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Kari Kaunismaa                                                        CEEISA 4th Convention
University of Turku                                                   University of Tartu, Estonia
Dep. of Political History                                             25. – 27.6.2006

The Education of Citizenship in Soviet and Russian School History Textbooks

1. Introduction

After the October Revolution, or actually the Bolshevik coup d’état of 1917, education
began to play a much greater role in ruling the country than in the Czar’s era. According to
Lunacharski, the People’s Commissariat of Education considered the educational system
its most important tool in making Russia a thoroughly Marxist state. 1 During the Stalin era,
the totalitarian system went to such lengths that the same lesson was studied on the same
day from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok in every single school. The American scholar
Barghoorn tells about the formation of attitudes from the 1960s onwards: parents and
teachers were expected to instil in the rising generation the beliefs and skills that would
guarantee the flourishing of the political system. The party directed all those who molded
the minds of the new generation to cooperate in producing citizens most of whom would, it
was hoped, become responsible and productive participants in the political life of the
country.2 Most teachers fulfilled their duty faithfully, and the system owed them a great
deal for being true custodians of Socialism.

A.S. Makarenko, an educator of the 1930s, formulated the principles of pedagogy of the
Soviet system more than many others. According to Barghoorn, the aim was to create
“the new Soviet man”, Homo sovieticus. The Central Committee of the CPSU stated in its
revealing theses on the educational reform of 1958 – 59 that spiritual wealth, moral purity
and physical perfection would be harmoniously combined in the new man. – However,
many Soviet pedagogical concepts and techniques were derived from conservative,
patriotic figures such as the nineteenth-century educator Ushinski, who was praised in
educational encyclopaedias.3 Anweiler states that in the 20 years after the revolution,
things came full circle: instead of post-revolutionary avant-garde experiments, the Council
of People´s Commissariats and the Central Committee gave detailed orders regarding
school in 1937. The authority of a teacher in the classroom and that of a headmaster in
the whole school were restored, the school uniform became mandatory again and
discipline was even harder than before. The family was rehabilitated as the main educator
instead of the collective.4

Barghoorn cites an American scholar Bereday who in 1960 found the Soviet system of
experimental schools admirable, but at the same time the Soviet attempt at thrusting
communism and materialism down the throats of their children “criminal”. 5 The entire
educational system after 1945 needs to be examined against the background of the
victorious Great Patriotic war, Velikaya otechestvennaya voina, which was a proof of the
superiority of the Socialist system and of the Soviet people, both to the people and their


1
  Anweiler-Rufmann 24 (orig. Lunacharski: Problemy narodnogo obrazovaniia, Moskva 1923 s 78f)
2
  Barghoorn, 84
3
  Idem 85 (orig. Counts(1959): Kruschev and the Central Committee Speak on Education, Pittsburgh
   See also: Pedagogicheski slovar, vol II, Moskva 1960
4
  Anweiler-Rufmann 59
5
  Barghoorn 88 (orig. Bereday et al (1960): The Changing Soviet School, Boston)
                                                                                                             2

leaders. It took Gorbachev’s perestroika in the end of the 1980s to reveal its rottenness
and to cause the collapsing of the system in 1991.

Nikita Kruschev carried two school reforms into effect. According to Barghoorn, they were
very significant politically. One was the establishment of a system of boarding schools,
called internaty. The other was the reintroduction of a modified version of polytechnical
education, which had been experimented on in the 1920s, but had been eliminated by
Stalin and replaced by a principally conventional curriculum.6 However, common to Stalin
and post-Stalin periods alike is the basically manipulative conception of education as “the
definite, the purposeful, and systematic influencing of the mind of the person being
educated in order to imbue him with the qualities desired by the educator.7 According to
Lenin, the morality of Bolsheviks is completely subordinated to the interests of the class
struggle of the proletariat.8 This reminds us of the medieval concept of the Jesuits
according to which the end justifies the means.

In the teaching of history which according to Barghoorn is probably the most important
school discipline for fostering patriotism, the emphasis shifted from the individual to the
“masses” and from the pre-Revolutionary era to the Soviet one, especially after 1958.
According to Vagin, the author of the Soviet method of teaching history, school has to
ensure that the students understand the scientific law of social development. Students are
to be educated in the spirit of the Soviet People´s Revolution and the tradition of work. A
teacher must develop in the students the noble feeling of Soviet patriotism and the
readiness to defend the Socialist fatherland. The students need to be educated to feel
solidarity towards all peoples fighting for their freedom and independence, and to resist the
bourgeois ideology penetrating their consciousness and representing foreign “чуждой”
moral. The program of history was designed to develop a conscious acceptance of the
scientific law of the inevitability of the downfall of Capitalism and the victory of
Communism.9 In hindsight, we can see that this program was successful as long as
acquiring international information was very limited for the Soviet people.

