The Age of Propaganda

“Propaganda can tip the scales,” claims Schivelbusch in regards to state influence in times of political turmoil in his Three New Deals. (85) The usual dialogue on the topic of interwar propaganda mostly elicits imagery associated with the USSR and Nazi regime, but what about the propaganda and control by the United States government? This is an example:

This blatantly racist imagery not only compares the Japanese to rats, it also depicts the rat with the physical stereotypes American’s gave the Japanese during the time.… Read the rest here

The Three New Deals: Kinship?

“Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939” by Wolfgang Schivelbusch gives a new take on the ideals and foundations of totalitarianism and collectivism by juxtaposing the politics and economics that dominated the US, Germany and Italy during the 1930s. In this text, Schivelbusch investigates the fundamental similarities between the “three new deals.” Putting all three of this regimes next to each other gives a different perspective on the totalitarian regimes that rose after the Great Depression, as well as on Roosevelt’s democratically praised New Deal programs.… Read the rest here

Commonalities vs. Sameness

In Three New Deals, author Wolfganf Schivelbusch  argues how three powerful states were all led by common ideals leading up to WWII.  This is not to confuse with ‘same’ ideals in any sense.  While these terms may seem alike, Schivelbusch clearly states there is a difference.  He argues that while the United States, Germany, and Italy had common features the three cannot be considered identical in any way.  It is difficult to place the United States, a democratic society, in the same category as two authoritative countries, but Schivelbusch continues to explain how they represent one another while being different at the same time.… Read the rest here

Serfdom In Russia and American Slavery

Serfdom in Russia was such an important phenomenon because, like P. Kolchin mentions in his book, peasants “were the essence of” Russia “and 90 percent of its population.” Were the serfs really slaves, like P. Kolchin implies? He states that even some respectable Russian writers and historians referred to the serfs as slaves. I believe that this meant that the life conditions of serfs in Russia were very hard, and in this respect compared to the slaves in the United States.
Read the rest here

Russian Serfdom and American Slavery

As an American Studies major, I found Peter Kolchin’s The Origin and Consolidation of Unfree Labor to be absolutely fascinating. Kolchin’s purpose in the introduction we read is to delineate the similarities and differences between the causes and realities of Russian serfdom and American slavery. Kolchin begins by detailing the origins of Russian serfdom. Serfs originally had freedom to move around the country; however, in the sixteenth and seventeenth century this right was restricted and eventually abolished because serf migration caused too much disruption and therefore decreased the amount of agricultural labor being performed.… Read the rest here

Perestroika and 100 wilted flowers

Perestroika and glasnost  were terms Gorbachev used to embody his cultural reforms and openness to Western influence. The Chinese, too, had a period of openness. In 1956 Mao said that,  “The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.” This “100 Flowers Movement” was ended in 1957 with political persecutions. Both Communist powers handled political dissonance in the second half of the 20th century differently, with the USSR embracing and the Chinese silencing controversy.  … Read the rest here

Working Women in Russia

The women’s double burden of simultaneously juggling their working life with their domestic lives has not improved much since 1936 in Russia. Up until the late 1970s, women practically had twice the workload as men. In the 1930s, the Soviet state basically falsely advertised women’s emancipation by massively increasing women’s participation in the workforce while undermining their facade by cutting wages in half and reversing the importance of the states role in child raising and placed it on the Russian family.… Read the rest here

European Dictators: The Worse of Two Evils?

While viewing pictures of the gulags on gulaghistory.org, I was reminded of the pictures of Auschwicz  I had seen in high school during our holocaust unit. The starvation, disease, and forced labor I read about on the site, as well as in the book A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich seemed reminiscent of the Nazi concentration camps.

These facts made me wonder why in American culture Joseph Stalin’s crimes often seem to be minimized.… Read the rest here

Penal Systems of World Powers

Abladen grosser Steinbrocken am Weissmeer-Ostsee-Kanal, 1932

The organization of Soviet labor camps hoped to accomplish a number of purposes. These projects were improvements on the infrastructure of the Soviet Union and, ultimately, the economy. Considering how swiftly the Belomor was completed (“Twenty months and it must be built cheaply” –Stalin) and the lack of material resources, this success was based primarily on the re-purposing of an otherwise idle prison population. Granted, the ‘labor camp’ style of  punishment in the Russian penal system was established long before Soviet rule but the Soviets were the first to implement it on such a large and effective scale. … Read the rest here

Ex Convicts Running in Elections?

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ex-convicts-regain-right-to-run-in-elections/487696.htm

Today I found this interesting article in the Moscow Times.  Apparently, on Thursday, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that ex-convicts have the right to fun for offices, including the office of president. This ruling was a direct response to the ban Vladimir Putin placed last year on ex-convicts running for office (which just happened to outlaw the leader of the opposition party from running in the future).

According to the new law, only people who are sentenced to a life in prison are banned from running for office.… Read the rest here