Stalin’s Domestic Policies



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Stalin’s Domestic Policies

  • Stalin’s Domestic Policies
  • Social / Cultural / Minorities / Religion
  • Women, Arts, Media / Propaganda

Essay Questions

  • In terms of his Social Polices to what extent did Stalin fulfill his promises: or Successes and Failures of his Social Policies
    • His and popular expectations, expectations of Socialism / Communism (implied or stated)
    • condition when he took over….compared to at the end; did he leave things better than he found them
    • Challenges along the way….Wars …etc
    • Divide into? Education, Health Care, Conditions of employment, Standard of Living, Elitism, Religion, Minorities, Women, Arts, Media……

Essay Question

  • Compare and Contrast Social / Cultural Policies of Stalin and Castro; compare and contrast Successes and Failures
    • Background, context, different environments, different resources available, different challenges
    • Situations they found when they rose to power
    • Changes they introduced
    • Impact of changes….improved or dis-improved lives of people
    • Education, Health Care, Women, National or other Minorities, Religion, Arts, Media, Standard of Living

Socialist Realism

  • A so called “cultural revolution” began in 1928
  • To ensure full mobilization of the country’s human energy and skills in the drive for modernization Stalin tightened Party control over Soviet cultural life
  • He controlled the Arts through a policy of Socialist Realism; no more arts for arts sake, using art (writing, poetry, art, architecture) to promote a political message – to promote Communism

Lenin had introduced a smaller version of Socialist Realism up to Civil War – but Lenin’s efforts were no where near the scale of Stalin’s

  • Lenin had introduced a smaller version of Socialist Realism up to Civil War – but Lenin’s efforts were no where near the scale of Stalin’s
  • And Lenin relaxed / liberalized these policies after the War
  • Stalin revived and intensified Social Realism. He ordered intellectuals to become “engineers of human souls”

He turned first to literature to achieve his ends. From 1928- 1932, he allowed the Russian Association of Proletarian writers – RAPP – and its leader Leopold Averbakh - to exercise a virtual dictatorship in the field.

  • He turned first to literature to achieve his ends. From 1928- 1932, he allowed the Russian Association of Proletarian writers – RAPP – and its leader Leopold Averbakh - to exercise a virtual dictatorship in the field.
  • It called for novels and stories that focused on the themes of “Collective Efforts” to promote collectivization and industrialization
  • Two leading novelists, Boris Pilnyak and Evgeny Zamiatin, were silenced as an example to others for excessive attention to the individuality of human beings in their writings.

In 1932 Stalin dispensed with RAPP – feeling that it emphasized Proletarian culture too much – he wanted a proletarian culture but also a very nationalistic one too, one which glorified the worker, but just as much attention, if not more, to Russian nationalism

  • In 1932 Stalin dispensed with RAPP – feeling that it emphasized Proletarian culture too much – he wanted a proletarian culture but also a very nationalistic one too, one which glorified the worker, but just as much attention, if not more, to Russian nationalism
  • He designated a young protégé, Andrei Zhdanov, to control the literary output of the country. Under Zhdanov only one literary organization was allowed to exist – the Professional Union of Soviet Writers – and all approved, recognized writers had to be affiliated with it.

The Union issued guidelines for the new literature; the purpose of literature was to teach and inspire: works of art were to uplift people, to inculcate key values of dedication, loyalty, and collectivization, and to portray the glorious socialist future to the masses

  • The Union issued guidelines for the new literature; the purpose of literature was to teach and inspire: works of art were to uplift people, to inculcate key values of dedication, loyalty, and collectivization, and to portray the glorious socialist future to the masses
  • The guidelines decreed that novelists present heroes overcoming harsh backgrounds and complex challenges to accomplish feats associated with building socialism. Writers were mandated to portray life not as it really was but as it ought to be in a socialist society

Novels idealized the heroic achievements of the FYP’s and plots became highly stereotyped, with happy endings.