All countries and nations strive to educate their youth in the spirit of patriotism. But
Barghoorn also sees the negative aspect of Soviet patriotism which is strikingly
exemplified by the demand that children be taught hatred for “the enemies of communist
society”. According to Kruschev, it is not possible to become a good fighter for your
people or communism if you do not know how to hate enemies. The other two Soviet
demands were inculcating such attitudes and concepts as “a scientific world outlook” and
“a communist attitude toward labour”.10 During the era of the Russian federation, the
concept of hatred is hardly ever apparent, but a hidden curriculum (we – the others)
nevertheless exists. When a teacher in St. Petersburg asked a visiting Finnish schoolgirl
her name, he commented upon hearing “Katya”: “Krasivoye imya, kak nasha.” (A beautiful
name, resembles our own). In other words: Russia is the benchmark that everything
should be compared to. Furthermore: the Second Chechen war still goes on with heavy
losses on both sides. In the Russian media, the Chechen are only described as bandits
and the authorities do not seem to negotiate at all to end the war. During the last year,

6
  Barghoorn 89, (orig. Azrael ”Soviet Union” in Coleman: Education and Political Development, Princ. 1965)
7
  idem 92 – 93, (orig. Azrael, 264, from a speech by M.A.Kalinin)
8
  idem 93, (orig. Lenin: Izbrannye proizvedeniya, vol II,p 608, Moskva 1943)
9
  idem 94 - 95, (orig. DeWitt: Education and Professional Employment in the USSR, Wash. 1961,
                                                th
   Ezhegodnik bolshoi sovetskoi entsiklopedii, 7 ed. Moskva 1963), Vagin 8
10
   idem 96, (orig. John Beaufort, Christian Science Monitor 22.1.1964)
                                                                                                          3

several black students and representatives of other minorities have been attacked and
killed. These are extreme examples. In this study, I will explore what kind of citizen the
Soviet and Russian history books tried to create. I hope the poet Tyutsev was not right in
saying that Russia cannot be understood using one´s reason; one only has to believe in it.

2. The Marxist-Leninist concept of citizenship

From very early on it was very important for a Soviet student to learn to know the role of
masses and workers in the historical process. According to Vagin, such historical facts as
slave labour used for building the pyramids, the mines of Attica and especially the Roman
Empire have to be emphasized as early as in the fifth form. An individual like Spartacus is
significant only when rebelling against the rulers. The Western historiography has been
criticized for counting long lines of monarchs and warlords from Caesar to Charlemagne,
but this was not the case in the Soviet Union. Instead, a student had to absorb quite a few
slogans, like “the fraternal unity of the Soviet peoples, the friendship with the peoples of
Socialist countries and the solidarity to peoples struggling for their independence in the
spirit of the Proletarian Internationalism”. Preparing oneself constantly to “the destruction
of Capitalism and the definite victory of Communism” was very important, too.
Paradoxically, a teacher is advised to avoid a stereotypical phraseology in his work (!) 11 It
is clear that for example the Greek rationalism, the freedom of speech and the Roman law
“Audiatur est altera pars” are not mentioned at all.

It is interesting that in Vagin´s opinion the atheistic education and the developing of an
atheistic-scientific world view are more important than aestheticism. Most Soviet history
books present a large variety of the products of Russian and Soviet culture. The
remarkable role of religion in fighting science and its best representatives is mentioned as
clearly as the role of the Church as the tool of persecution.12 The reader easily comes to
the conclusion that the Orthodox Church still was an enemy of the Bolshevik regime and
the planners of the curriculum in the 1960s. And in spite of this even President Putin (born
in 1952) has said having been baptized as a child.

