20th Century Russian History

Euro-Communism
a revisionist trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties, responding to the USSR’s very dominant stance towards world communism. They claimed to be developing a theory and practice of social transformation more relevant for Western Europe than the Soviet model. During the Cold War, they sought to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was especially prominent in Italy, Spain and France.

The way that the USSR handled the Prague Spring in 1968 sparked international disapproval that fed this movement.

Differences include fidelity to democratic institutions and widening their appeal by embracing public sector middle-class workers, new social movements such as feminism and gay liberation and more publicly questioning the Soviet Union.

Patriarch Pimen
14th Patriarch of Moscow and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1970 to 1990.

Pimen’s task was to lead a Christian church in a state ruled by an officially atheist Communist party. In his post he worked closely with the authorities: he participated in numerous ‘peace movement’ conferences sponsored by the government.

He is famous for his lenten letter which received a lot of criticism from Russian Orthodox around the world, because it did not mention any of the abuses of the Soviet Union and just called for peace by cooperation and individual piety.

Time Forward
a novel by Valentin Katayev, first published in in the January-October 1932 issues of Krasnaya Nov magazine.

A classic of Soviet Realism. Part of Stalin’s attempt to use writers to engineer new soviet man. Everything pragmatic and realistic.

The whole book takes place over a 24-hour period on a construction site in the Ural Mountains during the early 1930s, the heyday of Stalin’s Five-Year Plans. The novel is centered on an attempt to beat a concrete-pouring record set elsewhere in the Soviet Union by a shock brigade.

“Critical Realism”
a philosophical approach associated with Roy Bhaskar (1944-2014), combines a general philosophy of science (transcendental realism) with a philosophy of social science (critical naturalism) to describe an interface between the natural and social worlds.

Popularized in the 1970’s, now one of the major strands of social scientific method.

The realist philosophy described by Bhaskar in A Realist Theory of Science is compatible with Marx’s work in that it differentiates between an intransitive reality, which exists independently of human knowledge of it, and the socially produced world of science and empirical knowledge. This dualist logic is clearly present in the Marxian theory of ideology, according to which social reality may be very different from its empirically observable surface appearance.

Attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things.

Justifies how Marxism views history as a mechanism working out along certain, inevitable lines?

Sovnarkom
Council of People’s Commissars

A government institution formed shortly after the October Revolution in 1917. Created in the Russian Republic, the council laid foundations in restructuring the country to form the Soviet Union. It evolved to become the highest government authority of executive power in the government of the Soviet Union. The chairman of this council was thus the head of governmen.

The Bolsheviks used this to rule, ousting the Constituent Assembly.

It was to be responsible to the Congress of Soviets for the “general administration of the affairs of the state”. BUT the constitution enabled the Sovnarkom to issue decrees carrying the full force of law when the Congress was not in session.

It was transformed in 1946 into the Council of Ministers.

Ambassador Davis
Second US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1936-1938.

Davies had been asked by FDR to evaluate the strength of the Soviet Army, its government and its industry and to find out if possible which side the Russians would be on in the “coming war.”

Davies remained unaffected[7][citation needed] by news of the disappearance of thousands of Russians and foreigners in the Soviet Union throughout his stay as U.S. Ambassador. His reports from the Soviet Union were pragmatic, optimistic, and usually devoid of criticism of Stalin and his policies. While he briefly noted the USSR’s ‘authoritarian’ form of government, Davies praised the nation’s boundless natural resources and the contentment of Soviet workers while ‘building socialism’.[8] He went on numerous sanitized[citation needed] tours of the country, carefully prearranged by Soviet officials. In one of his final memos from Moscow to Washington D.C., Davies assessed:

“Communism holds no serious threat to the United States. Friendly relations in the future may be of great general value.”

Davies’ work in the Soviet Union resulted in his popular book, Mission to Moscow. In 1943, the book was adapted as a Warner Brothers movie.

The movie, made during World War II, showed the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin in a positive light. Completed in late April 1943, the film was, in the words of Robert Buckner, the film’s producer, “an expedient lie for political purposes, glossily covering up important facts with full or partial knowledge of their false presentation[14]…

I did not fully respect Mr. Davies’ integrity, both before, during and after the film. I knew that FDR had brainwashed him…”

Needless to say, Stalin loved this guy

Glavlit
General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press

the official censorship and state secret protection organ in the Soviet Union. The censorship agency was established in 1922 and lasted until the dissolution of the Soviet union.

The function of Glavlit was to prevent publications of information that could compromise state secrets in books, newspapers and other printed matter, as well as in radio and TV broadcasting.

Novyi Mir
a Russian language monthly literary magazine, first issued in January 1925.

It mainly published prose that approved of the general line of the Communist Party.

In the early 1960s, Novy Mir changed its political stance, leaning to a dissident position. In November 1962 the magazine became famous for publishing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s groundbreaking One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

With the appointment of Sergey Zalygin in 1986, at the beginning of the perestroika period, the magazine practised increasingly bold criticism of the Soviet Government, including figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev. It also published fiction and poetry by previously banned writers, such as George Orwell

“Moral Humanism”
I’m not sure how this relates. I can’t find “Moral Humanism”

But Humanism is: an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

So perhaps connecting this to atheism and idealism of soviet experiment?

Good quote from Lenin: “If I can get their faith in life after death and apply it to life on earth, we can build heaven on earth”

Meyerhold
born in 1874, a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 made Meyerhold one of the most enthusiastic activists of the new Soviet Theatre. He joined the Bolshevik Party in 1918 and became an official of the Theatre Division (TEO) of the Commissariat of Education and Enlightenment. In 1918-1919, Meyerhold formed an alliance with Olga Kameneva, the head of the Division. Together, they tried to radicalize Russian theatres, effectively nationalizing them under Bolshevik control.

Meyerhold founded his own theatre in 1920, which was known from 1923 as the Meyerhold Theatre until 1938.

Mayakovsky collaborated with Meyerhold several times

During the Great Purge, Meyerhold was arrested, tortured and executed in February 1940.

de-Stalinization
political reform launched at the 20th Party Congress (February 1956) by Soviet Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev that condemned the crimes committed by his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, destroyed Stalin’s image as an infallible leader, and promised a return to so-called socialist legality and Leninist principles of party rule. This caused profound shock among communists throughout the world—who had been taught to admire Stalin—severely damaged the prestige of the Soviet Union, generated serious friction in the international communist movement, and contributed to uprisings in 1956 in Poland and Hungary.

A. Tvardovskii
a Soviet poet and writer, chief editor of Novy Mir literary magazine from 1950 to 1954 and 1958 to 1970.

During his editorship, the magazine published One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1962

In 1963 Tvardovsky published a short satirical poem entitled “Tyorkin in the Other World”, where Tyorkin finds out that hell is a lot like every day life in the Soviet Union.

E Yaroslavskii
1878-1943

An atheist and anti-religious polemicist, Yaroslavsky served as editor of the atheist satirical journal Bezbozhnik (The Godless) and led the League of the Militant Godless organization. Yaroslavsky also headed the Anti-Religious Committee of the Central Committee.

In the fall of 1922 the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party established a new standing committee granted “full authority in general leadership and policy in regard to religion and the church and development of party directives on issues of anti-religious propaganda.” Officially titled the “Committee on the Execution of the Decree Separating Church and State” (unofficially known as the “Anti-Religious Commission”), this committee saw Yaroslavsky appointed as its chair early in 1923.

