Soviet of Nationalities
The Soviet of Nationalities was the upper chamber of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, elected on the basis of universal and direct suffrage by secret ballot in accordance with the principles of Soviet democracy. Until Glasnost and the 1989 elections, only candidates approved by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were permitted to participate in the elections, it was succeeded by the Soviet of the Republics from October to December of 1991. As opposed to the Soviet of the Union, the Soviet of Nationalities was composed of the nationalities of the Soviet Union, which in turn followed administrative division rather than being a representation of ethnic groups; the Soviet of the Nationalities was formed on the basis of equal representation of all the Republics of the Soviet Union, autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts, national districts. As a result, the largest republic, the Russian SFSR with a population of 147 million, the smallest republic, the Estonian SSR with a population of about 1.5 million, got 32 deputies each.
Russians as an ethnic group made up more than half of the population of the Soviet Union, but the Soviet of Nationalities did not represent ethnic groups, it represented the different nationalities as expressed by the republics and various autonomous units of the Soviet Union. This electoral system diminished representation of larger ethnic groups in favor of the smaller ethnic groups of the Soviet Union, with the Russians being most underrepresented; the Soviet of Nationalities enjoyed the same rights as the Soviet of the Union in the area of legislative initiative and in resolving other issues inside the competence of the Soviet Union. In practice, until 1989, it did little more than approve decisions made by the top leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. After the 1989 elections–the first, as it turned out, free elections held in the Soviet Union–the Soviet of Nationalities acquired a much greater role, was the scene of many lively debates; the Soviet of Nationalities elected a chairman, his four deputies, permanent commissions: Mandate Commission, Commission on Legislative Suppositions, Budget Planning Commission, Foreign Affairs Commission, Youth Affairs Commission, Industry Commission and Communications Commission and Industry of Building Materials Commission, Agricultural Commission, Consumer Goods Commission, Public Education Commission and Culture Commission, Trade Commission, Consumer Service and Municipal Economy Commission, Environmental Commission.
The presidium of the Soviet of Nationalities "ceased all noticeable work at the end of 1937," but it did "survive as the sole central political institution formally devoted to the nationalities question."On December 26, 1991, the Soviet of the Republics adopted a resolution declaring that the Soviet Union no longer existed as a functioning state and voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. The Soviet of the Union had been dissolved two weeks earlier when Russia recalled its deputies, leaving it without a quorum; the Soviet of the Republics' declaration was thus the final legal step in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities Korenizatsiya Soviet of Nationalities of the Russian SFSR 1977 Soviet Constitution 1936 Soviet Constitution
Era of Stagnation
The Era of Stagnation was the period in the history of the Soviet Union which began during the rule of Leonid Brezhnev and continued under Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. The term "Era of Stagnation" was coined by Mikhail Gorbachev in order to describe the negative way in which he viewed the economic and social policies of the period. During the period of Brezhnev's leadership, the term "Era of Stagnation" was not used. Instead Brezhnev used the term "period of developed socialism" for the period which started in 1971; this term stemmed from Khrushchev's promise in 1961 of reaching communism in 20 years. It was in the 1980s that the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev coined the term "Era of Stagnation" to describe the economic difficulties that developed when Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982. Scholars have subsequently disagreed on the dates and causes of the stagnation. Supporters of Gorbachev have criticised Brezhnev, the Brezhnev administration in general, for being too conservative and failing to change with the times.
Nikita Khrushchev, who preceded Brezhnev as Soviet leader, introduced liberal reforms during the period known as the Khrushchev Thaw. However, Khrushchev's involvement in the Manege Affair of 1962 marked the beginning of the end of the Cultural Thaw; the 1964–82 period in the Soviet Union began but devolved into disillusionment. Social stagnation began following Brezhnev's rise to power, when he revoked several of Khrushchev's reforms and rehabilitated Stalinist policies; some commentators regard the start of social stagnation as being the Sinyavsky–Daniel trial in 1966, which marked the end of the Khrushchev Thaw, while others place it at the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968. The period's political stagnation is associated with the establishment of gerontocracy, which came into being as part of the policy of stability; the majority of scholars set the starting year for economic stagnation at 1975, although some claim that it began as early as the 1960s. Industrial growth rates declined during the 1970s as heavy industry and the arms industry were prioritized while Soviet consumer goods were neglected.