  • Novels idealized the heroic achievements of the FYP’s and plots became highly stereotyped, with happy endings.
  • Of the many novels celebrating industrialization, Valentin Kateyev’s Time Forward ranks as the most interesting and readable: describes the building of the giant iron and steel complex at Magnitogorsk in the Urals: the story focuses on the attempt by a number of workers to break the world record for pouring concrete.

Historical novels were also encouraged, one example was Peter I by Alexei Tolstoy, which glorified the reign of Peter the Great, whom Stalin admired as an earlier transformer of Russian society.

  • Historical novels were also encouraged, one example was Peter I by Alexei Tolstoy, which glorified the reign of Peter the Great, whom Stalin admired as an earlier transformer of Russian society.
  • Tolstoy had to write, rewrite, rewrite it again before Stalin approved the portrayal of Peter – wanted him depicted as a proletarian czar and the prototype of Stalin himself (humble origins, friend of masses, interested in modernization and industrialization).

Many talented Soviet writers were silenced by Socialist Realism – did not go along with it – so either did not write or wrote “for the drawer” meaning for friends and family only

  • Many talented Soviet writers were silenced by Socialist Realism – did not go along with it – so either did not write or wrote “for the drawer” meaning for friends and family only
  • There were some dissident writers who tried to send their work out of the country
  • Art / painting: Stalin believed that the masses could not understand symbolic and abstract work. The visual arts hence were failing in their socialist duty to teach and inspire workers and peasants on the road to socialism and must also be subjected to socialist realism.

Painting was reduced to techno-colored scenes of factories and farms featuring unrealistically healthy and hearty workers and peasants busily engaged in building socialism, or to romanticized pivotal events in Russian Revolutionary History.

  • Painting was reduced to techno-colored scenes of factories and farms featuring unrealistically healthy and hearty workers and peasants busily engaged in building socialism, or to romanticized pivotal events in Russian Revolutionary History.
  • But artists who portrayed dramatic moments in the October Revolution and the civil war made sure to omit Trotsky and always to place Stalin at Lenin’s side.

Considerable effort was employed to create striking and inspiring posters which represented Soviet society as happy and healthy and engaged in constructive and exciting industrial work.

  • Considerable effort was employed to create striking and inspiring posters which represented Soviet society as happy and healthy and engaged in constructive and exciting industrial work.
  • Most of the themes were taken from industry or collective farms.
  • Often Stalin was included in set piece artwork showing a people and leader working harmoniously towards a new Russia. In paintings and posters, Stalin was depicted as towering over people he was smaller than

sculptured statues of Stalin appeared everywhere, again showing him as taller than the average Russian

  • sculptured statues of Stalin appeared everywhere, again showing him as taller than the average Russian
  • In architecture, elaborate and highly decorative forms replaced the spare functionalism of the Lenin era, a monumental style often ridiculed by Western observers as “Stalinist Wedding Cake.”
  • In music, through the formation of the Union of Soviet Composers, Stalin imposed a drive for control, simplicity, and accessibility, and support for tuneful and optimistic compositions. He preferred tunes that could be hummed and remembered

Basically, culture lost its autonomy in the 1930s and became thoroughly politicized and a medium for propaganda and indoctrination.

  • Basically, culture lost its autonomy in the 1930s and became thoroughly politicized and a medium for propaganda and indoctrination.
  • Art became subservient to the needs of the regime. There was no creative freedom – art had to serve the immediate needs of the govt.
  • Overall, socialist realism had a deadening effect on Soviet culture. Socialist Realist works suffered from a tedious, boring, predictability.
  • Also the majority of writers and artists who submitted to Party dictates were mostly the less talented, the hacks with little ability, and they produced “eminently forgettable works” Thompson

History

  • History
  • In 1931 Stalin announced that he would act as the sole arbiter of Party history
  • In his version of History Trotsky’s role in the Bolshevik Revolution was downplayed
  • His own role was exaggerated and glorified. The new History of the Soviet Union was Stalin-Centric.
  • He gave himself a role equal in prominence to the role of Lenin…he was a co-founder of the Bolshevik party with Lenin, was Lenin’s Right Hand Man, was a key leader of the 1917 Revolution, and wrote important Communist literature.