Stephen Cohen
1938-present

an American scholar and professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University. His academic work concentrates on modern Russian history since the Bolshevik Revolution and the country’s relationship with the United States .Cohen is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the progressive magazine The Nation, where he is also a contributing editor.

Cohen has argued in The Nation that the USA continued the Cold War after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, without US leaders acknowledging that they were doing so.[15] He says that a flawed interpretation of an “American victory” and a “Russian defeat” since the time of Bill Clinton had led to treating post-communist Russia like a defeated nation, even though Russia still possesses weapons of mass destruction inherited from the USSR. Cohen says that this “triumphalism” led to the expectation that Russia would submit completely to American foreign policy.

Cohen argues that Clinton, contrary to the promise of his predecessor, extended NATO eastward and implemented a strategy of containment. Russia inevitably reacted with suspicion.

In an interview given in July 2015, Cohen said that Putin’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine was a reaction to aggressive behavior of the United States and its allies

“The Heirs of Stalin”
Poem by Yevtshenko, published in Pravda, October 1962

“We moved him
out of the Mausoleum.
But how to remove Stalin
from Stalin’s heirs!!”

“As long as there are Stalin’s heirs on earth,
it will always seem to me,
that Stalin is still in the Mausoleum.”

Human Rights Movement
In the 1960s a human rights movement began to emerge in the USSR. The fight for civil and human rights focused on issues of freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom to emigrate, punitive psychiatry, and the plight of political prisoners. It was characterized by a new openness of dissent, a concern for legality.

Like other dissidents in the post-Stalin Soviet Union, human rights activists were subjected to a broad range of repressive measures. They received warnings from the police and the KGB; some lost their jobs, others were imprisoned or incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals; dissidents were sent into exile within the country or pressured to emigrate.

The documentation of political repressions as well as citizens’ reactions to them through samizdat (unsanctioned self-publishing) methods played a key role in the formation of the human rights movement.

From 1968 on, the samizdat periodical A Chronicle of Current Events played a key role for the human rights movement

A. Solzhenitsyn
a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system. He was allowed to publish only one work in the Soviet Union, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), in the periodical Novy Mir. After this he had to publish in the West, most notably Cancer Ward (1968), August 1914 (1971), and The Gulag Archipelago (1973). Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”.[6] Solzhenitsyn was afraid to go to Stockholm to receive his award for fear that he would not be allowed to reenter. He was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994 after the state’s dissolution.

John B. Dunlop
John B. Dunlop is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is an expert on Soviet and Russian politics from 1985 to the present, Russia’s two wars in Chechnya, ethnic Russian nationalism, and the politics of religion in Russia. His current research focuses on the origins of the Putin regime in 1998-99.

In testimony before a subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives in July 1991, Dunlop predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, which occurred the following December. He chronicled that collapse in his book, which is still in print, The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Union

Sputnik
the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the larger Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments

Sergei Krushchev
Born 1925, he is the son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. He now resides in the United States where he is a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

He often speaks to American audiences to share his memories of the “other” side of the Cold War. Sergei serves as an advisor to the Cold War Museum.

Machine-Tractor Stations
state-owned institution that rented heavy agricultural machinery (e.g., tractors and combines) to a group of neighbouring kolkhozy (collective farms) and supplied skilled personnel to operate and repair the equipment. The stations, which became widespread and prominent during the collectivization drive in the early 1930s, were instrumental in the mechanization of Soviet agriculture.

they were the chief instrument used by the Communist Party to control the countryside

In 1958, as part of a major agricultural reform, the MTS were abolished and their equipment was sold to the kolkhozy.

T. D. Lysenko
Born 1898-1976, Soviet biologist and agronomist, the controversial “dictator” of Communistic biology during Stalin’s regime. He rejected orthodox genetics in favour of “Michurinism” ( asserted the fundamental influence of environmental factors on heredity in contradiction of orthodox genetics)

The Soviet chiefs began to support Lysenko during the agricultural crisis of the 1930s. On the basis of rather crude and unsubstantiated experiments, Lysenko promised greater, more rapid, and less costly increases in crop yields than other biologists believed possible.

Ogoniek
Russian: ??????, lit. “little flame”

one of the oldest weekly illustrated magazines in Russia.

Ogoniok has issued since 21 December 1899. It was re-established in the Soviet Union in 1923.

The colour magazine reached the pinnacle of its popularity in the Perestroika years, when its editor-in-chief Vitaly Korotich “was guiding Ogoniok to a pro-American and pro-capitalist position”.

D. Pospielovsky
1935-2014

a historian, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Western Ontario. He was a prominent researcher in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church.

He also published a number of articles, in English and Russian, on other issues of Russian history, in particular, on workers’ movement at the times of Russian Revolutions and on Russian nationalism.

Moshe Lewin
1921-2010

a scholar of Russian and Soviet history. Lewin was a major figure in the school of Soviet studies which emerged in the 1960s.

Lewin presented a perspective which again stood in marked contrast to the voluminous writings of the totalitarianist school that dominated academia, which cast the USSR as a monolithic and fundamentally unchanging structure.

Lewin emerged as a critic of the politicized “What are they up to?” orientation of Soviet studies in favor of a more apolitical perspective attempting to answer the question “What makes the Russians tick?”[6]

Book: Russian Peasants and Soviet Power.

This monograph dealt with the Soviet grain procurement crisis of 1928 and the associated political battle, a bitter fight which resulted in a decision to forcibly collectivize Soviet agriculture. In this work, Lewin emphasized collectivization as a practical (albeit extreme) solution to a real world problem facing the Soviet regime, one out of several potential solutions to a crisis situation. Rather than an inevitable and predestined action, collectivization was cast as a brutal manifestation of realpolitik — a view in marked contrast to the traditionalist historiography of the day.

Lewin’s other 1968 book, Lenin’s Last Struggle, was an extended essay charting the evolution of Lenin’s thinking about the growing bureaucracy of Soviet Russia. In it, Lewin additionally chronicled the politics of the post-Lenin succession struggle during the time of Lenin’s final illness, emphasizing “lost” alternatives to the actual path of historical development.

In his final book, The Soviet Century, published in 2005, Lewin argued that the political and economic system of the former Soviet Union constituted a sort of “bureaucratic absolutism” akin to the Prussian bureaucratic monarchy of the 18th Century which had “ceased to accomplish the task it had once been capable of performing” and therefore given way.

Red and Hot
Book, published 1983, full title “Red and Hot: the fate of jazz in the soviet union”

Drawing on research in the USSR, interviews with Soviet jazz musicians, and rare recordings, this study explores the widespread popularity and appreciation of jazz in the Soviet Union despite longstanding official condemnation and harassment

Lenin? or Stalin? encouraged jazz as separate from the imperial past, but then discouraged it because of the culture that it was connected to (individuals, improvising, etc.)

The “Left Oppostion”
a faction within the Bolshevik Party from 1923 to 1927, headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin’s illness and intensified with his death in January 1924.

There was also the Right Opposition, which was led by the leading party theoretician and Pravda editor Nikolai Bukharin, and supported by Sovnarkom Chairman (prime minister) Alexei Rykov. In late 1924, as Stalin proposed his new Socialism in One Country theory, Stalin drew closer to the Right Opposition

Nicholas V. Riansonovsky
a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of numerous books on Russian history and European intellectual history.