The value of all consumer goods manufactured in 1972 in retail prices was about 118 billion rubles. Historians and specialists are uncertain what caused the stagnation, with some arguing that the command economy suffered from systemic flaws which inhibited growth. Others have argued that the lack of reform, or the high expenditures on the military, led to stagnation. Brezhnev has been criticised posthumously for doing too little to improve the economic situation. Throughout his rule, no major reforms were initiated and the few proposed reforms were either modest or opposed by the majority of the Soviet leadership; the reform-minded Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Alexei Kosygin, introduced two modest reforms in the 1970s after the failure of his more radical 1965 reform, attempted to reverse the trend of declining growth. By the 1970s, Brezhnev had consolidated enough power to stop any "radical" reform-minded attempts by Kosygin. After the death of Brezhnev in November 1982, Yuri Andropov succeeded him as Soviet leader.
Brezhnev's legacy was a Soviet Union, much less dynamic than it had been when he assumed power in 1964. During Andropov's short rule, modest reforms were introduced. Konstantin Chernenko, his successor, continued much of Andropov's policies; the economic problems that began under Brezhnev persisted into these short administrations and scholars still debate whether the reform policies that were followed improved the economic situation in the country. The Era of Stagnation ended with Gorbachev's rise to power during which political and social life was democratised though the economy was still stagnating. Under Gorbachev's leadership the Communist Party began efforts to accelerate development in 1985 through massive injections of finance into heavy industry; when these failed, the Communist Party restructured the Soviet economy and government by introducing quasi-capitalist and democratic reforms. These were intended to re-energize the Soviet Union but inadvertently led to its dissolution in 1991.
Robert Service, author of the History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-first Century, claims that with mounting economic problems worker discipline decreased, which the Government could not counter because of the full employment policy. According to Service, this policy led to government industries, such as factories and offices, being staffed by undisciplined and unproductive personnel leading to a "work-shy workforce" among Soviet workers and administrators. While the Soviet Union under Brezhnev had the "second greatest industrial capacity" after the United States, produced more "steel, pig-iron and tractors" than any other country in the world, Service treats the problems of agriculture during the Brezhnev era as proof of the need for decollectivization. In short, Service considers the Soviet economy to have become "static" during this time period, Brezhnev's policy of stability was a "recipe for political disaster". Richard Sakwa, author of the book The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917–1991, takes a dimmer view of the Brezhnev era by claiming that growth rates fell "inexorably" from the 1950s until they stopped in the 1980s.
His reasoning for this stagnation was the growing demand for unskilled workers resulted in a decline of productivity and labour discipl
1965 Soviet economic reform
The 1965 Soviet economic reform, sometimes called the Kosygin reform or Liberman reform, were a set of planned changes in the economy of the Soviet Union. A centerpiece of these changes was the introduction of profitability and sales as the two key indicators of enterprise success; some of an enterprise's profits would go to three funds, used to reward workers and expand operations. The reforms were introduced politically by Alexei Kosygin—who had just become Premier of the Soviet Union following the removal of Nikita Khrushchev—and ratified by the Central Committee in September 1965, they reflected some long-simmering wishes of the USSR's mathematically oriented economic planners, initiated the shift towards a more decentralized economic planning process. Under Lenin, the New Economic Policy had allowed and used the concepts of profit and incentives for regulation of the Soviet economy. Stalin transformed this policy with the collectivization of farms and nationalization of industry the acceleration of central planning—as exemplified by "Five-Year Plans".
Since about 1930, the Soviet Union had used a centralized system to manage its economy. In this system, a single bureaucracy created economic plans, which assigned workers to jobs, set wages, dictated resource allocation, established the levels of trade with other countries, planned the course of technological progress. Retail prices for consumer goods were fixed at levels intended to clear the market; the prices of wholesale goods were fixed but these served an accounting function more than a market mechanism. Collective farms paid centrally determined prices for the supplies they needed, unlike other sectors their workers received wages directly dependent on the profitability of the operation. Although Soviet enterprises were theoretically governed by the principle of khozraschet —which required them to meet planners' expectations within the system of set prices for their inputs and outputs—they had little control over the biggest decisions affecting their operations. Managers did have a responsibility to plan future gross output, which they chronically underestimated in order to exceed the prediction.
