When was Abortion in Russia legalized?
1920, abortion under medical supervision allowed. Soviet state became first country to legalise abortion
When was the Divorce Law decreed? And What was it?
1917. Either partner could terminate marriage. If one partner not present at divorce hearing, he or she was notified of the divorce by postcard.
In 1917, what other legal benefits were passed and by which organisation?
- People’s Commissar for Social Welfare passed laws which:
- Guaranteed paid maternity leave for two months before and after birth;
- Allowed nursing mothers to work shorter hours and take time off to breastfeed;
- Excused women from heavy work or night work;
- Set up commission for the protection of mothers and infants, which made plans for maternity clinics, milk points and nurseries.
How did B. Williams describe the developments for women in Russia?
- “It was a macho world for all the talk of equality…The high-status proletarian was male, a metal worker or a blacksmith”
- “we carried out the resolution on marriage in such a manner that…The woman remains tied with chains to the destroyed family hearth.”
Which year did USSR have the highest marriage and divorce rate? What was the divorce rate compared to britain.
1919. Divorce rate 25x higher than Britain
What evidence was there that the divorce law didn't benefit women?
There were reports of young men registering more than 15 short-lived marriages. One survey at the end of 20s indicated that 70% divorces initiated by men and only 7% by mutual consent.
1927, How many marriages ended up in divorce in Moscow? In the entire country?
two-thirds of marriages in Moscow. Half for the nation
In the 20s, how many orphans was there estimated to be?
7-9 million orphans
When did the government add up the cost for state provision of facilities to free women? How much did it add up to?
In 1922, idea of state provision for crèches, kitchens and laundries was costed, it added up to more than the entire national budget.
What percentage of proletarian men used prostitutes in the 20s
How much did party membership for women grow between 1917-28?
1917, women formed 10% of party membership. 1928, 12.8% (156,000 women) were part of party.
What percentage of voting delegates were women? When was this?
At the party congress in 1918, only 5% of voting delegates were women and this percentage went down.
According to B. Williams, quote a women's complaint on her husband's restriction to her contribution in politics.
“he forbids me to attend because he is afraid I will become a real person – what he needs is a cook and mistress wife – in those very meetings where I have to slip in secretly, he…calls women to a more active role”
According to J.McDermid and A. Hillyer, "“when Kollontai and the women arrived, they found a sign on the door which read:..."
“when Kollontai and the women arrived, they found a sign on the door which read: ‘The meeting for women only has been cancelled; tomorrow there will be a meeting for men only’”
What was the women's department called and when was it set up? When was it abolished?
1919, party set up a women’s department, Zhenotdel, to make women active defenders of revolution through propaganda and agitation. It was abolished suddenly in 1930 on the grounds that it was no longer necessary.
State the views of Alexandra Kollontai on women.
- (1) family life in collectives, women didn't possess children, so they had no burden
- (2)focus on waged work. A woman's right in society should ‘always follow from her role in the economy and in production’
- (3) marriage based on love
Kollontai was associated with the corruption of Soviet youth rather than the liberation of Soviet women.Only one experimental commune survived until end of 20s. How many members and men did it have?
168 members, 16 men.
To what extent was 'the family' values affected in Russia?
Soviet law emphasized mutual responsibility of family members for financial welfare as the state lacked resources to provide social welfare. There was an increase in promiscuity, but surveys in 20s suggest the increase wasn’t as great as young men claimed. Majority held to traditional attitudes towards relationships, many dreamed of long-lasting love relationships. And such changes occurred in the cities, the majority in the countryside remained unaffected by the concept of the new woman and freer sexual relations.
What was Lenin's view on Kollontai's view on sex and casual relationships?
Lenin thought that Kollontai’s views on sex were unMarxist and anti-social: “will the normal man…drink…out of a glass with a rim greasy from many lips?”
M. Hindus, an American academic, went back to village in Russia 1926, what did he state that proved that the 'new woman' wasn't very influential?
“Girls were as strict as ever their mothers and grandmothers had been”
What was the ministry of education and culture called? When was it established? And who headed it?
Following October Revolution, Bolshevik government set up Commissariat of Popular Enlightenment (Ministry of education and culture) headed by Anatoly Lunacharsky.
Whose idea was the Proletkult? And what was it?
Proletkult was the idea of Alexander Bogdanov, Lunacharsky’s brother in law. He set up studios, poetry circles, folk theatres and exhibitions so workers could make proletarian art.
How many Proletkult members and active members were there in 1920?
By 1920, there were 400,000 Proletkult members, including 80,000 active in studios and clubs.