Best-selling A History of Russia (1963). In its eighth edition in 2010 and has been acclaimed for its continued comprehensiveness.[

Gulag
the government agency that administered and controlled the Soviet forced-labor camp system during Joseph Stalin’s rule from the 1930s up until the 1950s. The term is also commonly used to reference any forced-labor camp in the Soviet Union.

recognized as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union, also driving force behind many projects (building projects, mining projects, canal digging, dam building, etc) that were internationally recognized

In March 1940, there were 53 Gulag camp directorates (colloquially referred to as simply “camps”) and 423 labor colonies in the USSR.[9] Today’s major industrial cities of the Russian Arctic, such as Norilsk, Vorkuta, and Magadan, were originally camps built by prisoners and run by ex-prisoners.

Nestor Makhno
1888-1934

a Ukrainian anarchist revolutionary and the commander of an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War of 1917-22.

led a guerrilla campaign during the civil war.[2] Makhno fought all factions which sought to impose any external authority over southern Ukraine

Although Makhno considered the Bolsheviks a threat to the development of an anarchist Free Territory within Ukraine, he twice entered into military alliances with them to defeat the White Army. In the aftermath of the defeat of the White Army in the region in November 1920, the Bolsheviks initiated a military campaign against Makhno, which concluded with his escape across the Romanian border in August 1921. After a series of imprisonments and escapes, Makhno finally settled in Paris with his wife Halyna and daughter Yelena

K. Chernenko
a Soviet politician and the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984 until his death thirteen months later, on 10 March 1985.

Chernenko became the third Soviet leader to die in less than three years, and, upon being informed in the middle of the night of his death, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who was seven months older than Chernenko and just over three years older than his predecessor Andropov, is reported to have remarked “How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?”

The impact of Chernenko—or the lack thereof—was evident in the way in which his death was reported in the Soviet press.

Khrushchev Remembers
Memoir by Nikita Krushchev, published 1970

“Joint Ventures”
a commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties that otherwise retain their distinct identities.
One part of perestroika

In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union sought increased participation in international markets and organizations. Structural changes in the foreign trade bureaucracy, granting direct trading rights to select enterprises, and legislation establishing joint ventures with foreigners opened up the economy to the Western technical and managerial expertise necessary to achieve the goals established by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s program of economic restructuring (perestroika).

The “Thermidoreans”
a French political group active during the French Revolution.

Don’t know how to relate this to 20th century Russia

Valentin Parnakh
1891-1951

a Russian poet, translator, choreographer, and musician who is best remembered as a founding father of Soviet jazz.

founded the “First Eccentric Orchestra of the Russian Federated Socialist Republic – Valentin Parnakh’s Jazz Band”, which held its debut concert at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow on October 1, 1922. This New Orleans-style jazz band became popular and influential among the artists of the Russian avant-garde of those days.

Parnakh was also creative director for music and choreography at Vsevolod Meyerhold’s Meyerhold Theater, where his Eccentric Orchestra performed hits of the time

A. Sakharov
1921-1989

a Russian nuclear physicist, Soviet dissident, an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights.

He became renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union’s RDS-37, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov later became an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union, for which he faced state persecution; these efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Important article: Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom

Pushing for open, multiparty system in order for science to advance and benefit society. Part of the dissidence inBrezhnev’s years.

N. K. V. D.
People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (???????? ??????????? ?????????? ???)

the leading Soviet secret police organization from 1934 to 1946. It is known for its political repression under orders from Joseph Stalin

best known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB), the predecessor of the KGB.

The NKVD conducted mass extrajudicial executions, ran the Gulag system of forced labor camps and was responsible for mass deportations of entire nationalities and Kulaks to unpopulated regions of the country. It was also tasked with protection of Soviet borders and espionage (which included political assassinations abroad), influencing foreign governments and enforcing Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries.

Richard Pipes
1923-present

a Polish-American academic who specializes in Russian history, particularly with respect to the Soviet Union, who espoused a strong anti-communist point of view throughout his career.

In the 1970s, Pipes was a leading critic of détente, which he described as “inspired by intellectual indolence and based on ignorance of one’s antagonist and therefore inherently inept”

In 1976 he headed Team B, a team of analysts organized by the Central Intelligence Agency who analyzed the strategic capacities and goals of the Soviet military and political leadership. It argued that the National Intelligence Estimate on the Soviet Union, generated yearly by the CIA, underestimated both Soviet military strategy and ambition and misinterpreted Soviet strategic intentions.

Yalta
The Yalta Conference, held from February 4 to 11, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Europe’s postwar reorganization

Yalta was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three. It had been preceded by the Tehran Conference in 1943, and was followed by the Potsdam Conference in July 1945

The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. Within a few years, with the Cold War dividing the continent, Yalta became a subject of intense controversy. To a degree, it has remained controversial.

Solidarnost’
a Russian liberal democratic political movement founded on 13 December 2008 by a number of well-known members of the liberal democratic opposition

Iurii Andropov
1914-1984

a Soviet politician who was ambassador to Hungary from 1954 to 1957, during which time he was involved in the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, and then Chairman of the KGB from 1967 until 1982. Later in 1982, he became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a position he held until his death fifteen months later.

During his rule, Andropov attempted to improve the economy by raising management effectiveness without changing the principles of socialist economy. In contrast to Brezhnev’s policy of avoiding conflicts and dismissals, he began to fight violations of party, state and labour discipline, which led to significant personnel changes during an anti-corruption campaign against many of Brezhnev’s cronies.[7] During 15 months in office, Andropov dismissed 18 ministers, and 37 first secretaries of obkoms, kraikoms and Central Committees of Communist Parties of Soviet Republics; criminal cases on highest party and state officials were started. For the first time, the facts about economic stagnation and obstacles to scientific progress were made available to the public and criticised.

Very interested in understanding the problems of his day, and a pragmatist about addressing them. Took one step towards reform, which Gorby blew wide open. Andropov allowed the ills of the system to be discussed safely in his office–Gorby wanted them to be discussed safely on the streets.

Krokodil
a fairly new drug that has appeared in Russia since 2002. It started showing up in Siberia and has spread throughout the country since then. While several drugs are quickly and harshly addictive and physically damaging, krokodil sets a new standard for fast destruction

Russia has a severe problem with heroin addiction, but when a heroin addict can no longer afford that drug, he can make up krokodil which has a stronger kick and costs about a tenth the price.

At one meeting of drug enforcement officials, two regional governors reported that krokodil accounts for about half of all addictions and drug-related deaths in their regions. And in some other areas, krokodil has nearly replaced opiates as the drug of choice.

It is estimated that somewhere between a few hundred thousand and a million people are injecting this deadly drug.

Robert F. Byrnes
Dr. Byrnes, the author of many books and scholarly articles, joined the Indiana faculty as a professor of history in 1956. While there, he helped shaped the careers of many students who entered academia, the diplomatic service or other Government service. Among them were Kremlinologists like Prof. Stephen F. Cohen, the former director of Russian studies at Princeton University,

At the height of the cold war, Dr. Byrnes led efforts by intellectuals, most of them Westerners, to open dialogues with their counterparts behind the Iron Curtain. He served as chairman of the Inter-University Committee on Travel Grants, an organization he formed in 1955 to negotiate and administer exchanges of students and scholars between the United States and the Soviet Union.

“The Decade of Euphoria”
The 80’s, the excitement of glasnost and perestroika, readership and civic involvement exploding, high hopes for future

The Glazunov Affair
1865-1936

a Russian composer, music teacher, and conductor of the late Russian Romantic period. He served as director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory between 1905 and 1928 and was also instrumental in the reorganization of the institute into the Petrograd Conservatory, then the Leningrad Conservatory, following the Bolshevik Revolution. The best-known student under his tenure during the early Soviet years was Dmitri Shostakovich.

Glazunov was significant in that he successfully reconciled nationalism and cosmopolitanism in Russian music.