The managers received bonuses for surplus product regardless of whether it was produced in a cost-effective manner or whether their enterprise was profitable overall. The bonuses for output came in amounts sometimes equal to the managers' basic salaries; the system incentivized pointless increases in the size and cost of production outputs because'more' had been produced. The economic reforms emerged during a period of great ideological debate over economic planning. More mathematical, "cybernetic", viewpoints were at first considered deviant from orthodox Marxist economics, which considered the value of good to derive from labor; this doctrine, elaborated in such works as Stalin's 1952 book, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, described the price system as a capitalist relic which would disappear from communist society. Computerized economics gained an important role for top planners while conventional Marxist–Leninist political economy was taught in most schools and promoted for public consumption.
The rising influence of statistical planning in the Soviet economy was reflected in the creation of the Central Economic Mathematical Institute Центральный экономико-математический институт. Nemchinov, along with linear programming inventor Leonid Kantorovich and investment analyst Viktor Valentinovich Novozhilov, received the Lenin Prize in 1965; the battle between "optimal" planning and convention planning raged throughout the 1960s. Another tendency in economic planning emphasized "normative value of processing", or the importance of needs and wants in evaluating the value of production. Major changes throughout the Soviet world became possible in 1964 with the ousting of Nikita Khrushchev and the rise of Alexei Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev. Economic policy was a significant area of retrospective anti-Khrushchev criticism in the Soviet press. This'reformist' economic tendency in the Soviet Union had corollaries and some mutual reinforcement in Eastern Europe. Kosygin criticized the inefficiency and inertia of economic policy under the previous administration.
He presented a plan, including the ideas expressed by Liberman and Nemchinov, to the Communist Party Central Committee Plenum in September 1965. The Central Committee's acceptance of the reform plan represents an important milestone in the transition of these ideas from theory to action. According to official rationale for the reform, the increasing complexity of economic relations reduced the efficacy of economic planning and therefore reduced economic growth, it was recognized that the existing system of planning did not motivate enterprises to reach high targets or to introduce organizational or technical innovations. Given more freedom to deviate publicly from party orthodoxy, newspapers offered new proposals for the Soviet economy. Aircraft engineer O. Antonov published an article in Izvestia on November 22, 1961, with the title "For All and For Oneself"—advocating more power for enterprise directors. A widely-publicized economic rationale for reform came from Evsei Liberman of the Kharkiv Institute of Engineering and Economics.
An article by Liberman on this topic, titled "Plans and Bonuses" appeared in Pravda in September 1962. Liberman, influenced by the economic "optimizers", argued for the introduction of profitability as a core economic indicator. Liberman advanced the idea that the social interest could be advanced through careful setting of microeconomic parameters: "What is profitable for society should b
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was an office of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that by the late 1920s had evolved into the most powerful of the Central Committee's various secretaries. With a few exceptions, from 1929 until the union's dissolution the holder of the office was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union, because the post controlled both the CPSU and the Soviet government. Joseph Stalin elevated the office to overall command of the Communist Party and by extension the whole Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev renamed the post First Secretary in 1953; the office grew out of less powerful secretarial positions within the party: Technical Secretary, Chairman of the Secretariat, Responsible Secretary. In its first two incarnations the office performed secretarial work; the post of Responsible Secretary was established in 1919 to perform administrative work. In 1922, the office of General Secretary followed as a purely administrative and disciplinary position, whose role was to do no more than determine party membership composition.
Stalin, its first incumbent, used the principles of democratic centralism to transform his office into that of party leader, leader of the Soviet Union. In 1934, the 17th Party Congress refrained from formally re-electing Stalin as General Secretary. However, Stalin was re-elected into all other positions and remained leader of the party without diminishment. In the 1950s, Stalin withdrew from Secretariat business, leaving the supervision of the body to Georgy Malenkov to test him as a potential successor. In October 1952, at the 19th Party Congress, Stalin restructured the party's leadership, his request, voiced through Malenkov, to be relieved of his duties in the party secretariat due to his age, was rejected by the party congress, as delegates were unsure about Stalin's intentions. In the end, the congress formally abolished Stalin's office of General Secretary, though Stalin remained one of the party secretaries and maintained ultimate control of the Party; when Stalin died on 5 March 1953, Malenkov was the most important member of the Secretariat, which included Nikita Khrushchev, among others.