Lunacharsky believed the Proletkult should be independent of political control. What was Lenin's response?
It seemed to be developing as an independent working class organization. Lenin had its regional and central offices shut down during 1921-2.
Lenin didn’t believe you could invent new proletarian culture, rather you should develop best models and traditions from existing culture from Marxist outlook.
Describe the style of artist Kasimar Malevich. What happened to him?
He believed in geometric forms over realism and created Suprematism. He was regarded with suspicion and arrested in 1930.
Give the artist name, name of the piece. And describe it.
Lissitsky’s poster “Beat the whites with the Red Wedge” expresses a political idea clearly and simply through geometric shapes.
- was a young poet, playwright and artist. He naturally welcomed the revolution as a Futurist.
- His play “The Mystery Bouffe” was a parody of the Biblical flood in which the unclean (proletariat) triumph over the Bourgeosie. His Satires ‘The Bedbug’ and ‘The Bath House’ attacked the smugness of petty leaders which exposed Communist bureaucracy, both plays were soon withdrawn.
- By 1930, he was disillustioned with Communists; emotionally volatile, unhappy in love and denied a visa to go abroad, he committed suicide in 1930.
- 1935, when Mayakovsky was safely dead, Stalin proclaimed him ‘the best and most gifted poet of our Soviet epoch’. Study of his work became compulsory in schools but his satires weren’t mentioned nor his interest in Futurism nor his suicide.
Lenin attacked all modern art as Futurism. He had no time for individual self-expression which he called
‘bourgeois anarchist individualism’.
How did Lenin respond to Futurist Mayakovsky's poem '150 million'?
‘rubbish, double-eyes stupidity and pretentiousness’
In the early stages of Communist Art- the Avant-garde movement. There was the Futurist and the Constructivist; name some artists and describe the art genre.
- Futurists like Mayakovsky and Malevich were fascinated by machines, and modern technology.
- Constructivists like Rodchenko, Tatlin and Lissitsky based art on worker and industrial technolohy, geometrical shapes.
What were agit-prop trains? When were they first used?
By summer of 1918, agit-prop trains in action and equipped to spread political propaganda through films, plays and other media.
What was the Proletkino? When was it established?When did the Politburo decide not to intervene in arts(temporarily)?
Early 20s, the Proletkino formed for production of political films in line with party ideology. 1925, Politburo’s decision not to intervene in form and style of arts allowed creativity for a short period.
In 1928, how many cinema tickets were sold?
Number of cinemas grew fast and 300m tickets sold in 1928, but cinemas mostly restricted to towns.
Who was one of the greatest film makers of the 20s period? Name one of his greatest film.
Eisenstein, he showed power of working together in his film of the Bolshevik revolution, October. However, Soviet audiences preferred Hollywood comedies to his sophisticated work.
What does B. Williams say about Lenin's view on cinema?
“Cinema was, in theory, the ideal medium of propaganda, visual, technological, controllable…He[Lenin] recommended concentration of documentary film and newsreels, the making of short agitki on scientific topics and encouraged the use of cinemas on agit-trains.”
When was control on films tightened?
1928, first All-Union party Congress on Film Questions met and tighter control imposed. It ruled that films should be accessible to mass audience and emphasized socialist ideas along strict party lines.
- Best known soviet film director. His first film was Strike in 1924 with resistant workers who were oppressed. His radical new filming techniques built tension and produce dramatic climax. This is in “Battleship Potemkin” (1925) and contributed to international success. October, too, was more dramatic than reality.
- Film was criticized by party leadership. The first All-Union Party Congress on Film Questions ruled that Socialist Realism was the only acceptable style. 1929, his film on collectivization was excessively re-edited on Stalin’s orders and re-titled ‘the Old and the new’.
- Eisenstein was attacked during the Cultural revolution of 1928-31 and fell out of favour.
In 1919, what did the Party Programme define schools as?
‘an instrument for the Communist transformation of society.’
What were the western teaching ideas imposed on education?
John Dewey which stressed ‘learning by doing’Authority of teachers reduced and were designated as ‘school workers’; forbidden to discipline pupils or set homework and examinations. Some radicals wanted to do away with school.
What percentage of teachers were communist?
Most teachers weren’t Communist (3.1% in primary schools, 5.5% in secondary schools)
When was liberal teaching abandoned?
introduction of NEP in 1921.
With introduction of NEP, liberal teaching was abandoned. Financial pressures meant that universal schooling had to be abandoned. What was the difference in the number of pupils from 1921-3?
1923, numbers of schools and pupils barely half the totals of 2 years earlier.
How did Education Suffer during the NEP? How much was a teacher paid?
