The Soviet Union: The “Project of the Century?”

“The stagnation of BAM propaganda after its initial formulation indicated the ideological staidness that, by the early 1970s, had gripped the corpus of Soviet governance like some form of mental rigor mortis. While official representations of BAM remained stagnant, the real world around these representations did not. Perhaps this helps to explain the events of the Brezhnev era, a time during which the government refused to acknowledge reality to a greater degree than any regime before it in Soviet history.” – Christopher Ward, Brezhnev’s Folly

The excerpts we read from Brezhnev’s Folly demonstrate how the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM) construction project, which Brezhnev proclaimed to be the “project of the century,” perfectly mirrored the social and political environment of the Soviet Union at the time. … Read the rest here

The Dissident Movement in the Soviet Union

Soviet intellectuals in the late 1960s and early ’70s decided it was high time to voice their opposition to the current political situation in the Union. The movement had roots in the Khrushchev era when the state loosened controls ever so slightly, but by the time Brezhnev came to power and tried to restrict expression yet again, the movement was already taking off.

It was a period of both hope and desperation. For the dissidents, there was hope.… Read the rest here