Notes on Stalin (chapter 8)

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Chapter 8- The 'Great Retreat' ­ women, family and
education in Stalin's Russia
In 1936 -> stalin announced that the soviet ppl were the first in history to
live free from exploitation. This was based on the 5 year plans and
collectivisation = NO CAPITALISM IN RUSSIA
he overlooked exploitation's that were not related to class and in his 'class
society' there were still inequalities ­ specifically between men and women.
Women expected to provide unpaid childcare, run the home, bear brunt of
educating children.
· 1930's Zhenotdel (women branch of Communist Central Committee )
was closed down because communist party thought that sexual
equality had been achieved.
· Showed how little attention male members of the party paid to the role
of women.
Making money
· women joined the working force because of the high demands of the 5
year plans.
· 1928 (beg of 5yp) only 3 million women were employed in Russia's
13 million by 1940
by 1940, 40 % of workers in heavy industry were women, some
cities (Leningrad) almost half of industrial workers.
· Soviet authorities saw the important contribution of women and
increased the allocation of places in higher / technical education for
· From 20% in 1929 to 40% in 1940 but soviet authorities still paid
women less than men ­ only 60-65 % of income of males doing the
same job.
· In the agricultural economy they were also important ­ 1945 80% of
collective farm workers were women
represented by Stakhanovite movement in the countryside.
Making babies
· decline of birth rate in early 1930s because of trauma of
industrialisation and collectivisation
· Communist govt tried to introduce policies to reverse this:
rewards introduced for mothers with large families.
More than 6 children ­ qualify for state help
7 ­ 2000 roubles a year for 5 years
11 ­ 5000 roubles a year for 5 years
thousands of applications within the first month: 2,730 ­ 8 children
, 1,032 ­ 10 children, 160 ­ +10
· 1936 they discouraged abortion ­ didn't make it illegal.
New law banned terminations except when they were necessary to
save the pregnant woman's life.

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Doctors who terminated and husbands who pressured to terminate
could be sent to prison for 2 years.
Making homes
· women were expected to be responsible for household chores (as well
as working in farms / industry)
had to shop, cook, clean, take care of children..
Although men had been liberated from domestic chores ­ chopping
wood, carrying water etc due to mechanisation, women didn't have
this advantage.
Spent 5x longer than men on domestic responsibilities.…read more

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· reintroduce romance and glamour to to institution of marriage.
· Wedding rings ­ banned in 1928 ­ reintroduced in 1936
· 1936 ­ marriage certificated printed on high quality paper to symbolise
the importance of union.
· Communist husbands ­ expected to be the main income earners in the
· expected to devote to their fams and could be expelled from the Party
for having affairs.…read more

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Press also played its part in hounding men who had destroyed their
· there was some support for women; but only those who were prepared
to conform to the role of wife and mother
Education under Stalin
· stalin ­ discipline, hard work and tradition should be reassured : at
home they had to obey their parents and at school it was reflected by
a new curriculum ­ and conventional teaching methods.…read more

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Party congress of feb 34 was declared the Congress of victors. All celebrated
Stalins great achievements thorough his industrial policy. Zinoviev, Kamenev
and Bukharin said that Stalin was the leader of genius.…read more

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The Congress of Victors
· intended to be a celebration of Stalins economic achievements
· congress worried stalin
when congress voted to elect the Central Committee Kirov topped
the poll
k ­ 1,225 votes
s- 927 votes
group of old bolsheviks approached Kirov after the votes and tried to
persuade him to stand as general secretary ­ he refused but stalin
quickly found out the plan and this meant he had to purge that
party ­ it could no longer be trusted.…read more

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Kirov out of Moscow
1932 ­ Kirov had helped defeat him on an important issue
concerning Mikhail Riutin ­ circulated a document highly critical of
stalin wanted his execution but the Politburo and Central committee
refused to order it.
They argued (seniors) that he could not be executed just for
opposing part policy ­ stalin saw this as betrayal.
· Dec 1934 ­ Kirov murdered in his leningrad headquarters.…read more

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NKVD had turned against the Communist Party
· Communists had always used terror but the great terror was something
· for the 1st time it was inspired by the paranoia of the leader
· it attacked the ruling party
· Terror under Stalin was an integral part of securing his power over the
party.…read more

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Trotsky's former allies
· charges : plotting with foreign powers, terrorism, sabotage and contact
with Trotsky
· It was the 1st product of Nicolai Yezhov's 'conveyor belt system' of
sleep deprivation
questioning relentlessly till defendants confessed
· 13/17 executed, 4 sent to gulags soon perished.
· Evidence provided was concocted and forged by NKVD but this time it
was more obvious.
One of the defendants 'confessed' when he was already in prison.…read more

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Trial eliminated all those who claimed to be close to Lenin and
therefore had an authority that was independent of Stalin
Radicalisation of the NKVD
· 36 and 27 ­ new beginning for NKVD
· Yagoda replaced by more radical Nicolai Yezhov.…read more


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