- Schools didn’t have proper resources and teachers paid badly. There was a legacy of falling standards and failure of authority in many schools.
- 1925, a teacher received a fraction of an industrial worker’s pay.
But survey in 1927 of schoolchildren 11-15 showed they became increasingly negative towards Communist values as they grew older. What percentage of school children still believed in god?
nearly 50% still believed in god.
What was the illiteracy rate before the revolution?
- Before revolution, illiteracy rate was 65%.
- So Bolsheviks had visual propaganda.
The Bolsheviks promoted literacy so all citizens could be exposed to propaganda and taught modern industrial skills. How and when did they attempt to eliminate illiteracy?
Dec 1919, the ‘liquidation of illiteracy’ was decreed for all citizens aged 8-50. Illiterates who refused to learn faced criminal prosecution. Tens of thousands of ‘liquidation points’ set up in cities and villages from 1920-6.
How many people went through literacy courses in 1920-6?
5m people in European Russia
What were the two youth organisations set up?
the Pioneers for children under 15 and the Komsomol for those from 14-20s
What did Lenin state that indicated his opposition and need to eliminate religion?
“Electricity will take the place of God.”
What and when was the Decree on the Separation of Church and State?
- Jan 1918, Decree on the Separation of church and state.
- It declared that Church couldn’t own property. Priests and clerics were declared ‘servants of the bourgeoisie’, this meant they weren’t allowed to vote and didn’t receive ration cards.
- Patriarch Tikhon, head of the Orthodox Church, denounced Bolsheviks and called upon resistance by all spiritual means.
What was the propaganda onslaught against called? And when was it established?
1921, union of the militant godless
When was the Anti-Church Campaign? What happened?
Lenin used famine of 1921-2 to demand the Church to surrender its valuables for famine relief. Instructions went to local soviets to seize valuables. There was bitter resistance.
In the Anti-Church campaign of 1922, unarmed civilians fought equipped soldiers and machine guns. How many deaths were there (priests and bishops)?
More than 8000 people killed; 28 bishops, 1215 priests.
With the accusations of religion, at the same time, Communism was promoted as the new ‘religion’. Public and private religious rituals were Bolshevised, name some examples.
- Christmas and Easter became Komsomol Christmas and Easter.
- Instead of baptisms, children were “Octobered” with new names such as Revolyutsiya and Ninel (Lenin spelt backwards).
- Red weddings conducted in front of Lenin’s portrait rather than an altar.
What was the 'Living Church' movement?
- campaign to split Church from within, backed by OGPU (replaced Cheka) hailed the revolution of October 1917 as a “Christian deed” and denied that the Communists persecuted the Church. The soviet government was declared to be alone in the world striving to realize ‘the ideal of the Kingdom of God’.
- Tikhon gave in frightened that Church would be split permanently. Orthodox church leadership gave no more trouble to communists.
According to surveys of peasants, how many were still active Christians in the mid 20s?
55%. They continued to support priests with donations and carried out old religious practices.
When was the Komsomol (Young Communist league) set up? How many members were there in 1927?
- 1918. 2m members in 1927.
- Members were 14-28 years old.
When was the Russian Cultural Revolution?
The Komsomol were ‘soldiers of production’ in the industrial drive in 1929-35. They Imposed labour discipline, leading and joining shock brigades. And they enforced collectivization and collected state procurements of grain etc. What did one of the first directors of the Magnitogorsk site describe them as?
‘the most reliable and powerful organizing force of the construction’.
Name a Soviet Slogan used for the Komsomols during the cultural Revolution
Soviet slogan: The future belongs to the Komsomols
A Komsomol activist interviewed after the war is quoted by S. Fitzpatrick. What did they view in their contribution to the cultural revolution?
“I saw that the older generation, worn out after years of the war…were no longer in a position to withstand difficulties involved in the construction of socialism.”
When was the Russian Civil War?
In the cultural revolution, what percentage of churches were closed by 1930? And what ratio was functioning by the end of the 30s?
80% Churches closed by 1930. 1 in 40 churhces were still functioning by the end of the 30s.
In the Cultural Revolution, how did the number of orthodox priests decline from the 20s-1941?
Number of active orthodox priests fell from 60,000 in the 20s to only 5665 by 1941.
How many bishops were still active in 1930, after the cultural revolution, compared to before? To what extent were priests, mullahs and rabbis killed?
- 1939, only 12 out of 168 bishops active in 1930 were still at liberty.
- More priests, mullahs and rabbis killed than during Civil war.
How did education change under the cultural revolution? Who was behind this ideology?
