In the 1970s, the USSR is thought to go through a period of stagnation. However, there was little stagnation in the economy. Brezhnev’s Five-year plan from 1971-1975 had as its goal the improvement of the people’s standard of living. To achieve … Continue reading →
Bad Art and a Russian Bastard
After the Thaw, the arts were allowed to flourish, under certain guidelines. The artists’ union, which had existed since collectivization campaign, lessened their restrictions. Modern art emerged, and art for the sake of art became the prevailing trend. Art could … Continue reading →
To free or not to free?
Women went through several phases during the Soviet period in which they were encouraged to leave the home, then discouraged, and so on. With each decade that went by, the flip-flopping continued. The emancipation of women can be viewed in … Continue reading →
For the Motherland?
Women made great strides toward equality in the first twenty four years of the Soviet regime. They gained the right to divorce, to own property, and to work outside of the home. However, these gains did not mean instant equality. … Continue reading →
Don’t Drink the Kool-aid, Comrade
Stalin’s Cult of Personality: By the end of the 1930s, the cultural war against bourgeouis culture was still in full flower. The Writers’ Congress in 1936 set a new style for literature. Although the Congress allowed professional writers to be … Continue reading →
Out with the Old: The Death of Aleksandr Blok
After the Bolsheviks had succeeded in taking control of Russia in a “dictatorship of the proletariat”, they still had a long way to go in achieving socialism. The next step was to change the culture of Russia. Aleksandr Blok … Continue reading →
Social Women: This one’s for the girls
“The Liberation of Women Workers is the affair of the Women themselves!” – N. Lenin In the years after the 1917 Revolution, the Bolsheviks began a new war, one that targeted the old society which had been based on oppression, … Continue reading →
What constitutes a Constitution?
Increasing challenges to autocratic rule reached a boiling point in 1905. In order to avoid total disaster, Sergei Witte called for a reform of the political system. Witte wrote the famous October Manifesto, which calmed the unrest following the shooting … Continue reading →
A Band-aid that didn’t stick: Russian reform in the 1860s and 70s
Reform. Counter-reform. One step forward and two steps back. This pattern can be seen in many places throughout history, and usually leads to a period of explosive reform started by the people. Examples of this pattern are the reforms begun by Qing Russia before the 1911 Revolution and even the connection between post-civil war […]