Under a short-lived troika of Malenkov and Molotov, Malenkov became Chairman of the Council of Ministers but was forced to resign from the Secretariat nine days on 14 March, leaving Khrushchev in effective control of the body. Khrushchev was elected to the new office of First Secretary at the Central Committee plenum on 14 September of the same year. Conceived as a collective leadership, Khrushchev removed his rivals from power in both 1955 and 1957 and reinforced the supremacy of the First Secretary. In 1964, opposition within the Politburo and the Central Committee led to Khrushchev's removal as First Secretary. Leonid Brezhnev succeeded Khrushchev to the post as part of another collective leadership, together with Premier Alexei Kosygin and others; the office was renamed General Secretary in 1966. The collective leadership was able to limit the powers of the General Secretary during the Brezhnev Era. Brezhnev's influence grew throughout the 1970s as he was able to retain support by avoiding any radical reforms.
Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko ruled the country in the same way. Mikhail Gorbachev ruled the Soviet Union as General Secretary until 1990, when the Communist Party lost its monopoly of power over the political system; the office of President of the Soviet Union was established so that Gorbachev still retained his role as leader of the Soviet Union. Following the failed August coup of 1991, Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary, he was succeeded by his deputy, Vladimir Ivashko, who only served for five days as Acting General Secretary before Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia, suspended all activity in the Communist Party. Following the party's ban, the Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union was established by Oleg Shenin in 1993; the UCP–CPSU works as a framework for reviving and restoring the CPSU. The organisation has members in all the former Soviet republics. General Secretary of the Communist Party General Secretary of the Communist Party of China General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
De-Stalinization consisted of a series of political reforms in the Soviet Union after the death of long-time leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, the ascension of Nikita Khrushchev to power. The reforms consisted of changing or removing key institutions that helped Stalin hold power: the cult of personality that surrounded him, the Stalinist political system, the Gulag labour-camp system, all of, created and dominated by him. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953, consisting of Georgi Malenkov, Premier of the Soviet Union; the term "de-Stalinization" is one which gained currency in both Russia and the Western world following the collapse of the Soviet Union, was never used during the Khrushchev era. However, de-Stalinization efforts were set forth at this time by Nikita Khrushchev and the Government of the Soviet Union under the guise of the "overcoming/exposure of the cult of personality", with a heavy criticism of Joseph Stalin's "era of the cult of personality".
However, prior to Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Congress, no direct association between Stalin as a person and "the cult of personality" was made by Khrushchev or others within the party, although archival documents show that strong criticism of Stalin and his ideology featured in private discussions by Khruschchev at the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. There were dangers in denouncing Stalin as he was placed on a pedestal both at home and among communists abroad. In the years 1953–1955, a period of "silent de-Stalinization" took place, as the revision of Stalin's policies was done in secret, with no explanation; this period saw a number of non-publicised political rehabilitations, the release of "Article 58ers". However, due to the huge influx of prisoners returning from the camps, this could not continue. In December 1955 Khrushchev proposed a commission to be set up in order to investigate Stalin's activities on behalf of the Presidium. De-Stalinization meant an end to the role of large-scale forced labour in the economy.
The process of freeing Gulag prisoners was started by Lavrentiy Beria. He was soon removed from power, arrested on 26 June 1953, executed on 24 December 1953. Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the most powerful Soviet politician. While de-Stalinization had been underway since Stalin's death, the watershed event was Khrushchev's speech entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", concerning Stalin. On 25 February 1956, he spoke to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, delivering an address laying out some of Stalin's crimes and the "conditions of insecurity and desperation" created by Stalin. Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin's dictatorial rule and his cult of personality as inconsistent with communist and Party ideology. Among other points, he condemned the treatment of the Old Bolsheviks, people who had supported communism before the revolution, many of whom Stalin had executed as traitors. Khrushchev attacked the crimes committed by associates of Beria.
One reason given for Khrushchev's speech was his moral conscience. This, the Communists believed, would prevent a fatal loss of self-belief and restore unity within the Party. Martin McCauley argues that Khrushchev's purpose was to "liberate Party officials from the fear of repression". Khrushchev argued that if the Party were to be an efficient mechanism, stripped from the brutal abuse of power by any individual, it could transform the Soviet Union as well as the entire world. However, others have suggested that the speech was made in order to deflect blame from the Communist Party or the principles of Marxism–Leninism and place the blame squarely on Stalin's shoulders, thus preventing a more radical debate. However, the publication of this speech caused many party members to resign in protest, both abroad and within the Soviet Union. By attacking Stalin, McCauley argues, he was undermining the credibility of Molotov, Malenkov and other political opponents, within "Stalin's inner circle" during the 1930s more than he had been.
