Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears

“Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears” left me with mixed emotions. In this movie, we see the different lives of three women, all friends. Antonina is the least interesting character, but also appears to be the happiest in her life. She marries Nikolai, who is unextraordinary, but is kind. They have a few children and both continue working in a factory. Antonina certainly fits the role of the Soviet Woman, unassuming and hardworking, both in and out of the home.… Read the rest here

Russia’s Future

Professor Angela Stent’s lecture covered a myriad of facets of Russia-U.S. relations. What struck me most was her focus on the need for U.S. officials to better empathize with Russia, to better understand their unique position.

Many Russians see U.S. as Russia’s main adversary, a view that is only encouraged by state-run media. It is hardly surprising this would be the dominant view, given the humiliation Russia has experienced. Moving from a superpower to a severely weakened state with a dirty past and a dim future, it is natural that the people of Russia would support a leader who seemed capable of earning the respect Russia has sorely missed. … Read the rest here

Justifying Types of Government

In Stalin’s post-war speech, we saw how he used Soviet success in WWII to prove the superiority of the Soviet system. He argues that, despite the initial assertions of foreign governments and journalists, the Soviet Union is stronger and vastly superior to capitalist nations. It is hardly surprising that Stalin would use the opportunity of Soviet success and sacrifice in the battlefield to reassert the legitimacy of the Soviet government.

In my recent readings for my American Foreign Policy class, I noted that the U.S.… Read the rest here

The “Patience” of the Russian People

Sarah Davies, in her essay about social identity in Soviet Russia, talks about how, despite the new Marxist language that was encouraged, the working class and “peasants” in Russia tended to talk about the injustice in their lives using old, familiar language. They described the problems that they faced as struggles between good and evil, darkness and light. Along with this language, they also idealized the Russian people as a patient people, whose souls could bear much injustice.… Read the rest here

Social Inequality in Russia

Reading about social identity in the Soviet Union, in our “Stalinism” book, got me thinking about some recent readings in my Russian Politics course. I am struck by the continuation of the problem of income inequality. Of course, this is a problem that people face around the world, including in the U.S. However, Russia has been particularly affected by this problem of the divide between the haves and the have-nots.  I have read about how, following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia’s economy was thrown into chaos, as the markets liberalized and the means of production were privatized.… Read the rest here

Confronting the Past

In my class on Russian politics, we recently watched a documentary called “My Perestroika”, which documented the experiences of Russians who came of age during the era of Gorbachev, focusing on both their past and their present. Two of the people profiled are high school history teachers in Moscow. In one of the scenes, one of them teaches high school students the exact topic we were discussing; the forced collectivization of peasants. You can see the incredulous looks on the students’ faces, as he compares it to the government coming into their apartments today, taking everything, and telling them that it will become a communal dormitory.… Read the rest here

Civil Society in Russia

So I am currently figuring out my plans next year for my study abroad experience. I’ll be in Moscow for both semesters, so I have time for a more long term project and I want to take full advantage of that opportunity. I plan on studying the recent rise of apolitical not-for-profit and volunteer organizations in Moscow. Russia has historically lacked a civil society, both during the Tsarist rule and the Soviet Union. This is why the current growth of volunteer work is so impressive, as it marks a shift of attitudes.… Read the rest here

The Significance of Wooden Objects in “The Cherry Orchard”

In addition to the significance of the cherry orchard, there is also meaning in the use of wooden objects throughout the play.

The nobles are able to use wooden objects to their advantage and comfort. This comfort is not only physical comfort, as when Firs places a footstool for Madame Ranevsky, but also psychological comfort.  This is seen when Madame Ranevsky adresses a cupboard and table with affection, while caressing them. Gayef later speaks about the significance of the hundred-year-old cupboard, directly addressing it while lavishing it with praises.… Read the rest here