Younger composers such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich eventually considered his music old-fashioned while also admitting he remained a composer with an imposing reputation and a stabilizing influence in a time of transition and turmoil.

From Under the Rubble
Alexander Solzhenitsyn and six dissident colleagues joined in the mid-1970s to write this book, which surely remains the most extraordinary debate of a nation’s future published in modern times. Shattering a half-century of silence, From Under the Rubble constitutes a devastating attack on the Soviet regime, a moral indictment of the liberal West, and a Christian manifesto calling for a new society—one whose dominant values would be spiritual rather than economic. Personally edited by the Nobel Prize-winning author, and fired by his own substantial contributions, From Under the Rubble articulates Solzhenitsyn’s most fervent call to action.

The Serapion Brothers
a group of writers formed in Petrograd, Russian SFSR in 1921.

Yevgeni Zamyatin became associated with the Serapion Brothers in 1921. Zamyatin and other writers lived there as a small community of intellectuals, as their lifestyle and artistic atmosphere was later described in their memoirs and letters.

The Serapion Brothers remained neutral, withdrawn and eventually became mainstream, among other, more innovative and experimental literature. Zamyatin became disillusioned with teaching them, and moved on.

Father Dudko
priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in the late twentieth century whose sermons and answers to questions concerning Christianity during the 1970s influenced greatly thousands and drew the ire of the atheistic Soviet government. His imprisonment and treatment ended in his forced renouncement of his activities.

Robert Tucker
1918-2010

an American political scientist and historian. Tucker is best remembered as a biographer of Joseph Stalin and as an analyst of the Soviet political system, which he saw as dynamic rather than unchanging.

He contended that psychological differences were more important than ideological similarities in Soviet leadership politics and that Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Mikhail Gorbachev had very different personalities and mentalities.

He argued that systemic changes came not only in October 1917, when the Bolsheviks seized power, and in December 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, but also in the mid-1930s, when Lenin’s one-party dictatorship was transformed into Stalin’s one-man dictatorship, and in the mid-1950s, when oligarchic one-party rule filled the power vacuum created by the dictator’s death.

Tucker’s main stages were: War Communism (1917-1921), New Economic Policy (1921-1928), Revolution from Above (1928-1937), Neo-Tsarist Autocracy (1937-1953), Thaw (1953-1964), Stagnation (1964-1985), and Perestroika (1985-1991).

Vekhi
a collection of seven essays published in Russia in 1909. It was distributed in five editions and elicited over two hundred published rejoinders in two years. The volume reappraising the Russian intelligentsia was a brainchild of the literary historian Mikhail Gershenzon, who edited it and wrote the introduction.

V. Soloukhin
1924-1997

a Russian poet and writer. In 1958-1981, he worked in the editorial offices of the prominent newspaper Molodaya Gvardiya (Youth Guard) and in the literary journal Nash Sovremennik (Our Contemporary).

he manifested himself as a Russian patriot, and stressed the need to preserve national traditions

Vladimir Soloukhin is considered to be a leading figure of the “village prose” group of writers.

Soloukhin represents Orthodox Christian – nationalist positions, criticizing atheist, internationalist, liberal and communist views.

Soloukhin’s book “Searching for Icons in Russia” describes his hobby of collecting icons. He traveled throughout the countryside in the 1950s and 1960s searching for icons.

idealized pre-revolutionary russia

“Democratic Movement”

All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Movements

The God that Failed
a 1949 book which collects together six essays with the testimonies of a number of famous ex-communists, who were writers and journalists. The common theme of the essays is the authors’ disillusionment with and abandonment of communism

The six contributors were Louis Fischer, André Gide, Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Stephen Spender, and Richard Wright.

The book contains Fischer’s definition of “Kronstadt” as the moment in which some communists or fellow-travelers decide not just to leave the Communist Party but to oppose it as anti-communists. Editor Crossman said in the book’s introduction: “The Kronstadt rebels called for Soviet power free from Bolshevik dominance”

Young Communist League
the name used by the youth wing of various Communist parties around the world

In the Soviet Union the YCL was known as the Komsomol

The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Young Communist League, or RKSM. During 1922, with the unification of the USSR, it was reformed into an all-union agency, the youth division of the All-Union Communist Party.

It was the final stage of three youth organizations with members up to age 28, graduated at 14 from the Young Pioneers, and at nine from the Little Octobrists.[1]

Not only was the ideal Communist youth an asset to his or her organization, but (s)he also “lived correctly”. This meant that every aspect of a Komsomolets’s life was to be in accordance with Party doctrine. Smoking, drinking, religion, and any other activity the Bolsheviks saw as threatening were discouraged as “hooliganism”. The Komsomol sought to provide its members with alternative leisure activities that promoted the improvement of society, such as volunteer work, sports, and political and drama clubs. These efforts proved largely unsuccessful, since the Bolshevik Party and the Komsomol were not in touch with Soviet youth’s desires and thus were unable to manipulate them.

J. V. Stalin
1878-1953

governed the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. In this capacity, he served as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953 and as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952. Ideologically a Marxist-Leninist, his policies and theories became known as Stalinism.

Stalin became General Secretary in 1922 and the Soviet Union was established that year. Despite Lenin’s objection, power became consolidated around Stalin and opposition was removed following Lenin’s death in 1924. During Stalin’s tenure the concept of “Socialism in One Country” became a central tenet of Soviet society, and a cult of personality developed around him. Lenin’s New Economic Policy was replaced with a centralised command economy, industrialisation and collectivisation. These rapidly transformed the country from an agrarian society into an industrial power,[3] but disrupted food production and contributed to the famine of 1933-34. Between 1934 and 1939, Stalin organised the “Great Purge”, in which millions of so-called “enemies of the working class”, including senior political and military figures, were interned in Gulag-run prisons, exiled or executed, often without due process.

Stalin led the Soviet Union through its post-war reconstruction phase, during which it became the second country to develop a nuclear weapon, as well as launching the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature in response to another major famine and the Great Construction Projects of Communism.

The Great Retreat
Book by Paul Austin written 1996

1812: The Great Retreat tells the story of the end of the most famously disastrous campaign in history, using the words of the survivors to describe their desperate withdrawal from Russia. Napoleon’s campaign had begun with more than a third of a million men setting out on what was to be a long and terrible march to the glittering city of Moscow. Only 100,000 were to reach it. Forced to turn back in the face of winter’s onset, almost nothing of the drastically reduced army lived to recross the Niemen River. Using the words of 160 of the participants, Paul Britten Austin brings unparalleled authenticity and immediacy to his unique account of the end of Napoleon’s dramatic and tragic 1812 campaign.

The Great Revival
Book about the Russian Church under German Occupation. Probably about relative freedom that war gave, in addition to how Stalin lifted restraints on church to get its help in the war effort

A Lenten Letter to Patriarch Pimen
Written by Solzhenitsyn in 1972 in response to Patriarch Pimen’s Lenten Letter, rebuking Patriarch Pimen for collaborating with the government and ignoring all the harms

Bezbozhnik
“The Godless”

a anti-religious and atheistic newspaper published in the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1941[1] by the League of Militant Atheists

Its main targets were Christianity and Judaism, accusing rabbis and priests of collaborating with the bourgeoisie and other counter-revolutionaries. The rabbis were accused of promoting hostility between Jews and Gentiles. Priests were attacked by being parasites who lived off the work of the peasants

Bezbozhnik used humour as part of its anti-religious atheist propaganda, since humour was able to reach both educated and barely literate audiences. For example, in 1924, Bezbozhnik u Stanka issued a brochure called How to Build a Godless Corner, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Eastern Orthodox’s Icon Corner.