There are some interesting examples of Soviet methodology similar to the American
“Reader’s Digest”, i.e. solving problems instantaneously. According to Vagin, the mere
showing of a picture of Taj Mahal illuminates the influence of the Arab culture on India. In
the same way, “the students listen intensively when their teacher reads aloud Lenin´s
declaration to workers, peasants and the Red Army”. There is a great discrepancy in
teaching the importance of statues. When watching the picture of Emperor Augustus, one
should remember that the art served the slave society and confirmed the power of
emperors. Louis XIV declared with all his pictures: “L’état, c’est moi.” But the statue of
Marshal Kutuzov in front of the Kazan Church and the statue of Lenin on the Finskiy
Vokzal (both in Leningrad) only describe their great achievements. 13 The text remains
loyal to the traditional Russian manner of highlighting emotions and feelings. The victories
of great heroes are especially important because they affect the wisdom, emotions and will
of a student in every way. It is clear that there could not appear any doubts in the
methodology towards the system. The predestined aim was that the students understand
the subject in only one way. In a totalitarian society it was impossible to make any difficult

11
   Vagin 9, 88
12
   Idem 10 (We have to admit that the Bolsheviks succeeded in teaching the common man to go voluntarily
to exhibitions, museums, theatres, concerts, opera and ballet.)
13
   Idem 198 – 213
                                                                                           4

questions which could have shaken the basis of the theory. The Western-type pluralism in
philosophy inherited from the French Revolution of 1789 was totally unknown in the Soviet
education of citizenship, whereas it was very important for every student to know the terror
of the Jacobins in 1793. The ideal Soviet citizen was an obeying tool for the authorities in
peace and war, without any criticism.

3. The contents of the Soviet Education of Citizenship: The 19th Century

When describing the Russian era from the beginning of the 19 th century, Soviet authors
mostly underline the Czar´s autocracy, the lack of a constitution and the poor situation of
the suffering proletariat. According to Fedosov, there were no laws or state rules to clarify
the monarch´s power. The Czar ruled the country with the help of a huge army of officials,
supported by landowners. The governors also led their areas without being controlled.
Czarism, leaning on the interests of the nobles, delayed the development of the country.
Fedosov states that the level of Russian economic and social-political development did not
reach that of the West European countries where bourgeois revolutions took place and
capitalism consolidated.14

The Dekabrists were the first ones to protest and rebel against the Czar. They were Nobel
revolutionists. Fedosov cites Lenin, according to whom the stayed far away from the
people who were forgotten and immobile. Dekabrists thought that a revolution could be
made without the masses, supported only by the army led by the members of the Secret
organisation. But the Rebellion of 1825 failed and the new bureaucrat Czar Nikolai I ruled
until 1855. Lenin divided the revolutionary movement into three periods: 1) the
revolutionariness of the Nobel (1825 – 61), 2) the revolutionary-democrat period (or the
one of intelligentsiya) (1861 – 95), and 3) the proletarian period (1895 – 1917). The
fundamental aim of Nikolai I´s domestic policy was to guard the constancy of autocracy
and serfdom. Besides, the Czar supported reactionary governments in Western Europe.
He wanted to send his army to West Europe in 1830 but was not able to do so due to the
Polish rebellion. In 1849, the Russian Czar helped the Austrian government to suppress
the Hungarian rebellion.15

Czar Alexander II was – according to Fedosov – as reactionary as his father.
Nevertheless, he could no longer rule the country through prisons and punishments and so
he gave personal freedom to the serfs in 1861. This was the most important result in the
century-long struggle of the people against serfdom. The peasants got civil rights and the
right to possess property but they still could not leave their village and were restricted to
their area. This got in the way of the developing Russian Capitalism and its progressive
importance. But Lenin stated that after the liberation Russian peasants suffered more
from sinking into poverty, humiliation and defamation than peasants in any other country of
the world.16 Moreover, the industrialization and the forming of the working class caused
the development to turn into the direction of a revolution.

Fedosov widely discusses the revolutionaries of the late 19th century and the members of
Zemlya i Volya (Land and Freedom). Terrorist attacks against officials are admired in this
context. In 1881, Ignatii Grinevski threw grenades at Czar Alexander II and as a
consequence the Emperor died, along with his assassin. The organisation of “The battle

14
   Fedosov 7
15
   Idem 34 – 43, 60 – 61
16
   Idem 108 – 118
                                                                                           5

council of liberation of the working class” led by Vladimir Lenin in 1895 begun the proper
Proletarian movement whose aim was to prepare for the Russian revolution. 17 It is typical
of the Marxist-Leninist historiography that many renewals in Russia such as the building of
railroads and the growing foreign trade were concealed. A student also did not learn a
word about effective bourgeois Prime Ministers like Sergei Witte or Pyotr Stolypin, but
were led to believe that it was acceptable to kill “exploiters”.