If they did not "come over to Khrushchev", they "risk being banished with Stalin" and associated with his dictatorial control. Khrushchev attempted to make the Gulag labour system less harsh, by allowing prisoners to post letters home to their families, by allowing family members to mail clothes to prisoners, not allowed under Stalin; when Stalin died, the Gulag was "radically reduced in size". On 25 October 1956, a resolution of the CPSU declared that the existence of the Gulag labour system was "inexpedient"; the Gulag institution was closed by the MVD order No 020 of 25 January 1960. Khrushchev renamed or reverted the names of many places bearing Stalin's name, including cities, territories and other facilities; the State Anthem of the Soviet Union was purged of references to Stalin. The Stalin-centric and World War II-era lines in the lyrics were excised when an instrumental version replaced it; the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland was renamed in 19
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 1990, when the Congress of People's Deputies modified Article 6 of the most recent 1977 Soviet constitution, which had granted the CPSU a monopoly over the political system; the party was founded in 1912 by the Bolsheviks, a majority faction detached from the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, who seized power in the October Revolution of 1917. After 74 years, it was dissolved on 29 August 1991 on Soviet territory, soon after a failed coup d'état by hard-line CPSU leaders against Soviet president and party general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and was outlawed three months on 6 November 1991 in Russian territory; the CPSU was a Communist party, organized on the basis of democratic centralism. This principle, conceived by Lenin, entails democratic and open discussion of policy issues within the party followed by the requirement of total unity in upholding the agreed policies.
The highest body within the CPSU was the Party Congress. When the Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body; because the Central Committee met twice a year, most day-to-day duties and responsibilities were vested in the Politburo, the Secretariat and the Orgburo. The party leader was the head of government and held the office of either General Secretary, Premier or head of state, or some of the three offices concurrently—but never all three at the same time; the party leader was the de facto chairman of the CPSU Politburo and chief executive of the Soviet Union. The tension between the party and the state for the shifting focus of power was never formally resolved, but in reality the party dominated and a paramount leader always existed. After the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, Lenin had introduced a mixed economy referred to as the New Economic Policy, which allowed for capitalist practices to resume under the Communist Party dictation in order to develop the necessary conditions for socialism to become a practical pursuit in the economically undeveloped country.
In 1929, as Joseph Stalin became the leader of the party, Marxism–Leninism, a fusion of the original ideas of German philosopher and economic theorist Karl Marx, Lenin, became formalized as the party's guiding ideology and would remain so throughout the rest of its existence. The party pursued state socialism, under which all industries were nationalized and a planned economy was implemented. After recovering from the Second World War, reforms were implemented which decentralized economic planning and liberalized Soviet society in general under Nikita Khrushchev. By 1980, various factors, including the continuing Cold War, ongoing nuclear arms race with the United States and other Western European powers and unaddressed inefficiencies in the economy, led to stagnant economic growth under Alexei Kosygin, further with Leonid Brezhnev and a growing disillusionment. After a younger vigorous Mikhail Gorbachev, assumed leadership in 1985, rapid steps were taken to transform the tottering Soviet economic system in the direction of a market economy once again.