In 1932, with the Soviet economy faltering from economic dislocation associated with the First Five-Year Plan, the Cultural Revolution was halted and a less extreme approach towards religion and other aspects of Soviet life was initiated by the regime. Destabilizing campaigns in the economy, education, and social relations were halted and a move made towards the restoration of traditional values. Bezbozhnik began to move away from its original subject, anti-religion and atheism, and began publishing more general political subjects.

Membership in the League of the Militant Godless, which had expanded during the Cultural Revolution to approximately 5 million plummeted to a few hundred thousand,

magazine terminated completely in 1935

“Babi Yar”
a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of massacres carried out by German forces and local collaborators during their campaign against the Soviet Union.

The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place 29-30 September 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed.

It is estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 people were killed at Babi Yar during the German occupation

The Seven Days of Creation
book by Vladimir Maximov, published 1975

The “Prague Spring”
a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dub?ek was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KS?), and continued until 21 August 1968 when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to halt the reforms.

The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dub?ek to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel. After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dub?ek oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.

The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country.

After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period known as “normalization”: subsequent leaders attempted to restore the political and economic values that had prevailed before Dub?ek gained control of the KS?.

Gorbachev
Last party secretary, 1985-1991

BAM
Baikal-Amur Mainline

In March 1974, Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev proposed that the BAM would be one of the two major projects in the Tenth Five Year Plan (1976-80)

railway line in Russia. Traversing Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East

north of and parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway

The BAM was built as a strategic alternative route to the Trans-Siberian Railway, especially along the vulnerable sections close to the border with China.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, the BAM-project attracted increasing criticism for bad planning. Infrastructure and basic services like running water were often not in place when workers arrived. At least 60 boomtowns developed around the route, but nowadays a lot of these places are deserted ghost towns and unemployment in the area is high. The building of the BAM has also been criticised for its complete lack of environmental protection.

Soviet Laws Concerning Religion: 1918, 1928, 1929, 1991

Parthenogenesis

Khasbulatov
1942-present

a Russian economist and politician of Chechen descent who played a central role in the events leading to the 1993 constitutional crisis in the Russian Federation.

on 29 October 1991 he was elected speaker of the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR.

After the collapse of the USSR, Khasbulatov consolidated his control over the Russian parliament and became the second most powerful man in Russia after Yeltsin himself. Among other factors, the escalating clash of egos between Khasbulatov and Yeltsin led to the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, in which Khasbulatov (along with Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoy) led the Supreme Soviet of Russia in its power struggle with the president, which ended with Yeltsin’s violent assault on and subsequent dissolution of the parliament in October 1993.

Khasbulatov was arrested along with the other leaders of the parliament. In 1994, the newly elected Duma pardoned him along with other key leaders of the anti-Yeltsin resistance.

“Georgian Uprising” 1989

Armenian Catastrophe, 1988

Tatyana Mamonova
1943-present

a founder of the modern Russian women’s movement, an internationally renowned democratic women’s leader, author, poet, journalist, videographer, artist, editor and public lecturer.

Mamonova was the first feminist dissident exiled from the Soviet Union in 1980 for re-igniting the Russian women’s movement; initiating her organization, then called Woman and Russia, the first NGO promoting the human rights of women from the Soviet Union and connecting Russian speaking women’s voices and needs with the international community; and editing and publishing the samizdat Woman and Russia Almanac, now called Woman and Earth Almanac, an art and literary journal containing the first collection of Soviet feminist writings, which has now been published in 11 languages and in over 22 countries. Prior to her exile from her native St. Petersburg, Russia, she was the first woman organizer and exhibitor in the non-conformist artist movement in Russia and a literary and television journalist with Aurora Publishers (working alongside Josef Brodsky) and Leningrad Television

Militant Communism

The People’s Parliament
The term People’s Parliaments or People’s Assemblies was used in 1940 for puppet legislatures put together after show elections in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to legitimize the occupation by the Soviet Union. In all three countries, the elections to the parliaments followed the same scenario, dictated by functionaries in Moscow and borrowed from incorporation of Belarusian and Ukrainian lands in the aftermath of the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Only candidates proposed by legally functioning institutions could run in each election. By that time all non-communist parties and organizations were outlawed.

Efforts to present alternative candidates were blocked.[1] Repressions and terror were employed against election critics and political activists. For example, in Lithuania some 2,000 activists were arrested on June 11.[4] People were coerced to vote – anyone who did not vote was dubbed an “enemy of the people” and could expect future persecutions for “failing their political duties”.Those who voted had their passports stamped for future purposes.The ballots had only one option – the name chosen by the Communists. According to the rigged results, Communist candidates received over 90% of the vote.

Children of Arbat
a novel by Anatoly Rybakov that recounts the era in the Soviet Union of the build-up to the Congress of the Victors, the early years of the second Five Year Plan and the (supposed) circumstances of the murder of Sergey Kirov prior to the beginning of the Great Purge.

Principally told through the story of the fictional Sasha Pankratov, a sincere and loyal Komsomol member who is exiled as a result of party intrigues, the novel is semi-autobiographical – Rybakov too was exiled in the early 1930s. The book recounts the growing hysteria of the period where simple mistakes or humour were seen as examples of sabotage or acts of wreckers

In effect the book exposes how, despite the honest intentions of Pankratov and older Bolsheviks like Kirov, Stalinism is destroying all their hopes.

The novel is also notable for its portrayal of Joseph Stalin as a scheming and paranoid figure.

The book, which was written between 1966 and 1983, was suppressed[7] until the Perestroika era

Andrei Gromyko
1909-1989

a Soviet communist politician during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957-1985) and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1985-1988). Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy.

. In 1943 Gromyko became the Soviet ambassador to the United States, leaving in 1946 to become the Soviet Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Upon his return to the Soviet Union he became a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and later the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Gromyko played a direct role in the Cuban Missile Crisis in his role as the Soviet Foreign Minister. Gromyko helped negotiate arms limitations treaties such as the ABM Treaty, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and SALT I and II among others. Under Leonid Brezhnev’s leadership Gromyko helped build the policy of détente between the US and the USSR. He supported Mikhail Gorbachev’s candidacy for General Secretary in 1985.

Perestroika
a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s, widely associated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his glasnost (meaning “openness”) policy reform. The literal meaning of perestroika is “restructuring”, referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system.

Perestroika allowed more independent actions from various ministries and introduced some market-like reforms. The goal of the perestroika, however, was not to end the command economy but rather to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet citizens.

glasnost
translated as “openness,” refers to the Soviet policy of open discussion of political and social issues. The policy was instituted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s and began the democratization of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev’s “Purge”, April 23, 1989

The New Class
The new class is used as a polemic term by critics of countries that followed the Soviet type of communism to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist Party functionaries which arose in these states. Generally, the group known in the Soviet Union as the Nomenklatura conforms to the theory of the new class.

The term Red bourgeoisie is a pejorative synonym for the term new class

Little Vera
Little Vera, produced at the Gorky Film Studio and released in 1988, is a film by Russian film director Vasili Pichul. The title in Russian is ambiguous and can also mean “Little Faith,” symbolizing the characters’ lack of hope (or a glimmer thereof)

The film was the leader in ticket sales in the Soviet Union in 1988 with 54.9 million viewers

The film’s main character and namesake is a teenage girl, who just having finished school feels trapped in her provincial town. With its pessimistic and cynical view of Soviet society, the film was typical of its time (perestroika)

one of the first Soviet movies with explicit sexual scenes

Interfax
a privately-held independent major news agency in Russia, founded 1989

Interfax controls around 50% of the Russian corporate data market

Interfax provides general and political news, business credit information, industry analysis, market data and business solutions for risk, compliance and credit management.

