Sputnik Generation and Gender Roles Regarding Interviews

The interviews of Natalia and Gennadii were similar in the way the interviewer approached each question, however also extremely different in terms of the answers provided by both interviewees.  Natalia and Gennadii, though they had different upbringings, were both citizens of the Soviet Union with relatively similar class status in a classless state.

Both Natalia and Gennadii recognized the type of family or social class that was drawn to their town and School No. 42.  Natalia stated that many of the school children had parents who were “of the party or a party official” and the questions asked of her seemed to be much more social and cultural related.  Gennadii’s interview on the other hand seemed extremely political, focusing mainly on questions such as “Can you tell me what you thought of Lenin and Stalin?” or his experience with and opinion on Afghanistan.

I can’t tell if Gennadii’s interview was so different from Natalia’s solely because of gender, however that is what it felt like.  Gennadii’s answers were relatively short compared to Natalia’s. He was also extremely careful with what he said concerning politics, for instance when asked about his views on Lenin he said: “You know, regarding Lenin, I probably can’t say.”  This could have either legitimately been a lack of conviction or it was retreat from a question that seemed too nosey.

These two chapters left me with a few questions regarding how journalists or novelists approached people from the Soviet Union and how they responded.  Did Soviet’s see these interviews as “digging” for information and took offense?  Was it simply the people interviewed for these chapters which made it seem restrictive? Would interviewers purposely take to males for political questions and leave cultural and social issues more to the females?