Soviet youth sets out on a ‘new, heroic and revolutionary path’

For Soviet Leadership, the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students was a prime opportunity to illustrate the Soviet Union as “an international, active, peace-loving population that was collectively committed to promoting an alternative to American exploitation around the world.” The festival contributors were depended upon to exhibit Soviet Youth as superior, having admirable ethics and awareness. These youth were not only expected to convey these ideals, but also give the impression to the world delegates that they were invigorated by the memorandum in Khrushchev’s 20th Party Congress speech and embody “Soviet openness and international mobilization.” The Youth was supposed to present these sentiments and ideals as “participants who were acting of their own free will” as a means to revise the public assumption of a forcible Soviet government.… Read the rest here

Shrinkage of the Aral Sea: Detrimental Effects

Elizabeth Lowman

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, their rule was marked by the desire to control everything, including nature. What resulted is what demographers Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly referred to as “a sixty-year pattern of ecocide by design.”[1] Ecocide is the practice of destroying an environment’s ecosystems. Alternatively, sustainability is the practice of taking no more from the environment than can later be replaced. The Soviet Union abandoned the idea of giving back to the earth by taking as much as they could to make a profit.… 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

Khrushchev’s Unintended Consequences

In response to Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in Moscow, as well as to the growing discontent at home, citizens of Poland, Hungary and eventually Czechoslovakia.

Poland: June 1956

Workers broke out in protest against the unpopular Communist regime and demanded better pay and treatment at the hands of the government. The demonstrations eventually fizzled out thanks to the reformist Wladyslaw Gomulka, who worked with Soviet leaders and the Polish Communist Party to appease the workers and avoid a revolution.… Read the rest here

Shhhh…It’s a Secret Speech

Khrushchev’s secret speech, given to party officials but not published for the general public, showed his desire for de-Stalinization.  Basically, Khrushchev has the same criticisms about Stalin that the rest of the world had: he was paranoid, rude, and killed too many people. Khrushchev believed that Stalin had given the world a bad example of socialism.  He also stated that many innocent lives had been lost.

When Khrushchev is speaking, he is careful to maintain the language of the party.  … Read the rest here

Secret Speech

We’ve talked about Khrushchev’s contradicting opinions of Stalin while he was the Party First Secretary and later Chairmen of the USSR, but his “Secret Speech” seems to finally put to rest his true opinion on Stalin’s dictatorship. The speech was known as such because it was read in a session without discussion and was not reported in the Soviet press. However, the Communist world knew of its existence and the claims within- that Stalin’s “Cult of Personality” was responsible of crimes such as the Terror of the later 1930s to the deportation of nationalities in the early 1940s- shocked and led many Western Communists to abandon Communism altogether.… Read the rest here