4. From the October Revolution to World War II

As late as in 1987, Furayev still praised the results of the Great October. According to
him, the working class not only fought for and obtained the power, but kept it and
destroyed both foreign and domestic enemies. The workers also developed a Socialist
society which helped to create a perfect democracy, a blooming economy that improved
living conditions, and the people´s culture. The revolution changed the entire development
of humankind. The exploiters´ power was seized in many parts of the world and the
development of the World Socialist system was in progress. Socialism was going to win
due to its higher level of human progress.18

The vocabulary used in most history textbooks clearly shows the indoctrination of their
authors. Furayev uses the example of “avtokraticheskii regim”, autocrat regime, i.e. a
system which has concentrated all power in one man’s hands. In this kind of system there
are no representative organs, but the whole society is centralized in the military-
bureaucratic machinery. The people have no power at all and the regime uses it instead
through civil and military officials. Clearly, the author describes the Stalin regime without
naming it, and the reader can understand that it also concerns Western countries.
“Anticommunism” is represented in the same way, and explained as follows: the main
ideal-political weapon of imperialism in the struggle against progressive powers. There is
yet another, nowadays forgotten word “sektantstvo”, which meant the dispersion of the
working class from outside. In Capitalist countries workers were persuaded to join
reformist trade unions, bourgeois parliaments and other mass organisations to render the
workers´ movement passive.19 It still seems rather odd that the omnipresent Western
media and information could not reach Soviet books.

Right after the Revolution there were some avant-garde experiments in the field of
education, too. According to Anweiler, even Krupskaya, Lenin´s spouse, followed the
instructions of both the American school system and that of Marx according to which the
government should not get too involved in school life. But this was an antagonism to
Lenin´s centralized system, not to mention Stalin. In the Soviet Union Stalin´s totalitarian
educational system was called “pedagogy without a child”. Schulgin had written in 1926
that the aim of the school system was not to educate a Russian child to become a child of
the Russian state, but a world citizen, an internationalist understanding the efforts of the
working class as a whole and being ready to fight for the world revolution. The Soviet
Union did not only want its children to defend the fatherland but the global ideals. But then
Stalin erased the idea of a world revolution and introduced “Socialism in one country”. The
great figures of Russian history (Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great)
were highlighted again. Discipline in studies and work were a citizen´s most important
virtues. The hierarchy of school, army and state machinery was legitimated and named

17
   Idem 154 – 188
18
   Furayev 4 – 5
19
   Idem 135 – 139
                                                                                            6

“total service”. 20 According to Barghoorn, school had the right to use sanctions at least
until the 1960s: for severe and continued misbehaviour, expulsion and placement in a
detention home were among the broad gamut of instruments available to Soviet teachers
and school principals for the inculcation of the desired character traits. Personality and
behaviour are in this sense produced, not by the “whims of a free spirit”, but by the
influence of demands upon the individual by society and the state.21

According to the court historian of the CPSU, Maksim Kim, the material and cultural level
of the Soviet people rose significantly until 1940. The country had the possibility not only
to confirm the development of the national economy, but also to build a mass army. The
Lenin Komsomol, the official youth organisation, supported Party organisations in the
military-patriotic education of the youth.22

There is a myth worth mentioning that was taught to millions of Soviet people, that of
Pavlik Morozov. He was, as the journalist Gambrell says, an exemplary young pioneer in
the 1930s, whose devotion to the Soviet cause was so great and so righteous that he
denounced his own father, the chairman of a Soviet village, to the authorities for hoarding
grain. The vicious denouement of this generational conflict secured the boy a place in
Soviet history: he was murdered by a group of "kulak" relatives, allegedly in revenge for
his denunciation. Illustrated biographies of Pavlik were written for children, poems and
songs were composed, movies were made, and Socialist realist paintings conveyed iconic
images of the boy to the national subconscious. After World War II, statues of Pavlik were
erected all over the country, and playgrounds, streets and schools were named after him.
Almost everyone born before 1980 has heard of Pavlik and his heroic deeds.
Nevertheless, according to Catriona Kelly, a fact was a relative concept in the Soviet
Union: it was subject to constant adjustment, even complete metamorphosis, to suit the
ideological requirements of the moment.

Kelly states that there is no record of Pavlik's famous denunciation of his father, Trofim,
and no actual proof that Trofim was ever tried for anything. There is only scant evidence
that the boy's father served as the chair of the village, but this was not even at the time of
the alleged denunciation. Gossip and hearsay suggest that Trofim left his wife and children
to live with another woman. What does seem reasonably certain is that in September
1932, near the end of the First Five-Year Plan - which brought the bloody collectivization of
Soviet agriculture - a 13-year-old boy named Pavel Morozov and his 9-year-old brother,
Fyodor, were found murdered in the woods outside Gerasimovka, a dirt-poor village in the
forests of the Urals province. Within a few weeks, the crime had come to national
attention thanks to an article in Pionerskaya Pravda. Prosecutors contended that Pavlik
had been murdered by a "nest of kulaks" resisting collectivization that included his
grandfather, grandmother, uncle and cousin. These four people were found guilty in late
November and sentenced to be shot. Despite the support of such titans as Maxim Gorky,
who wanted to see a monument to Pavlik on Red Square, the Morozov myth never took off
quite as it was meant to. The age-old taboo against betraying family members ran deep -
even Josef Stalin reportedly disliked the notion of making a hero out of a boy who acted
against his father. Ultimately, "the fact that Pavlik's supreme act was denunciation," Kelly



