USSR Control of the People

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  • Created by: rakso181
  • Created on: 17-05-16 13:16

Mass media and propaganda

- Newspapers:

  • Decree 1917 - non-Socialist papers banned, early 20s - non-Bolshevik papers banned
  • Printing press nationalised
  • Gaulit (censorship) needed for all publications
  • Partiinost (party-mindedness) - socialist acheivements
  • Cheap to buy and widely available

- Magazines:

  • Sex, crime and religion off-limits

- Radio: 

  • 1921 - programmes begin to be broadcast by the Spoken Newspaper of the Russian Telegraph Agency, giving news and propaganda
  • 65% illiterate pop.
  • Apartment blocks wired for only government stations
  • Only one station until 1964 - 3 stations under Brezhnev with Radio Maiak playing foreign music popular with kids
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Mass media and propaganda (ctd.)

- Television:

  • Often broadcast in local languages
  • Show Soviet life as a lot better than corrupt capitalist life
  • Key method in 50s in getting across messages - 10K sets 1950 to 3 mill sets 1958
  • Mix of docs, socialist acheivements, news and childrena dn cultural progs.

- Results: 

  • Heavy censorship
  • Government rely on output to distract from reality
  • 1980s - tech. like video reocrders allow easy sharing amongst public
  • Rise in computers makes restriction much harder
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Religion

- Russian Orthodox Church:

  • Churches destroyed
  • Replace baptisms with 'Octoberings'
  • 1929 - League of Militant Godless
  • 1923 - 28 bishops and 1000+ priests killed
  • Attacks increase during famine 1921-22
  • 1918 - Decree of Freedom of Conscience - seperates church from state and religious ed. banned
  • Mid-20s - 55% peasants still Christian

- Islam:

  • Most mosques closed 
  • Unveilings encouraged
  • Polygamy prohibited
  • Prohibit religious endowment of land
  • Sharia courts phased out
  • Ramadam condemned 
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Religion (ctd.)

- Stalin:

  • Churches closed and village priests deported as kulaks
  • Church increases war morale so some churches re-opened and new seminaries
  • Great Purge 1936-39 - 1939 - only 12% churches still at liberty

- Khrushchev: 

  • 1958-64 - Anti-religious campaign
  • Limits role of priests and councils under party control - 10K churches closed and priests harrassed by s.police

- Brezhnev:

  • Council of Religious Affairs
  • Slows persecution as it damages foreign policy
  • Preachings disrupted and believers fired from jobs

Results: Massive decline in religious influence with only 25% still believing in God by the 80s

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Personality Cults

- Lenin:

  • Develops after death with endless images in newspapers, statues and cinemas
  • Body in mausoleum in Red Square
  • Disapproved of personality cults

- Stalin:

  • Loyalty to Lenin's legacy 
  • 1925 - Tsaritsyn becomes Stalingrad
  • Posters show him as a 'man of the people' and a father figure for Mother Russia
  • 'Happy' family life shown
  • Statues in cities and towns 
  • Films exaggerate his role in events

- Khrushchev:

  • Helped him to become more invloved with citizens and made sure he was photographed
  • Reflected his egotistical personality but was never on the scale of Stalin
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Personality Cults (ctd.)

- Brezhnev:

  • Gave him symbols of power without having to exercise it
  • Awarded himself at least 100 medals - Lenin Prize for Literature
  • Series of strokes and heart attacks meant he needed the cult to give an impression of leadership
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Secret Police

- Cheka (1917) - GPU (1922) - OGPU (1923) - NKVD (1934)

- Red Terror 1921 - 200K opponents shot

- Yagoda (1934-36):

  • Oversaw expansion of Gulag
  • 1933 - Oversaw White Sea Canal project
  • Eventually shot for incompetence and lack of enthusiasm in 1938

-Yezhov (1936-38): 

  • Yezhovschina - NKVD purges their own membership
  • Plain-clothed officers for surveillance and torture
  • 1937 - 231 prisoners process a day in Troika courts
  • Rise in Gulag inmates - quotas and awards for executions 
  • Stalin dismisses Yezhov in 1938 for excessive purging and demoralising the war effort
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Secret Police (ctd.)

- Beria: 

  • 1940 - assassination of Trotsky
  • Only holds public trials with solid evidence
  • Food rations improved in Gulags - growth from 2 billion roubles 1937 to 4.5 billion 1940

- WW2:

  • Deportation (Crimean Tartars, Volga Germans and Checkens)
  • 1943 - Special Departments to root out traitors and deserters - SMERSH 'death to spies' murders +4000 Polish officers 1943
  • Order 270 - all surrendered Soviets treated as traitors and sent to detention camps

- Post war:

  • 1951 - Mingrelian Affair 
  • 1953 - Doctor's Plot - group of doctors accused of plotting to assassinate Stalin

- Beria's removal (June 1953): Gulag dismantled, KGB under Politburo control, and Lubyanka building no longer a prison

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Secret Police (ctd.)