Historians who did not glorify him were silenced

  • Historians who did not glorify him were silenced
  • His version of recent Soviet history appeared in A Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which he helped write. It became the most widely distributed book in the history of Russia / USSR.
  • In 1934 he broadened his attention to the entire scope of Russian history. In the revisionist history that soon emerged, Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great were transformed from brutal “feudal despots” into national heroes praised for displaying true Russian valor.

Earlier condemnations of czarist imperialism by historians now gave way to the argument that the national minorities benefited from coming under the influence of the mighty and advanced Russian civilization.

  • Earlier condemnations of czarist imperialism by historians now gave way to the argument that the national minorities benefited from coming under the influence of the mighty and advanced Russian civilization.
  • Independent judgments about the past disappeared, and omissions, distortions, and unsupported interpretations made the Russian-Soviet past almost unrecognizable.

Political theory

  • Political theory
  • Stalin also intervened in Marxist philosophy, attacking such Russian Marxist philosophers as Deborin, and Plekhanov, and making it known that he in future would determine the orthodox interpretation of Marxist philosophy.
  • He assumed the role of the premier living Marxist philosopher, in succession to Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

Other Subjects

  • Other Subjects
  • The party also imposed inflexible views on biology, science, linguistics, economics, psychology, psychiatry, while blocking the development of the new discipline of sociology.
  • To ensure that research priorities and fund allocations mirrored the regimes requirements, after 1929 the Party took over the most prestigious scholarly institution, the Academy of Sciences, firing some world renowned researchers and appointing servile professors as ranking academicians.

The party also dictated the direction of intellectual life by its monopoly on publishing, including the popular media, and by censorship.

  • The party also dictated the direction of intellectual life by its monopoly on publishing, including the popular media, and by censorship.

Education

  • Education
  • A key function of education was indoctrination in Communist principles; universities required students to take courses in dialectical and historical materialism (basic Marxism) and in the history of the Communist Party.
  • Stalin placed a huge focus on Literacy, and also on technical training – as foundations for industrialization
  • To industrialize and mechanize the nation, he needed a literate, technically educated people, and after 1930 he reoriented schools and universities toward that goal.

The literacy campaign raised the rate to 81% in 1939, with universal literacy achieved by the 1960s. But many of those who were classified as literate were not necessarily educated – the majority of workers and peasants had only about four years of schooling.

  • The literacy campaign raised the rate to 81% in 1939, with universal literacy achieved by the 1960s. But many of those who were classified as literate were not necessarily educated – the majority of workers and peasants had only about four years of schooling.
  • In the 20s he experimented with open enrolment in universities - and with new methods in schools, such as abolishing all exams
  • But in the 30s he reinstated admissions criteria for higher education institutions, and schools reverted to traditional curricula and methods by the mid 1930s, and examinations.

youth organizations like the Octobrists and Pioneers also indoctrinated young people in socialist values and Bolshevik history

  • youth organizations like the Octobrists and Pioneers also indoctrinated young people in socialist values and Bolshevik history
  • There was further indoctrination from Party activists who lectured to workers in factories and farms, while newspapers, films and radio broadcasts endlessly recounted socialist achievements and capitalist plots

Media / Art and Cult of Personality

  • Media / Art and Cult of Personality
  • The Stalin cult had begun on his 50th birthday in Dec. 1929, shortly after his final triumph over the Right Deviation and amid the all out Collectivization drive. In a wave of acclaim, Stalin was lauded in press articles as Lenin’s supremely gifted disciple and rightful successor.
  • The event was made into a symbolic coronation of him as party leader. A ten day outpouring of photos in the press marked his birthday. It had been arranged to steel everyone’s resolve in the struggle against the kulaks and to celebrate publicly his emergence as undisputed leader of the Party and therefore the nation.

