaw,” written by Il’ia Ehrenburg in 1954, is a novel which follows the lives of three different types of Soviet men, including the stark contrast of the life of an industrial manager and an artist.  What makes “The Thaw” so special is that Ehrenburg intentionally breaks from the Stalinist belief that communism was the […]

Dasvidaniya China

Besides domestic political issues, Stalin’s death changed the Soviet Union’s relationship with China as Nikita Khrushchev’s ideological differences and anti-Stalinist reforms drove a wedge between the two communist neighbors. After the formation of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921, China developed a very close relationship with Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Mao Zedong and the…

Literary Life

Boris Pasternak was a poet in 1956 after the Thaw of 1954 that created some trouble due to his literary work. The Thaw, written by Il’ia Ehrenburg, was the first example of poets and novelists experimenting with their literary content, although it was timid and short lived. From 1956-1957, Soviet writers began to test the limits […]

Control By Sports

One problem that is faced by the leaders of a communist or authoritarian state is what to do with the free time of their citizens. Free time is dangerous to to these types of states as it can lead to various forms of opposition since the citizens have time to form groups and realize that … Continue reading »

Khrushchev and the Twentieth Party Congress

The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 proved to be a pivotal time for the Soviet Union.  The loss of a leader who had wielded so much executive and coercive power over the previous three decades, and whose “cult of personality” had made him a hero and a legend in the eyes of the common […]

Khrushchev’s not-so-secret Secret Speech

  When the 20th Party Congress convened in February of 1956, the future of Stalin’s legacy remained unclear. His successor, Khrushchev ended any doubt of how he viewed Stalin’s image when he unleashed a verbal attack upon the former leader during a secret gathering of the delegates. Among Khrushchev’s most ominous critiques of Stalin was […]

Crimea River

In recent news and occurrences, the word Crimea has become a common word exchanged between persons when talking about the foreign policy of the United States. The peninsula, to the south of mainland Ukraine, is the homeland of years of violence of political and cultural beliefs. The majority of people living there, ethnic Russians, apparently […]