More Equal than Others

In the years following the end of the Second World War, the leadership of the Soviet Union found itself at the head of an increasingly disgruntled nation. A combination of factors led to simmering unrest in several Bloc countries. Firstly, soldiers returning from the war caused shifts in population, and needed care for a variety of injuries, both physical and psychological. Many expected a rise in social conditions for the USSR as a whole, however this was not to be the case. Living conditions were still generally poor across the Soviet Union, and the soldiers returning to the factories expected some compensation for their sacrifices. To begin managing the people, and to ensure loyalty of this group of middle management, Stalin afforded great privilege to certain members of society in exchange for absolute loyalty. Factory managers, labor leaders, and other members of the newly formed upper class had chauffeured cars, vacations, and the finest homes. Meanwhile their supposedly equal worker subordinates saw their own lives stay much the same. After Stalin died, the anger in many bloc countries at this growing inequality came to a head, and Khrushchev was forced to make a change to prevent revolt. In Russia and most Bloc countries, the lavish conditions were reduced somewhat for the ruling class, but not eliminated, in order to push some of the wealth downwards, and improve general standard of living. While there was general success in both improving worker morale and quality of life, the class divide Marx and Lenin had railed so hard against was forever a reality of the USSR.

 

Crowley and Reid “Pleasures in Socialism”

5 thoughts on “More Equal than Others”

  1. I never realized how well Stalin treated some of his devout followers. The class divide during this time is definitely ironic, especially wen they keep promoting communism throughout the country.

  2. I too found it interesting that Stalin would give benefits to certain followers and that he would reward them. However, it makes absolute sense that he would do so; in fact it is a rather intelligent move on Stalin’s behalf. He was able to essentially bribe people to follow him and give him their absolute allegiance. Having happy subordinates most definitely makes a leader’s rule a lot easier and smoother– so his tactics make sense. Great post!

  3. I too found it interesting that Stalin would give benefits to certain followers and that he would reward them. However, it makes absolute sense that he would do so; in fact it is a rather intelligent move on Stalin’s behalf. He was able to essentially bribe people to follow him and give him their absolute allegiance. Having happy subordinates most definitely makes a leader’s rule a lot easier and smoother– so his tactics make sense. Great post!

  4. Its crazy that he was bribed people for their loyalty by making them a higher class! He clearly was paranoid and would do whatever he could to stay in power. Good job!

  5. I like how you engage the “back channel” components of the “Big Deal” here. How can you link these dynamics to the cultural production of the time? Also, can you provide more complete information about your source?

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