A. Lengyel

Behind the Iron Curtain: Western Music and the Soviet Collapse

The rise of Mikhail Gorbachev to General Secretary of the Soviet Union ushered in a time of general reform in Soviet Russia.  This reform was not out of want, but rather out of necessity.  The volatility of the international oil and natural gas markets, along with the ups and downs of the ever-struggling agricultural sector, […]

Khrushchev the Critic: Soviet Art Under the Khrushchev Regime.

Ever since the First Congress of Soviet Writers convened in 1934 and conformed to the censorship laid down by the Party Central Committee, Soviet artists mostly conformed to the style of socialist realism that was required by law (von Geldern).  Over the years, this mandated artistic style had become outmoded and boring.  Artists of the […]

Khrushchev and the Twentieth Party Congress

The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 proved to be a pivotal time for the Soviet Union.  The loss of a leader who had wielded so much executive and coercive power over the previous three decades, and whose “cult of personality” had made him a hero and a legend in the eyes of the common […]

Russia’s “Reign of Terror”: The Great Purges of 1936-38

  The great purges of 1936 through 1938 mark one of the darkest times in Soviet history.  What originated as simple rumors of counter-revolutionary factions in government turned into a society-wide purge of whoever was labelled as a dissident.  Reminiscent of the “reign of terror” during the French Revolution, this period was one of mistrust, […]

Its a Party!: The Bolshevik Consolidation of Power 1917-1924

A huge power-vacuum was created following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917.  After the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, who had ruled the Russian empire for over 300 years, it was unclear who would come to the forefront of Russian politics and how the Empire would be governed.  Numerous factions within Russian(…)

Changing of the Guard: World War 1 and the Soviet Revolutions

It is undeniable that there were many contributing factors to the Russian revolutions of February and October 1917.  Social unrest and political impotence certainly were the downfall of the Romanov dynasty and the Russian autocracy, however the catalyst for the Revolutions of 1917 was most-definitely the First World War. In order to understand the revolutions(…)

Welcome to the “Party”: Marxism and Leninism in Late-Imperial Russia

Following the publication of, “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, the Marxist ideology took root nearly every European state to some extent.  One of the consequences of this dispersion and diffusion of Marxism into European political thought was that the theory differed from region to region and from state to […]

Welcome to the “Party”: Marxism and Leninism in Late-Imperial Russia

Following the publication of, “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, the Marxist ideology took root nearly every European state to some extent.  One of the consequences of this dispersion and diffusion of Marxism into European political thought was that the theory differed from region to region and from state to(…)

The Half-Measured Emancipation

the picture above offers a glimpse into the lives of Russian peasants towards the end of the 19th century. The picture makes it clear that although the Russian serfs were emancipated in 1861, they remained second-class citizens for decades after. Most lived in poverty, obligated to pay special taxes and crippled by debt incurred for […]

The Half-Measured Emancipation

the picture above offers a glimpse into the lives of Russian peasants towards the end of the 19th century. The picture makes it clear that although the Russian serfs were emancipated in 1861, they remained second-class citizens for decades after. … Continue reading