Nezavisima Gazeta
first published on 21 December 1990. It was one of the most important daily newspapers in the early post-Soviet period, when it was seen as close to the opinion of the Moscow intelligentsia.

1991 Coup
also known as the August Coup or August Putsch

an attempt by members of the Soviet Union’s government to take control of the country from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup leaders were hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) who were opposed to Gorbachev’s reform program and the new union treaty that he had negotiated which decentralised much of the central government’s power to the republics.

On 4 August, Gorbachev went on holiday to his dacha in Foros, Crimea. He planned to return to Moscow in time for the New Union Treaty signing on 20 August.

On 17 August, the members of the GKChP met at a KGB guesthouse in Moscow and studied the treaty document. They believed the pact would pave the way to the Soviet Union’s breakup, and decided that it was time to act. The next day, Baklanov, Boldin, Shenin, and USSR Deputy Defense Minister General Valentin Varennikov flew to Crimea for a meeting with Gorbachev. They demanded that Gorbachev either declare a state of emergency or resign and name Yanayev as acting president to allow the members of the GKChP “to restore order” in the country

August 19: All of the State Committee on the State of Emergency (GKChP) documents were broadcast over the state radio and television starting from 7 a.m. The Russian SFSR-controlled Radio Rossii and Televidenie Rossii, plus “Ekho Moskvy”, the only independent political radio station, were cut off the air.

Yeltsin arrived at the White House, Russia’s parliament building, at 9am on 19 August.

Yeltsin issued a declaration in which it was stated that a reactionary anti-constitutional coup had taken place. The military was urged not to take part in the coup. The declaration called for a general strike with the demand to let Mikhail Gorbachev address the people.

In the afternoon the citizens of Moscow began to gather around the White House and to erect barricades around it

August 20: Estonia’s Supreme Council declared Republic of Estonia sovereign and independent at 23.03.

August 21:Supreme Council Republic of Latvia declared its sovereignty officially completed.

Boris Yeltsin
first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev’s most powerful political opponents.

On 12 June 1991 he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR)

Upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, after which the RSFSR became the sovereign state of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin remained in office as president. He was reelected in the 1996 election, where critics widely claimed pervasive corruption

He vowed to transform Russia’s socialist economy into a capitalist market economy and implemented economic shock therapy, price liberalization and nationwide privatization. Due to the sudden total economic shift, a majority of the national property and wealth fell into the hands of a small number of oligarchs.

Much of the Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, and as a result of persistent low oil and commodity prices during the 1990s, Russia suffered inflation, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems that affected Russia and the other former states of the USSR. Within a few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin’s initial supporters had started to criticize his leadership, and Vice President Alexander Rutskoy even denounced the reforms as “economic genocide”.

Made a big mistake with Chechnya

D. Likhachev
1906-1999

an outstanding Russian Medievalist, Linguist, and concentration camp survivor. During his lifetime, Likhachov was considered the world’s foremost scholar of the Old Russian language and its literature.

He was revered as “the last of old St Petersburgers”, and as, “a guardian of national culture”. Due to his high profile as a Soviet dissident during his later life, Likhachov was often referred to as, “Russia’s conscience”.

Old Russian literature, which at that time did not receive much academic attention, became the main scientific interest of Dmitry Likhachyov who, by the beginning of the 1940s, was one of the most renowned specialists in this sphere.

Smena Vekh
a russian emigre magazine “Smena Vekh” (translated “Change of Signposts”) published in Prague, started in the year 1921

told its White émigré readers: “The Civil War is lost definitely. For a long time Russia has been travelling on its own path, not our path”, “Either recognize this Russia, hated by you all, or stay without Russia, because a “third Russia” by your recipes does not and will not exist”

The ideas in the publication soon evolved into the Smenovekhovstvo movement which promoted the concept of accepting the Soviet regime and the October Revolution as a natural and popular progression of Russia’s fate, something which was not to be resisted despite perceived ideological incompatibilities with Leninism. The Smenovekhovstvo admonished its members to return to Russia predicting that the Soviet Union would not last and would give way to a revival of Russian nationalism

Alexander Men
1935-1990

a Russian Orthodox priest, theologian, Biblical scholar and writer.

Men wrote dozens of books (including his magnum opus, History of Religion: In Search of the Way, the Truth and the Life, the seventh volume of which, Son of Man, served as the introduction to Christianity for thousands of citizens in the Soviet Union); baptized hundreds if not thousands; founded an Orthodox Open University; opened one of the first Sunday Schools in Russia as well as a charity group at the Russian Children’s Hospital.[1] His influence is still widely felt and his legacy continues to grow among Christians both in Russia and abroad. He was murdered early on Sunday morning, 9 September 1990, by an ax-wielding assailant

Cathedral of Christ the Savior
a cathedral in Moscow, Russia, on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks southwest of the Kremlin.

The current church is the second to stand on this site. The original church, built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. It was destroyed in 1931 on the order of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The demolition was supposed to make way for a colossal Palace of the Soviets to house the country’s legislature, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Construction started in 1937 but was halted in 1941 when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union during World War II.

In 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission from the Soviet Government to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

About one million Muscovites donated money for the project.

It was reconsecrated in 2000.

The Medvedev Brothers
Roy and Zhores are twins, dissidents in the 70’s

Roy Medvedev: author of the dissident history of Stalinism, Let History Judge, first published in English in 1972. Medvedev became a prominent Russian public figure and served as a consultant to Mikhail Gorbachev.

Zhores Medvedev: Russian biologist, historian and dissident. Zhores Medvedev is famous for exposing the Kyshtym nuclear disaster, which occurred at Mayak near Kyshtym, Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast in the Urals in 1957. He published the book The Nuclear Disaster in the Urals in 1979

Vladimir Putin
born 1952

the current President of the Russian Federation, holding the office since 7 May 2012. He was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000, President from 2000 to 2008, and again Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012. During his second term as Prime Minister, he was the Chairman of the ruling United Russia Party.

Putin was a KGB Foreign Intelligence Officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1991 to enter politics in Saint Petersburg. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin’s administration, rising quickly through the ranks and becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin resigned. Putin won the subsequent 2000 Presidential election by a 53% to 30% margin

He was re-elected President in 2004 with 72% of the vote.

During Putin’s first presidency, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, and GDP measured in purchasing power increased by 72%.[9][10] The growth was a result of the 2000s commodities boom, high oil prices, and prudent economic and fiscal policies

Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth and is officially out of the recession.

In 2007, he was the Time Person of the Year.[20][21] In 2015, he was #1 on the Time’s Most Influential People List.[22][23][24] Forbes ranked him the World’s Most Powerful Individual every year from 2013 to 2016

Alexander Yakovlev
1923-2005

Soviet politician and historian. During the 1980s he was a member of the Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ,

he was called the “godfather of glasnost”[1]

When Gorbachev became Soviet leader in 1985, Yakovlev became a senior advisor, helping to shape Soviet foreign policy by advocating Soviet non-intervention in Eastern Europe, and accompanying Gorbachev on his five summit meetings with United States President Ronald Reagan. Domestically, he argued in favour of the reform programs that became known as glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) and played a key role in executing those policies.

Igor Shafarevich, Russophobia
1923-2017

a Russian mathematician who contributed to algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry. He wrote books and articles that criticize socialism, and was an important dissident during the Soviet regime.

