Archives for category: Soviet Society

Komsomol attacks on bourgeois elements were also directed at the church. The church was presented a danger as an instrument of an alternative ideology. Komsomol groups carried out attacks on the remnants of the church during collectivisation and many priests were hounded out of villages. The government introduced a series of repressive measures in 1929, which included the requirement of congregations and their places of worship to be registered with the government. The organization of the Russian Orthodox church still existed but a wave of arrests between 1936 and 1939 severely reduced the number of bishops. Yet there is also evidence of an increase in the number of people worshipping in secret during the purges.

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I was a student during Stalin’s empowerment. The cultural revolution caused disruption to the education which caused the government concern, as the importance of education in shaping society recognized by the government. From 1935 onwards there was a series of measures designed to impose control over education. Textbooks were prescribed by the government and formal examinations were introduced By the end of the 1930s the system returned to a more traditional basis- pigtails for girls. They also had teaching of communist ideologies. They had more higher education places. It was more about quality rather than quantity. The education was more focused on technical and scientific learning in 1928. While education was targeted mainly at the young , a literacy campaign was launched to ensure their parents had the basic skills needed to contribute to the economy.

Many of us youngsters suffered through changes to the family however we were at the forefront of the cultural revolution. The ideals of the movement gave us purpose and the communist youth organization took an important role in rooting out class enies. After the compromises of the NEP the cultural revolution was seen as a more radical step towards socialist utopia that many of us, radical young communist aspired to. The removal of the old guard opened up a range of job opportunities for us. One area that was greatly influenced was Komosomol, of education. The attacks on bourgeois elements in education removed many of our teachers and led to the collapse of education departments in many parts to the country. The government had to come in to restore order. The education law of 1935 put greater emphasis on discipline in schools under strict government control.

After the revolution of 1917, us women had been granted rights in marriage and introduced both divorce and abortion became easier. The rights had later been restricted but we still had orme rights than before the revolution. The Communist Party set up a Zhenotdel for women to promoted the position of women within socialist notions of equality. During the 1930s we had important changes in roles.

In 1930, the party closed down Zhenotdel and claimed that the women issue has been resolved. This was actually due to the attitudes of the male dominated party, which always had half hearted in supporting women’s issues. Women remained under represented in the party. The policies of industrialization and collectivisation were to have far reaching consequences for us. Many of us in the countryside found ourself deserted by husbands who left us for jobs in the town. Collectivisation came to rely more and more on the labour of us. In the towns other women were given little choice but to work out of economic necessity. The number of female workers rose in 1930 to over 13 million in 1940. The labour shortages of the period forced the government to encourage women to work. More positively, the expansion in higher education provided more opportunities for women.

We also had more freedom due to the changes in family policy. the notion of family in the communist eyes was an outmoded, capitalist tool. The cultural revolution involved pressures which aimed to destroy the traditional concept of the family. Divorce could be obtained via a request and abortion was widely available. However, these changes did not improve the role of women. Many of them found themselves left by men without any economic support. It also led to increase in orphans

By 1934 the government had become really concerned about the detrimental effects of family breakdowns that measures were introduced to raise the status of marriage and make divorce more expensive. “Free” marriages- that is those not formally registered with the state lost their legal status and family responsibilities were to be taken seriously. There was an attempt to raise family status, as the government introduced awards for “mother heroines” who had 10 or more children. Male homosexuality was illegal in 1936 and abortion was outlawed. Traditional values was reasserted

Our conditions was a bit better than those in the countryside. The urban population rose from 29 mill in 1929, to 40 mill in 1933. The failure to address the needs of housing led to overcrowding and poor sanitations. Consumer goods were in short supply and they had to use food rationing to ensure adequate food supplies for industrial workers. There was little unemployment, but working conditions were harsh. The discipline and punctuality caused problems for peasants moving to towns for work

The Stakhanovite movement was an attempt to promote a more vigorous work ethic. We were encouraged to work like the hero Stakhanov but very view of us matched his productivity. Living conditions also declined and the trade unions were in a weak positions to press for improvements. The division between us and the government was widened still further.

We fared much worse than the urban populations due to privations of collectivisation. Prices for agricultural products, which were fixed by the government was kept low, while the procurement payments were high. The social security was not available in the countryside seemed to confirm that we were the second class citizens.

The purges in 1930, they removed a large numbers of people like me from within the party structure to open up job opportunities. This created social mobility. The removal of party officials such as us, considered suspect opened the door for the promotion of party members of true proletarian region. Workers were promoted into these jobs by removal of bourgeois experts. Over on and a half million workers gained managment posts under the first five year plan. Old party officials positions weakened.

The higher up you rank in the party the more  privileges you received and promotion within this system is determined by your superiors through a list of appointments known as the nomenklatura system. You have to be loyal to your superiors in order to move upwards. The party’s method of creating a new hierarchy to protect it’s own privileges, and became more conservative.

The trend of appointing trained party members to positions of responsibility can be seen in the army, health care, education, and arts. They replaced experts with a loyal party member, who had some training in the relevant field. Those professionals who had been kept on after the revolution on account of their expertise could no longer be tolerated in an atmosphere of suspicion prompted by fear of the enemy within.

I was considered a class enemy during the Cultural Revolution. The policy of collectivisation, started in 1928 had tremendous effects on us, the kulaks. Over fifteen million of us was eliminated by famine, deportation to work camps and by genocide. The capitalist of richer peasants who sold produce for profit was eradicated. The government had the intention to remove technical experts from the industry. There was a group of engineers from the Shakty region, they were accused of economic sabotage, and they were used as scapegoats for slow process  towards economic targets.

The five year plan saw an increase in the number of attacks against the bourgeois experts. The private traders and Nepmen who were seen as people who had gained under the NEP at the expense of the proletariat was then swept aside as the five year plan controlled all economic sectors of the state. The intelligentsia was also considered untrustworthy and bourgeois. The found themselves increasingly restricted and attacked. Thus, the government introduced the “bourgeois class enemies’’ in 1928.

 With the launch of the Five Year Plan and Collectivisation, there was an substantial impact on the society. The soviet government then launched the “Cultural Revolution.” The aim of this was to eliminate anyone considered a class enemy of socialism.  The government marked out a change from the policies of NEP, and it was to ensure the dominance of the proletariat over society. There was also an attempt to mould a “New Soviet Man” by using social control of young organizations, education etc. to change attitudes.