- Shulgin, a radical who headed education research institute put forward theory of ‘the withering away of the school’. He favoured project method where education focused on ‘socially useful work’.
- Shulgin believed schools should be directly linked to factories. This could lead to narrow education: at one school all children in upper years trained to be ‘poultry breeding technicians’ and in central Asia children aged 11-13 exploited as cotton pickers for weeks on end. But factory managers not happy about having untrained and undisciplined children getting in the way of production targets.
Quote something from Shulgin (quoted by S. Fitzpatrick) that shows his resentment to schools and teacher authority.
“the old dying order; the old type of relationship between adults and children…It must be driven out of the school, driven out”
The 'bourgeois specialists' were replaced by 'red specialists'. How did they create 'red specialists'?
According to Sheila Fitzpatrick, during the First Five Year Plan, how many began technical and political courses?
- the central committee ordered to send 1000 party members to technical colleges to study for higher degrees.
- 150,000 workers and communists, nearly a quarter of all students in higher education.
Give examples of some of the realist painters that were attacked in the Cultural Revolution.
Aleksandr Gersimov and Isaak Brodsky
In the Cultural Revolution, art was affected. What did the Major artists association change its name to in 1928? and then in 1931?
- Before 1928 - Major artists association 1928 - Association of Artists of the Revolution'
- 1931 - Russian Association of Proletarian Artists
Which writer was unable to write for a year after witnessing horrors of collectivisation, during cultural revolution.
What was the radical left wing organisation which became dominating force in literature during Cultural revolution?
RAPP (Russian Association of proletarian Writers)
What was the “First Writers Brigade in the Urals”?
An artistic brigade organized by the RAPP which sang the praises of industrialization and collectivization.
Who wrote the Article "We have no Soviet Cinema" and when?
What was the article about? (Quote from R. Taylor)
- Pavel Bytor wrote ‘We have no Soviet cinema’ in April 1929.
- Film-makers were accused for being unable to raise the cultural level of the masses. ‘Every film must be useful, intelligible and familiar to the millions – otherwise neither it nor the artist who made it are worth twopence’ (quoted by R. Taylor in 1988)
When was the new Family Code as a result of the Great Retreat?
What codes did it enforce?
- May 1936
- Abortion outlawed except when there was a threat to the woman’s life and health, and for women with hereditary diseases
- Divorce made harder. Both parties required to attend divorce proceedings and fee for registering divorce raised to 50 roubles for the first, 150 for the second and 300 for subsequent divorces
- Child support payments fixed at a quarter of wages or salary for one child, a third for two, and 50-60% for three or more children
- Mothers with six children received cash payments of 2000 roubles a year – for five years, with additional payments for each child up to the eleventh.
As a result of abortion rights, by the early 30s, how many abortions were there in a year?
1.5 million abortions a year
According to S.Davies' statistics, as a result of abortion laws, in Leningrad, how much did births decrease from 1930-4?
And how much did abortions increase?
- births decreased from 2.1% in 1930 to 1.6% in 1934. (-0.5%)
- Abortions increased from 3.4% in 1930 to 4.2% in 1934. (+0.8%)
After the Family code in 1936, how much did birth rates increase from 1935-40?
Birth rate rose from under 2.5% of population in 1935 to almost 3.1% in 1940.
Quote the American Socialogist, Nicholas Timasheff's claim that the divorce laws had a negative effect on women.
‘Millions of girls saw their lives ruined by Don Juans in Communist garb, and millions of children had never known parental homes’.
Juvenile crime increased as a result of lack of parentalhood in the early 30s. What was the Politburo decree made as a result, and when?
April 1935 made violent crimes committed by juveniles aged from 12 punishable in the same way as adults, though archives show no examples of actual executions.
What was the law on the ‘liquidation of child homelessness and lack of supervision’ in the mid 30s?
NKVD attempt to get children off the streets and into institutions. Parents could be fined for hooliganism of their children and risked having them placed in orphanages where parents had to pay for their maintenance.
What was the significance of Pavlik according to Helene Carrere?
‘Pavlik was simply turning towards the group[soviet community] of which he was fundamentally a member. With the years…it was towards the Father of the group that he turned, towards Stalin. ’
When was the decree that abolished all proletarian artistic and literary organizations and ordered all artists to come together in a single union?
decree of April 1932
Give two examples of Socialist Realist Art. Hint: Name these and the artist
Vera Mukhina’s famous sculpture ‘Industrial worker and collective farm girl’ ‘A Collective Farm Feast’ painting by Alesandr Gerasimov, 1937
When did Socialist Realism originate?