Different from Lenin – had always been modest and frowned on such celebrations. As part of the Stalin Cult, Lenin was glorified, deified, as infallible, and Stalin, his successor, was also just as saintly and right in everything he did. He built his own cult through the assertion of Lenin’s infallibility (Tucker)

  • Different from Lenin – had always been modest and frowned on such celebrations. As part of the Stalin Cult, Lenin was glorified, deified, as infallible, and Stalin, his successor, was also just as saintly and right in everything he did. He built his own cult through the assertion of Lenin’s infallibility (Tucker)
  • The worship – Tucker calls it “the orgy of personal glorification” - contd. beyond his birthday. Fawning over Stalin permeated almost every aspect of Soviet life. He pretended that such praise was undeserved and anti- Communist, but he clearly relished every word and action that confirmed his self image as the resolute and heroic maker of a new Revolution as great as the one that Lenin had led.

Why the Cult?

  • Why the Cult?
  • He was hungry for devotion (Tucker), though professing not to enjoy it. One of his weaknesses, his Achilles heel was his Vanity. He had a painfully sensitive self-esteem…(Tucker)
  • Soon poems, stories, films, music, paintings, sculpture, began to glorify him.

Portrayed as a god, savior of his people – brought them food, prosperity, modernization, protection from enemies – the worship of Stalin replaced traditional religion

  • Portrayed as a god, savior of his people – brought them food, prosperity, modernization, protection from enemies – the worship of Stalin replaced traditional religion
  • In “an appellation orgy’, mountains, lakes, towns, factories, nurseries, military units, research institutes, babies were christened or renamed after him.
  • Stalin prizes were created to honor outstanding citizens in a variety of fields.

Public receptions and ceremonies played an especially important role in the Stalinist cult. At these events, the smiling Stalin received the praise and gratitude of his subjects, with arranged 15 minute clapping scenes

  • Public receptions and ceremonies played an especially important role in the Stalinist cult. At these events, the smiling Stalin received the praise and gratitude of his subjects, with arranged 15 minute clapping scenes
  • Stalin’s control over history, and the new role he created for himself was part of the cult, part of his self promotion
  • He enjoyed the public image of him as the wise, pipe-puffing father of his people – ironically, while directing the arrests and murder of millions of Soviet citizens during collectivization and the purges.
  • And at a time when he became increasingly reclusive, withdrawn, and distrustful.

Women and the Family

  • Women and the Family
  • Marxism states that both capitalism and the middle class husband exploited women.
  • After the 1917 Revolution the Bolsheviks immediately introduced equality and liberation for women, esp. sexual liberation
  • In the 1920s women were given the right to divorce, abortion, property rights, allowed to work outside the home, and given more educational opportunities. A woman’s Department of the Central Committee had been set up in 1919 to safeguard these rights.

While women were given increased emancipation, the institution of the family was downplayed, regarded as a bourgeois creation.

  • While women were given increased emancipation, the institution of the family was downplayed, regarded as a bourgeois creation.
  • Under Lenin, though, the improved role of women was just on paper – never really materialized in reality.
  • Policy towards women changed under Stalin…definite changes, improvements, emphasis...
  • The Women’s Dept. was closed down in 1930, as it was considered to have fulfilled its aims.

After Stalin’s consolidation of power, there was less and less focus on liberation, and more and more focus on equality in terms of being equal to men in productivity in the work place.

  • After Stalin’s consolidation of power, there was less and less focus on liberation, and more and more focus on equality in terms of being equal to men in productivity in the work place.
  • Women were constantly told that they had to be equal to men - to do anything men did, esp. in factories and mines and construction projects
  • The massive mobilization of women in the work place was a striking characteristic of the Soviet state under Stalin.

Between 1928 and 1940, the number of urban women working full time outside the home increased from 3m to 14m.

  • Between 1928 and 1940, the number of urban women working full time outside the home increased from 3m to 14m.
  • Women were called on to perform every sort of job, from intricate technical tasks to heavy construction labor.
  • Like male workers they were exhorted to superhuman efforts to surpass production goals.

Under Stalin, because of the drop in real family income, the majority of women simply had to work outside the home. Wages were so low that families could not live on the salary of one person.