- Beria: 

  • 1940 - assassination of Trotsky
  • Only holds public trials with solid evidence
  • Food rations improved in Gulags - growth from 2 billion roubles 1937 to 4.5 billion 1940

- WW2:

  • Deportation (Crimean Tartars, Volga Germans and Checkens)
  • 1943 - Special Departments to root out traitors and deserters - SMERSH 'death to spies' murders +4000 Polish officers 1943
  • Order 270 - all surrendered Soviets treated as traitors and sent to detention camps

- Post war:

  • 1951 - Mingrelian Affair 
  • 1953 - Doctor's Plot - group of doctors accused of plotting to assassinate Stalin

- Beria's removal (June 1953): Gulag dismantled, KGB under Politburo control, and Lubyanka building no longer a prison

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Brezhnev: Andropov's Suppression of Dissidents

- Intellectuals:

  • Nuclear scientist banned from further research for complaining

- Political:

  • Hold government accountable for UN Decleration of Human Rights 1948 and Helsinki Accords 1975

- Nationalists:

  • Greater status of culture and language
  • Freedom from USSR

-Religious: 

  • Refuseniks - group of Soviet Jews
  • Restrictions on religious practise
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Suppression of Dissidents (ctd.)

- Actions:

  • Internal exile
  • Intellectuals threatened with expulsion
  • Mid-70s - 10K political prisoners
  • New Criminal Code 1960 - abolishes night-time interrogation and limits power of KGB
  • Some sent to mental hospitals

- Results:

  • USSR given bad international reputation
  • Helsinki Accords show government violations
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Monitoring of Popular Discontent

- Andropov is General Secretary

- Increased monitoring of dissident groups

- Believes better economy would help

- Surroundes himself with people in touch with pop. discontent 

- Makes conscious effort to promote younger, more reformist future leaders

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Proletkult and Avant-Garde

- 1917 - Lenin wants to keep high-calibre artists/writers on his side. Accomodates to 'Fellow Travellers'

Proletkult:

- Alexander Bogdanov argues for a 'proletarian culture'

- Workers and peasants encouraged to make their own culture

- Direct challenge to higher class art (balllet, opera)

Avant Garde:

- More experimentation

- Theatre led by V. Meyerhold who produces fantasies based on workers defeating exploiters

- Lenin states importance of using cinema for political messages

- Definitely not the answer to moulding people's beliefs

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Stalin: Cultural Revolution

- Sweep away bourgeois attitudes

- Full-scale assault on artists/writers

- Fellow Travellers not accepted. RAPP (Russian Ass. of Prol. Writers) attacks Fell. Trav.

- 'Cult of the little man' - acheivements of workers and socialism

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Socialist Realism

- Art:

  • Shows success in FYPs and emphasises Stalin's cult of p.
  • No more experimentation

- Literature:

  • High-brow focuses on heroes from the party
  • Low-brow focuses on 'good' socialists defeating 'evil' capitalism

- Music:

  • Sax banned in 40s
  • Stalin prefers more trad. music and military songs

- Architecture:

  • Classical lines and elaborate decoration

- Film: Focuses on patriotism Oct. Rev.

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Stalin's final years

- 1946 - campaign to get rid of 'bourgeois' culture from West

- After WW2, writers/artists have greater freedom

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Impact of Destalinisation

- Allows some banned work to be published

- Younger poets allowed to publish

- Jazz music reappears - Soviet youth influenced by Western music

- Stilyagi - people who follow Western fashion

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Non-conformity in Brezhnev years

- 1970s - more conservative

- Sexual themes more risky than political ones

- 'Russites' come close to criticising Soviet Union with nationalism

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Clashes between government and artists

- Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago' banned by Khrushchev

- Khrushchev hates abstract art

- Komosomol patrol streets to report unaccpetable behaviour

- Trial of Joseph Brodksy 1964 - public poetry without a license

- Trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel 1964 - wrote novels depicting USSR life as harsh and surreal

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Control and further clampdowns

- Andropov - non-official composers permitted to 20% air time

- 1970 - local art gallery director in Novosibirsk sentenced to 8 years for displaying work of dissident artists

- Awards/ priveledges to supporting artists and threat of unemployment to non-conformists

- 1975 - group of unofficial artists put on an open-air exhibition but local hooligans recruited to attack the work

-Most writers prefer to conform, even if it is less intellectually demanding

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