Russophobia,[11] expanded into the book Three thousand year old mystery (???????????????? ???????) resulted in accusations of antisemitism.[12][13][14] He completed the Russophobia essay in 1982 and it was initially circulated as samizdat. In the USSR it was first officially published in 1989.

In the Russophobia essay he argued that great nations experience periods in their history when reformist elitist groups (‘small nations’) that have values that differ fundamentally from the values of the majority of the people, gain upper hand in the society. In Shafarevich’s opinion, the role of such a ‘small nation’ in Russia was played by a small group of intelligentsiya dominated by Jews. They were full of hatred against traditional Russian way of life, playing an active role in the terrorist regimes of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.[15][16]

In the 1970s Shafarevich became one of Sakharov’s human rights investigators, and was consequently dismissed from Moscow University

Istpart
Commission on the History of the October Revolution and the RCP [Bolshevik]

Istpart’s functions were the collection, scholarly processing, and publication of materials on the history of the Communist Party and the October Revolution.

Set up in August 1920, Istpart was first part of the State Publishing House; on Sept. 21, 1920, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a resolution, which was signed by V.I. Lenin, placing Istpart under the People’s Commissariat for Education; and on Dec. 1, 1921, it was made into a department of the Central Committee of the RCP

Istpart published more than 30 journals and various collections

It also published many collections of documents on party history (including Lenin’s documents), memoirs of persons who participated in the revolutionary events, biographical reference books, and scholarly and popular works. Istpart created archives, libraries, museums, and exhibitions on the history of the revolution. It also organized lectures, reports, and meetings with veterans.

October
October: Ten Days That Shook the World a 1928 Soviet silent historical film by Sergei Eisenstein

Became the memory of the revolution, even thought it was far from the reality of the revolution. There are memorable scenes, such as the storming of the winter palace, that were very minor events in reality.

AN example of propaganda

Andrei Sinyavsky
1925-1997

book On Socialist Realism (1959) criticised the poor quality of the drearily positive-toned, conflict-free strictures in the style of the state-backed socialist realism, and called for a return to the fantastic in Soviet literature, the tradition, Sinyavsky said, of Gogol and Vladimir Mayakovsky

During a time of extreme censorship in the Soviet Union, Sinyavsky published his novels in the West under a pseudonym.

A protégé of Boris Pasternak, Sinyavsky described the realities of Soviet life in short fiction stories. In 1965, he was arrested, along with fellow-writer and friend Yuli Daniel, and tried in the infamous Sinyavsky-Daniel show trial.

The affair was accompanied by harsh propaganda campaigns in the Soviet media and was perceived as a sign of demise of the Khrushchev Thaw.

Stephen Kotkin
1959-present

an American historian, academic and author. He is currently a professor in history and international affairs at Princeton University and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

He published Armageddon Averted, a short history of the fall of the Soviet Union, in 2001.

Kotkin’s most recent book is his first of three planned volumes, which discuss the life and times of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin: Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 (2014).

1991
The Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26, 1991. It was a result of the declaration number 142-? of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.[1] The declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although five of the signatories ratified it much later or did not do it at all. On the previous day, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, resigned, declared his office extinct, and handed over its powers – including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes – to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. That evening at 7:32, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag

Nina Andreeva
1938-present

a Russian chemist, teacher, author, political activist, and social critic. A supporter of classical Soviet principles, she wrote an essay in 1988 entitled I Cannot Forsake My Principles that defended many aspects of the traditional Soviet system, and criticized General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and his closest supporters for not being true communists.

Andreyeva subsequently played a leadership role in the formation of communist organisations. She headed the organizing committee of the Bolshevik Platform of the CPSU that expelled Gorbachev from the party in September 1991. In November 1991, she became the general secretary of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, which saw itself as the successor to the CPSU.

A. Nekrich, 22 June 1941
1920-1993

a Soviet Russian historian. He emigrated to the United States in 1976. He is known for his works on the history of the Soviet Union, especially under Joseph Stalin’s rule.

Nekrich gained fame for his sensational work June 22, 1941; Soviet Historians and the German Invasion, a study of the Soviet-German confrontation during World War II, which was critical of Stalin and the Soviet leadership over their failure to prepare the country for an anticipated German onslaught. The book was harshly criticized and quickly banned, while Nekrich was excluded from the Communist party.[1] He was allowed, though, to leave the Soviet Union in 1976. Nekrich settled in the U.S. and lectured at Harvard.

Chronicle of Current Events
one of the longest-running samizdat periodicals of the post-Stalin USSR

Appearing first in the summer of 1968, it soon became the main voice of the Soviet human rights movement, inside the country and abroad.

George W. Breslauer
1946-present

University of California at Berkeley, a specialist on Soviet politics and foreign relations.

author or editor of 12 books on Soviet and Russian politics and foreign relations, most recently Gorbachev and Yeltsin as Leaders

The Brezhnev Doctrine
a Soviet foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968,

“When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.”

This doctrine was announced to retroactively justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 that ended the Prague Spring, along with earlier Soviet military interventions, such as the invasion of Hungary in 1956.

In practice, the policy meant that only limited independence of the satellite states’ communist parties was allowed and that no country would be allowed to compromise the cohesiveness of the Eastern Bloc in any way. That is, no country could leave the Warsaw Pact or disturb a ruling communist party’s monopoly on power. Implicit in this doctrine was that the leadership of the Soviet Union reserved, for itself, the power to define “socialism” and “capitalism”.

The principles of the doctrine were so broad that the Soviets even used it to justify their military intervention in the non-Warsaw Pact nation of Afghanistan in 1979.

Developed Socialism
The concept of developed (“mature,” or “real”) socialism emerged in the offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the late 1960s, soon after the establishment of Leonid Brezhnev’s regime, which reacted to the public ideology of Nikita Khrushchev’s regime.

instead of waiting for the future, would proclaim that Soviet life could be enjoyed right now. This was the message of developed socialism, which commanded great fanfare in the early 1970s. The leadership’s appeal to the masses to be “satisfied”

The authors of the concept described the current Soviet society as having already accomplished many of the goals of socialism in the first stage of communism.

Most postulates of the concept had few links to reality. The pathetic statements about the technological revolution in the Soviet economy looked absurd against the backdrop of the growing economic gap between the Soviet and Western economies, particularly in the production of civil goods

Transformational Leadership
a style of leadership where a leader works with subordinates to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.

connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to a project and to the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for followers in order to inspire them and to raise their interest in the project; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work

ne of the most famous pseudotransformational leaders in the world was Joseph Stalin. Stalin was the dictator of the USSR from 1929 to 1953 and although he transformed the Soviet Union from a peasant country into a military and industrial superpower, he used force and terror to achieve this

The “Second Russian Republic”
The Russian Presidency: Society and Politics in the Second Russian Republic

First Russian Republic 1991-1993

Second Russian Republic with the election of the president?

Why has Russian democracy apparently survived and even strengthened under a presidential system, when so many other presidential regimes have decayed into authoritarian rule? And what are the origins of presidential power in modern Russia? Thomas M. Nichols argues that the answer lies in the relationship between political institutions and trust: where society, and consequently politics, is fractious and divided, structural safeguards inherent in presidentialism actually serve to strengthen democratic behavior. The Russian presidency is not the cause of social turmoil in Russia, but rather a successful response to it. This book’s emphasis on the social origins of Russian politics explains not only the unexpected survival of Russian democracy, but encourages a reconsideration of the relationship between institutions, social conditions, and democracy.