Gorbachev and his allies envisioned the introduction of an economy similar to Lenin's earlier New Economic Policy through a program of "perestroika", or restructuring, but their reforms along with the institution of free multiparty elections led to a decline in the party's power, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the banning of the party by last RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin and subsequent first President of an evolving democratic and free market economy of the successor Russian Federation. A number of causes contributed to CPSU's loss of control and the dissolution of the Soviet Union during the early 1990s; some historians have written that Gorbachev's policy of "glasnost" was the root cause, noting that it weakened the party's control over society. Gorbachev maintained. Others have blamed the economic stagnation and subsequent loss of faith by the general populace in communist ideology. In the final years of the CPSU's existence, the Communist Parties of the federal subjects of Russia were united into the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
After the CPSU's demise, the Communist Parties of the Union Republics became independent and underwent various separate paths of reform. In Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation emerged and has been regarded as the inheritor of the CPSU's old Bolshevik legacy into the present day. 1912–18:Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 1918–25:Russian Communist Party 1925–52:All-Union Communist Party 1952–91:Communist Party of the Soviet Union The origin of the CPSU was in the Bolshevik majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, left the party in January 1912 to form a new one at the Prague Party Conference, called the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party – or RSDLP. Prior to the February Revolution, the first phase of the Russian Revolutions of 1917, the party worked underground as organized anti-Tsarist groups. By the time of the revolution, many of the party's central leaders, including Lenin, were in exile. With Emperor Nicholas II, deposed in February 1917, a republic was established and administered by a provisional gove
Culture of the Soviet Union
The culture of the Soviet Union passed through several stages during the Soviet Union's 69-year existence. It was contributed to by people of various nationalities from every single one of fifteen union republics, although a slight majority of them were Russians; the Soviet state supported cultural institutions, but carried out strict censorship. The main feature of communist attitudes towards the arts and artists in the years 1918-1929 was relative freedom, with significant experimentation in several different styles in an effort to find a distinctive Soviet style of art. In many respects, the NEP period was a time of relative freedom and experimentation for the social and cultural life of the Soviet Union; the government tolerated a variety of trends in these fields, provided they were not overtly hostile to the regime. In art and literature, numerous schools, some traditional and others radically experimental, proliferated. Communist writers Maxim Gorky and Vladimir Mayakovsky were active during this time, but other authors, many of whose works were repressed, published work lacking socialist political content.
Film, as a means of influencing a illiterate society, received encouragement from the state. Education, under Commissar Anatoliy Lunacharskiy, entered a phase of experimentation based on progressive theories of learning. At the same time, the state expanded the primary and secondary school system, introduced night schools for working adults; the quality of higher education was affected by admissions policies that preferred entrants from the proletarian class over those from bourgeois backgrounds, regardless of the applicants' qualifications.. Under NEP, the state eased its active persecution of religion begun during war communism but continued to agitate on behalf of atheism; the party supported the Living Church reform movement within the Russian Orthodox Church in hopes that it would undermine faith in the church, but the movement died out in the late-1920s. In family life, attitudes became more permissive; the state legalised abortion, it made divorce progressively easier to obtain, whilst public cafeterias proliferated at the expense of private family kitchens.
Arts during the rule of Joseph Stalin were characterised by the rise and domination of the government-imposed style of Socialist realism, with all other trends being repressed, with rare exceptions. For many notable Mikhail Bulgakov's works were not repressed, although the full text of his The Master and Margarita was published only in 1966. Many writers were imprisoned and killed, or died of starvation, examples being Daniil Kharms, Osip Mandelstam, Isaac Babel and Boris Pilnyak. Andrei Platonov wasn't allowed to publish; the work of Anna Akhmatova was condemned by the regime, although she notably refused the opportunity to escape to the West. After a short period of the renaissance of Ukrainian literature, more than 250 Ukrainian writers died during the Great Purge, for example Valerian Pidmohylnyi ), in the so called Executed Renaissance. Texts of imprisoned authors were confiscated by the NKVD and some of them were published later. Books were destroyed. In addition to literature, musical expression was repressed during the Stalin era, at times the music of many Soviet composers was banned altogether.
Dmitri Shostakovich experienced a long and complex relationship with Stalin, during which his music was denounced and prohibited twice, in 1936 and 1948. Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian had similar cases. Although Igor Stravinsky did not live in the Soviet Union, his music was considered formalist and anti-Soviet. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, the Brezhnev era, a distinctive period of Soviet culture developed characterised by conformist public life and intense focus on personal life. In the late Soviet Union, Soviet popular culture was characterised by fascination with American popular culture as exemplified by the blue jeans craze. In arts, the liberalisation of all aspects of life starting from the Khrushchev Thaw created a possibility for the evolution of various forms of non-formal and dissident art. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wrote the critical One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and subsequently exiled from the Soviet Union. Greater experimentation in art forms became permissible in the 1970s, with the result that more sophisticated and subtly critical work began to be produced.
The regime loosened the strictures of socialist realism. In music, although the state continued to frown on such Western phenomena as jazz and rock, it began to permit Western musical ensembles specialising in these genres to make limited appearances, but the native balladeer Vladimir Vysotsky popular in the Soviet Union, was denied official recognition because of his iconoclastic lyrics. Original article is taken from the Wikinfo article, "Culture of the Soviet Union", https://web.archive.org/web/20070930154710/http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.php?title=Culture_of_the_Soviet_Union This article incorporates public domain text from the Library of Congress Country Studies. - Soviet Union