  • Under Stalin, because of the drop in real family income, the majority of women simply had to work outside the home. Wages were so low that families could not live on the salary of one person.
  • This growth in the number of women workers was a tremendous social change, causing many families to break up due to economic hardship, which caused further physical, emotional, and mental strains for women

Yet, Stalin continued to allow women education opportunities. Literacy among women improved dramatically.

  • Yet, Stalin continued to allow women education opportunities. Literacy among women improved dramatically.
  • Through acquiring skills they could enter the ranks of the better paid specialists in industry and science.
  • Medicine became a female dominated profession. By 1950, 75% of all doctors in the Soviet Union were women.

However, the majority of working women were still employed in traditionally female jobs such as in the textile industry and they were poorly represented in heavy industries such as steel making, construction, and engineering.

  • However, the majority of working women were still employed in traditionally female jobs such as in the textile industry and they were poorly represented in heavy industries such as steel making, construction, and engineering.
  • Women also continued to experience lower rates of pay than men and were unlikely to be promoted.

During the 30s , Stalin and the Party buried the reality of the hardships for women under a blizzard of slogans, decrees, and awards honoring women workers, dairy maids, wives who supported their Stakhanovite husbands, and Soviet mothers who bore future workers and soldiers for the motherhood.

  • During the 30s , Stalin and the Party buried the reality of the hardships for women under a blizzard of slogans, decrees, and awards honoring women workers, dairy maids, wives who supported their Stakhanovite husbands, and Soviet mothers who bore future workers and soldiers for the motherhood.
  • Issues such as inadequate day-care facilities, absence of family planning counsel or devices, unequal pay, lack of access to top jobs, and the persistence of traditional views and values about women were simply overlooked.

In 1936 Stalin announced that women were fully emancipated - this was far from true.

  • In 1936 Stalin announced that women were fully emancipated - this was far from true.
  • Stalin was later forced to rethink Communist views on the family. Industrialization, Collectivization, and relaxation of morals due to silencing of the churches, had led to a breakdown in family life in many parts of the USSR….and family sizes began to decline
  • Gangs of orphans and unwanted children became a major problem in many cities. Some became beggars, others thieves who were often highly organized and violent.

These problems led to an adoption of policies designed to preserve family life: abortion was restricted as was contraception and access to divorce.

  • These problems led to an adoption of policies designed to preserve family life: abortion was restricted as was contraception and access to divorce.
  • In 1935 the official view was expressed as: “the state cannot exist without the family.”
  • Stalin wanted to also raise the birthrate. The state exalted children as a blessing and applauded the ever growing numbers of workers who would expand Soviet industry. Mothers were praised, then honored with awards and medals, and finally paid escalating stipends for each child delivered

New decrees made divorce harder and much more costly than before. Absent fathers were more responsible for child support, with stiff fiscal payments of up to one half of their salary.

  • New decrees made divorce harder and much more costly than before. Absent fathers were more responsible for child support, with stiff fiscal payments of up to one half of their salary.
  • This last policy benefited women, but the other measures confined their choices and consigned them to traditional roles and unequal status.

Religion

  • Religion
  • Marxism; religion was the opium of the people – means of capitalist control, indoctrination, and created divided loyalties
  • In Russia the Church was perceived to have been a partner with landowners and Czars in exploitation of masses
  • And under the Revolution Church land was needed by peasants and state

During the Civil War, Lenin persecuted the Church - atrocities against priests and the destruction of religious building was widespread.

  • During the Civil War, Lenin persecuted the Church - atrocities against priests and the destruction of religious building was widespread.
  • NEP saw a reduction in these attacks but the state still put considerable energy into encouraging divisions within the leadership of the Orthodox church, and arresting priests and bishops who were not submissive to the state
  • In the mid 20s there was less persecution of religious groups and churches and the attacks subsided.

Collectivization – 1928 - saw a renewal of violent attacks / persecutions on churches, priests, and active believers.

