A Sick State

Russian health collapsed with the Soviet state, worsening during the political instability of the 1990′s, and continuing to suffer in the 21st century. In 1991, Russia’s Ministry of Health reported a…

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Final Blog Post Guidelines

Perestroika. Glasnost’. Acceleration. Democracy (1985)

As the Pizza Hut ad we watched today suggested, Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership ushered in an era of increased freedom, opportunity, and hope for Soviet citizens, even as it fostered economic uncertainty, political instability, and the threat of chaos. For your final blog post, please choose a topic that gives you some insight on the collapse of Soviet communism and the social transformation that accompanied it. 

All the World’s a Stage…

Brezhnev in Kishinev (1976) Celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Moldavian SSR

Brezhnev in Kishinev (1976) Celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Moldavian SSR

The 1980 Olympics, black market consumer goods, railroads, rock-n-roll, and most of all, the invasion of Afghanistan captured our attention this week. While few posts mentioned the Soviet leader most closely associated with the long Soviet seventies, they all speak to the contradictory and wide-reaching policies and practices of the Brezhnev era. Far from being an insular, stagnant system, Soviet society in these years played a major role in shaping and responding to the political, social and economic dynamics of a globalizing world.

We have a bumper crop of red star and comrades’ corner posts this week and encourage visitors to explore and comment on these reflections on late Soviet life. The weekly digest will take a break over the Thanksgiving holiday and be back for its final edition in early December. Until then, всего хорошего!

Image source: Soviet Life. Washington: Embassy of the Soviet Union in the USA. 1965. (from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History)

Moscow Summer Olympics

In 1980, Moscow was set to host the Summer Olympics. This opportunity had been granted to the Soviet Union in 1974 by the International Olympic Committee, and “represented an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the superiority of Soviet athletes as well as … Continue reading

The Afghani Government plays Russian Roulette

The beginning of the Soviet Russian occupation of Afghanistan took place when Russian paratroopers were deployed in the capital of Afghanistan. The date was December 27, 1979 and the beginning of a very long and costly occupation, that would be described in the future as the Russian Vietnam. There were a few specific events which […]

The Soviet Vietnam

In 1973, King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan was deposed, ending nearly three hundred years of monarchical rule in the country. A republican government followed which lasted until the April 1978 Saur Revolution, when Soviet-backed Afghan communists assassinated the president … Continue reading