The Oligarchs
labels wealthy businessmen of the former Soviet republics who rapidly accumulated wealth during the era of Russian privatization in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. The failing Soviet state left the ownership of state assets contested, which allowed for informal deals with former USSR officials as a means to acquire state property.

“Gerontocracy”
A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population.

In the Soviet Union, gerontocracy became increasingly entrenched starting in the 1970s, at least until March 1985, when a more dynamic and younger, ambitious leadership headed by Mikhail Gorbachev took power.[4] Leonid Brezhnev, its foremost representative

In 1980, the average Politburo member was 70 years old (as opposed to 55 in 1952 and 61 in 1964), and by 1982, Brezhnev’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko, his Minister of Defense Dmitriy Ustinov and his Premier Nikolai Tikhonov were all in their mid-to-late seventies.[7] Yuri Andropov, Brezhnev’s 68-year-old successor, was seriously ill with kidney disease when he took over,[8] and after his death fifteen months later, he was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko, then 72, who lasted thirteen months before his death and replacement with Gorbachev.

Costakis
1913-1990

Born in Moscow to affluent Greek parents

a collector of Russian art whose collection became the most representative body of Modern Russian avant-garde art anywhere

Norton D. Dodge
1927-2011

s an American economist who amassed one of the largest collections of Soviet-era art outside the Soviet Union.

A Sovietologist who did pioneering work on the role of women under Joseph Stalin, Dodge smuggled into the West the works of dissident artists, painters and sculptors in the former Soviet Union. He continued to acquire art and meet clandestinely with artists, often at great personal risk, till the death of dissident artist Evgeny Rukhin and the coming of perestroika. He managed to smuggle nearly 10,000 works of art from the USSR to the United States during the height of the Cold War. Dodge’s role in the preservation and patronage of art disallowed by the government led to Elena Kornetchuk calling him “the Lorenzo de’ Medici of Russian art.”

Ben Judah
1988-present

British French journalist

Judah was born in London.[1] He spent his childhood in Romania and Yugoslavia

udah began his career in Russia as a reporter for Reuters in Moscow, travelling widely in Russia and the former Soviet Union.[4] As a conflict reporter he covered the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the 2010 Kyrgyz Revolution and the 2011 Tunisian Revolution.[5][6][7] Since 2008 he has been a regular contributor to Standpoint (magazine) reporting extensively from the Caucasus, Siberia, Central Asia and Xinjiang

In 2010 he joined the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, as a Policy Fellow researching Vladimir Putin and Russian politics

His first book Fragile Empire (2013), a study of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, was published by Yale University Press.

James Graham Wilson
Historian at the Department of State.

Book: The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson paints a vivid portrait of how leaders made choices; some made poor choices while others reacted prudently, imaginatively, and courageously to events they did not foresee. A book about the burdens of responsibility, the obstacles of domestic politics, and the human qualities of leadership,

Malte Rolf
a German historian who deals with the history of Central and Eastern Europe

His research interests include the recent history of Poland , the Soviet – Polish relations before and during the existence of the Soviet Union , mass celebrations and exhilaration in (Eastern European) dictatorships as well as utopias of various types in the former Soviet republics

Sots Art
Soviet Pop Art”, Sots Art (short for Socialist Art)

originated in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s as a reaction against the official aesthetic doctrine of the state—”Socialist Realism”.

Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, inventors of the term “Sots Art”, worked in advertising and were frequently employed to use Socialist Realist aesthetics in their ads and brochures.

Komar and Melamid continued tweaking well-known Soviet symbols and icons, often replacing Vladimir Lenin and Stalin’s portraits with their own, and signing famous Soviet slogans and catch-phrases with their own autographs.

Sochi
a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the Black Sea

Sochi was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favorite dacha built in the city.

Sochi emerged as the unofficial summer capital of the country.

TMORA
a museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota that houses a collection of Russian art from the 20th century, especially Soviet art.

It commenced exhibition activities open to the public in 2002,

In 2005, TMORA acquired and thoroughly remodeled the former Mayflower Church in south Minneapolis, a 75-year-old building

TMORA has established international lending relationships with numerous Russian national and regional museums including the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), State Museum of Yaroslaval (Yaroslaval); TMORA regularly hosts delegations of visiting Russian museum professionals from throughout Russia who are attracted by its status as the only museum in North America dedicated solely to the exhibition of diversified subjects of Russian artistry.

Article VI (Soviet Constitution)
Article 6 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution placed limitations on the political rights of Soviet citizens. While the rest of the constitution theoretically assured the public freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of press these rights were rendered less meaningful by the reservation of article 6 that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the “leading and guiding force of the Soviet society”.

This provision was used to justify the banning of opposition parties, as well as harsh measures against opposition of any sort.

The “leading role” of the CPSU was first enshrined in Article 126 of the Stalin Constitution, which described the Party as “the vanguard of the working people”

The Bloc that Failed

Vladimir Kriuchkov
1924-2007

a Soviet lawyer, diplomat and head of the KGB, member of the Politburo

During his years in the foreign service, he met Yuri Andropov, who became his main patron. From 1974 until 1988, Kryuchkov headed the foreign intelligence branch of the KGB,

From 1988 until 1991, Kryuchkov served as the 7th Chairman of the KGB

He was the leader of the abortive August coup

“Vremia”

Voprosy istorii
a Russian academic journal for historical studies. It is published monthly by the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

PUblished under different names since 1926

The Yawning Heights
1976

the first published novel by Soviet philosopher Alexander Zinoviev. Zinoviev expressed skepticism and frustration toward writings that attempted to expose and reveal the evils of Soviet communism. Zinoviev chose, instead, to satirize and ridicule Soviet society in Yawning Heights, presented as the city / nation of Ibansk. The novel has been compared to the writings of Jonathan Swift, Lewis Carroll and others.

The title of the book is a pun on a cliche of Soviet ideological propaganda, describing communism as the “Shining heights”. The words “yawning” and “shining” in Russian are identical, except for the first letter: a Z in the case of “yawning”, and an S in the case of “shining”.

The “yawning” in the generally accepted translation of the Russian title does not refer to a “yawn” but rather to its meaning as in “yawning abyss”. To capture the paradoxical nature of the Russian title, perhaps an apter translation would have been “abysmal heights”

Spanish Civil War
Though General Secretary Joseph Stalin had signed the Non-Intervention Agreement, the Soviet Union contravened the League of Nations embargo by providing material assistance to the Republican forces, becoming their only source of major weapons.

The Republicans, who were loyal to the democratic, left-leaning and relatively urban Second Spanish Republic, in an alliance of convenience with the Anarchists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist, Carlist, and largely aristocratic conservative group led by General Francisco Franco. Although the war is often portrayed as a struggle between democracy and fascism, some historians consider it more accurately described as a struggle between leftist revolution and rightist counter-revolution.

Tie to the hope for international revolutions

Russian Parliament
Representative body in the Constituent Assembly established in 1917, done away with by Bolsheviks in 1918

The 616-member parliament, termed the Federal Assembly, consists of two houses, the 450-member State Duma (the lower house) and the 166-member Federation Council (the upper house). Russia’s legislative body was established by the constitution approved in the December 1993 referendum.

siloviki
a Russian word for politicians from the security or military services, often the officers of the former KGB, GRU, FSB, SVR, the Federal Drug Control or other security services who came into power.

Means “strong men”

Putin is an example

derzhava
a Russian populist, nationalist party founded by Alexander Rutskoy. It was originally created as a faction in the State Duma in the summer of 1994 by six members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.