  • Collectivization – 1928 - saw a renewal of violent attacks / persecutions on churches, priests, and active believers.
  • The Church and clergy / ministers was seen as a rallying point of peasant resistance
  • A decree of 1929 limited religious activity outside of church buildings and only officially licensed congregations were allowed to meet for worship. This law also prohibited any educational, charitable, or recreational activities of a religious nature.
  • Under other laws churches were closed, and priests and believers faced fiscal and legal discrimination. Secret police infiltrated religious groups to break them up.

Islamic law was banned and women were encouraged to unveil. Prayer and fasting at Ramadan was openly condemned and in 1935 the pilgrimage to Mecca was prohibited.

  • Islamic law was banned and women were encouraged to unveil. Prayer and fasting at Ramadan was openly condemned and in 1935 the pilgrimage to Mecca was prohibited.
  • Jews initially received a respite from the kind of persecution experienced under the Czars but there was still strong anti-Semitism among Party leaders and during the 1930s Jews suffered from the same persecutions as other religious believers.
  • The teaching of Hebrew was restricted and synagogues were closed, as were Yiddish language newspapers and theatres
  • Jews suffered during the Purges, perhaps because many of them held high positions in Soviet political, professional, an cultural life and were pushed out by Stalin’s repression..

In theory the Constitution of 1936 gave priests full citizenship and the right to vote

  • In theory the Constitution of 1936 gave priests full citizenship and the right to vote
  • Another wave of oppression was undertaken in 1937 and 1938 by the govt., through the atheistic, public organization, the League of the Militant Godless.
  • The League accused the clergy of trying to influence elections, and they were arrested and executed.

Many clergymen and religious believers fell victim to the Great Purges – accused of anti soviet activity and espionage.

  • Many clergymen and religious believers fell victim to the Great Purges – accused of anti soviet activity and espionage.
  • No accurate figures available – but number of Orthodox churches fell from 39,000 in 1925 to fewer than 10,000 in 1939, and the number of mosques declined from more than 20,000 after the Revolution to 1,312 by WWII.
  • Even more damaging to the church, the number of Orthodox bishops fell from 163 in 1930 to fewer than 10 at the end of 1939. Without bishops to consecrate new priests, soon no one would be available to perform the rites of Orthodoxy.

Despite these pressures religious believers did not disappear. While a significant number probably did drift away, or compromised, many others met in secret.

  • Despite these pressures religious believers did not disappear. While a significant number probably did drift away, or compromised, many others met in secret.
  • The Orthodox Church resisted persecution by holding mass confessions rather than individual, secret baptisms and marriages, evening and night worship, organized covert monasteries disguised as collective farms, itinerant priests performed the sacraments as they moved from village to village.
  • “Catacomb” churches were founded – unregistered, underground congregations, concealed from the party; years of persecution failed to destroy religious belief..

Soviet anti-religious policy – though more consistent than other Soviet social policies – demonstrates the limitations facing even the most authoritarian state.

  • Soviet anti-religious policy – though more consistent than other Soviet social policies – demonstrates the limitations facing even the most authoritarian state.
  • During WWII Stalin enlisted the aid of the Churches
  • In 1941 Stalin reversed the policy of persecuting churches and religious believers when the German invasion forced him to take measures to unite Russian society around traditional Russian values.
  • He used traditional beliefs and the remnants of the church hierarchy to support the patriotic efforts that WWII required.

Stalin enlisted the aid of the Orthodox church in his effort to stiffen his peoples resistance. After Germany’s invasion the head of the Orthodox church issued a strong condemnation of the invasion and appealed for all out defense of Soviet state, despite the regime’s oppression of religion.

  • Stalin enlisted the aid of the Orthodox church in his effort to stiffen his peoples resistance. After Germany’s invasion the head of the Orthodox church issued a strong condemnation of the invasion and appealed for all out defense of Soviet state, despite the regime’s oppression of religion.
  • Church officials collected funds for war effort, cared for children orphaned in the struggle, issued pamphlets supporting the government’s war policies.