The term appears in 1932. 1934, the newly founded Union of Writers proclaimed Socialist Realism to be the ‘definitive Soviet artistic method’.
Isaak Brodsky was an artist favoured by Stalin. Describe him further.
- He said: “A painting must be living and comprehensible. I have remembered these words of Comrade Stalin for ever.”
- 1934, director of All Russian Academy of Arts and became the first artist to be awarded the Order of Lenin.
- He had no great reputation outside the USSR, but died honoured by the Soviet state.
After cultural revolution, Content of pictures more tightly controlled. Artists given detailed guidelines when commissioned to produce specific works on a given subject. How does I.Golomstock describe this era of art?
I. Golomstock states “To judge from art alone Soviet man passed his entire existence in the factories, on the fields of collective farms, at party meetings and demonstrations…”
After Cultural Revolution, music was to be ‘songs in praise of the happy life of onward-marching Soviet Man’. But an artist composed an opera which was criticized by the Pravda. He never composed another opera. Who was the artist and what was the name of the opera?
Shostakovich’s opera ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtensk’
When was the RAPP abolished after the cultural revolution, for being too narrow?
What was it replaced by? Who headed it?
- Mid 1932
- Soviet Union of Writers. Maxim Gorky
Which great writers practiced the 'genre of silence' and gave up serious writing during Stalin's reign?
Isaac Babel, Boris Pasternak and the poet Anna Akhmatova (whose work was banned in 20s, she continued after Stalin’s death)
What did Robert Service say about socialist Realist literature?
‘No great work of literature was published in the 1930s and all artistic figures went in fear of their lives’.
- reknown before 1917, a democratic socialist who criticized Bolsheviks. He left the country in 1921.
- But Stalin was desperately anxious for Gorky to return so he could demonstrate that the most celebrated living Russian author was an admirer of the system. Gorky returned and became a citizen in 1931. 1934, he was made the first president of the Soviet Writer’s Union, he was flattered – even the main street of Moscow was renamed after him, also his birthplace – but he was never to leave the Soviet Union again.
- By the end of his life, he regarded himself as under house arrest. Yagoda, head of the NKVD in 1936, confessed to having ordered Gorky’s death.
In the era of Socialist Realism, what was the Committee for Films called?
State committee for Cinematography
In 1931, after the cultural revolution, the project method education was criticised by the Central Committee as...?
“does not give a sufficient amount of general knowledge…for entrance to the technicums and higher schools”.
After the Cultural revolution in 1931, conventional education returned. Physics, Chemistry and Math, in particular had to be...?
‘must be based on strictly delineated and carefully worked out programmes and study plans’.
According to R.C. Tucker, what did Meyerhold say about films after the cultural revolution?
“look at the colourless, boring productions…In your efforts to eradicate formalism, you have destroyed art!”
History was banned after the cultural revolution. When was it restored?
Non-Marxist history who was captured in Cultural Revolution for glorifying Monarchy through Peter the great and Ivan the Terrible. He was restored to his university chair in Moscow in May 1934
What was one such example of 'the new man' in Literature?
Nikolai Ostrovsky's hero in "how the steel was tempered" - Pavel Korchargin
Film was easily the most popular form of Entertainment. How many seats were sold a year at the magnitogorsk Cinema?
600,000 seats a year
How many people held library cards in Magnitogorsk?
Which was the most frequently borrowed book in the magnitogorsk libraries?
How the steel was tempered - by Nikolai Ostrovsky
How many books were sold in Magnitogorsk (state when)?
40,000 books in Jan 1936
How many inhabitants were in Magnitogorsk?
150,000 in 1939, with none in 1929
How many agitators were employed to discuss political issues, present domestic and international events at Magnitogorsk?
214 in 1936
What did S.Kotkin say about censorship in Magnitogorsk?
Censors were quintessential ‘social engineers’, with the media serving as their instruments – or weapons
List five failures of Magnitogorsk
- preferences in entertainment
- limited success in Behaviour campaigns
- opposition to stakhanovites
- leverage that workers had
What was social dislocation in the First Five Year plan?
10m peasants moved to the towns.
How successful was technical education granted by the cultural revolution?
- 1939, a working class/peasant governing elite was achieved.
- e.g. Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Kosygin
According to John Barber, what fraction of the workers enthusiastically supported the regime?
- one-fifth of workers
- This left the great mass of workers who just accepted the regime for its social welfare policies.
What did Sheila Fitzpatrick comment on the unpopularity of Stalin?
‘a degree of skepticism, even a refusal to take the regime’s most serious pronouncements fully seriously, was the norm’.