Red Star

False Mourning

Joseph Stalin was, if nothing else, an opportunist, and that can be seen clearly in the tactics he used to come to power in the decade following Lenin’s death. A particularly strong example can be seen in 1934′s Kirov Affair, … Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Red Place

Opera censorship in 1936The cultural reformation in Soviet culture during 1936 caused controversy and contradictions, as the government castigated the creativity and innovation that it once supported. The primary victims of this artistic purge included poet Demyan Bedny and avant-garde composer Dmitri Shostakovitch, as their personal lives and creative work suffered because of the Soviets’ lack of…

Don’t Drink the Kool-aid, Comrade

Stalin’s Cult of Personality: By the end of the 1930s, the cultural war against bourgeouis culture was still in full flower. The Writers’ Congress in 1936 set a new style for literature. Although the Congress allowed professional writers to be … Continue reading

On the right track: The Moscow Metro

While Stalin called for a “passion for construction” in the First Five-Year Plan, he wanted a “passion for mastering technology” to come out of the Second Five-Year Plan. The construction of the Moscow Metro combined both of these passions, in … Continue reading

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, […]

Rozalina the Riveter: Women’s Roles in the Russian Revolution

Everyone For the War!

Russia really became an interesting place during March/February(who really cares you get the point) of 1917. For the first time in Russian history, the the common people were finally having their voice heard. Surprisingly, out of the woodwork the voice of the Russian women was heard the loudest. The women of Russia demanded to have […]

Russia’s Religion…or Lack Thereof

The Bolsheviks viewed religion as Marx did, as the “opiate of the masses.” When they rose to power in 1917, they wanted to free all citizens from this “drug.” Under the previous regime, Church and state were closely tied, and because … Continue reading

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(…)

Out with the Old: The Death of Aleksandr Blok

After the Bolsheviks had succeeded in taking control of Russia in a “dictatorship of the proletariat”, they still had a long way to go in achieving socialism. The next step was to change the culture of Russia.   Aleksandr Blok … Continue reading

Heavenly Father, We Want Gold

As the Bolsheviks rose to power after prevailing in the Russian Civil War, The new ruling class was quick to seek a way to dispose of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Bolsheviks were quite obsessive in “their feverish attempt to … Continue reading