In return Stalin made peace with the church, reaching an informal concordat in 1943 that permitted thousands of churches to open, allowed an increase in the number of priests, re-established of a central church administration, and the election of a patriarch

  • In return Stalin made peace with the church, reaching an informal concordat in 1943 that permitted thousands of churches to open, allowed an increase in the number of priests, re-established of a central church administration, and the election of a patriarch
  • Although the party would renew its campaign against religion in the late 50s, the terms of coexistence between church and state that Stalin approved during the war persisted to the end of the Soviet period in 1991.

As a reward for war support and political subservience. the govt. allowed the religious establishments to exist (except for Judaism) and to hold religious observances, although it still prohibited proselytizing and religious education.

  • As a reward for war support and political subservience. the govt. allowed the religious establishments to exist (except for Judaism) and to hold religious observances, although it still prohibited proselytizing and religious education.

Treatment of Minorities (national minorities / non-Russians)

  • Treatment of Minorities (national minorities / non-Russians)
  • Stalin was responsible for the Constitution of 1924…bringing the National Minorities into the USSR
  • In the 1930s Stalin strengthened central authority – over peasants, workers, party, writers etc, and the national minorities were no exception.
  • He swept away most of the indigenous leadership of the non-Russian regions of the Union during the Great Purge

These areas thus became economic and political vassals of Moscow: their industry and agriculture primarily serving the needs of the central Five Year Plans, and their governments and Parties forced to carry out the directives of the Communist Party

  • These areas thus became economic and political vassals of Moscow: their industry and agriculture primarily serving the needs of the central Five Year Plans, and their governments and Parties forced to carry out the directives of the Communist Party
  • Stalin launched an anti-religious campaign against the churches and mosques in these areas
  • He also launched an attack on their culture, esp. their language and education system.
  • He also imposed Russian history, music, culture in general on these minorities – like the Czars policy of Russification: shut down their newspapers, imprisoned their leaders…

Some national minorities resisted violently, killing their cattle, esp. in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia – Stalin replied with brutality: more than one third of Kazakh population disappeared, either killed, arrested, deported, in Stalin’s purge of these areas, or fled.

  • Some national minorities resisted violently, killing their cattle, esp. in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia – Stalin replied with brutality: more than one third of Kazakh population disappeared, either killed, arrested, deported, in Stalin’s purge of these areas, or fled.
  • Collectivization and Industrialization was forced on the other two thirds
  • Ukraine strongly opposed collectivization, resisted violently – Stalin basically starved them into submission in the man made famine of 1932 and 1933.

WWII

  • WWII
  • During WWII Stalin singled out several non-Russian minority groups for special brutal treatment.
  • As the Germans advanced in 1941 he ordered almost 1m Soviet citizens of German descent forcibly removed from Ukraine and areas along the Volga river – they had been settled there by Catherine the Great and had been productive and useful citizens
  • They had resisted collectivization but there is no evidence that they collaborated in any way with the Germans. Yet Stalin was suspicious and scattered them throughout Central Asia.

After the USSR had forced the Germans to retreat – Stalin uprooted several non-Russian nationalities on the flimsiest of treason charges.

  • After the USSR had forced the Germans to retreat – Stalin uprooted several non-Russian nationalities on the flimsiest of treason charges.
  • Tatars who had lived in the Crimea for five centuries, Kalmyks from north of the Caspian sea: Chechen-Ingush Balkans, and Karachi from the North Caucasus – they were shipped to Siberia and Central Asia – ironically on trains supplied under the lend lease program.
  • Almost one third of the deportees perished. Stalin wanted to punish them for earlier resistance to his rule and to eliminate them as a potential source of unrest after the war.

Yet Stalin could not kill the nationalism of the republics – it would continue and grew stronger, leading ultimately to the disintegration of the USSR in the early 1990s under the Gorbachev admin.

  • Yet Stalin could not kill the nationalism of the republics – it would continue and grew stronger, leading ultimately to the disintegration of the USSR in the early 1990s under the Gorbachev admin.

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