20
   Anweiler 26, 61, 68 (orig. Na putyah k novoi shkole 1926, n.3,p.16), 70
21
   Barghoorn 97 – 98 (orig. Bereday, Brickman and Read 440 – 449, and N.A. Lyalin 30)
22
   Kim 27
                                                                                                        7

writes, "proved embarrassing even to Soviet patriots."23 Soviet textbooks either did not tell
about Stalin’s great terror in 1937 – 38, the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
in 1939 dividing Europe into spheres of interests, or the heavy losses of the Red Army in
the Winter War with Finland in 1939 – 40.

5. World War II, Velikaya Otechestvennaya Voina

Soviet textbooks have probably told every single detail about the Great Patriotic War from
the Soviet point of view. In this exemplar Kim presents the war events on 90 pages (out of
250) exhaustively while the whole book tells about the era of 1938 – 78. The role of the
school youth was mostly to contribute to the home front for the fighting troops. Half of the
work force was women in the end of 1941.24 In spite of their work, women did not rise to
leading positions in Soviet society, politics or economy. There was a quota for women in
the party organisation, but it was very rare for them to act as chairmen.

Many youngsters worked among partisans on areas occupied by Nazi Germans. Kim
mentions the town Krasnodon in Donbass in which there was a Komsomol organisation
“Molodaya gvardiya”, The Young Guard, whose members are mentioned by name. They
activated inhabitants to fight, destroyed enemy soldiers and officers as well as traitors of
the fatherland. They liberated Soviet PGs and saved people from being transported to
Germany as slave labour. Gestapo then arrested nearly all of them, interrogated them and
threw them into a deep coal mine.25 Kim has told this and other stories convincingly, as
required by Vagin, in order to deeply influence the emotions of the young reader.

According to the official war report, and Kim, the Red Army liberated Eastern and Central
Europe from Nazi aggressors. This course of war events proves that the victory of the SU
was not a co-incidence but a legal consequence of the war.26 For more than 45 years, the
argument given by the Soviet leaders to their people asking for consumer goods, the
freedom of speech, eradicating censorship et cetera was “first we have to rebuild the
country after the war”.

6. From a Super Power to stagnation

The years from the end of the war to Stalin’s death (1945 – 53) were still times of hardship
for the Soviet people. It was not possible to express any other opinions but the official
one. Dissidents were sent to Gulags, the camps of forced labour. No stories were printed
but a long tradition of oral history gave necessary information to the citizens. Only after
the collapse of 1991 could the historians talk about the suppressed people or war
prisoners returning home who had not been liberated but sent to concentration camps.
Things improved gradually after the Krushcev détente. The Soviet Union was very proud
of sending the Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin into space in 1957 and 1961, respectively. The
country also had nuclear weapons built and enlarged its sphere of interests in Africa and
Asia. It is no wonder that Kim calls the Soviet man a warrior and a builder who stays in the


23
  Jamey Gambrell in The Moscow Times 19.8.2005 (about the book by Catriona Kelly: Comrade Pavlik: The
Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero, Granta Books )
24
   Kim 47
25
   Kim 77 – 78
26
   Idem 117
                                                                                                           8

global spotlight.27 A Soviet anecdote from these years asks if there was any disadvantage
in winning the war and liberating the Nazi-occupied countries. The answer is yes because
The Red Army saw Europe, and Europe saw the Red Army.

Kim claims that democracy developed in the SU in the 1960s through the growth and
consolidation of mass organisations like trade unions and Komsomol who formed the most
active social movements. The common military service and serving in the armed forces
were considered obligatory among the leaders. The historical dates were very important in
the education of citizenship. Every student took part in the 50 th Anniversary of Revolution
in 1967, in Lenin’s 100 year birthday in 1970 not to mention the annual Victory Day on May
9th. Kim proudly presents the Baikal-Amur railroad as a glorious example of Socialist work.
According to this beautiful image of the Soviet Union, the country was a paradise on earth
especially for the youth and students.28 When the former Soviet citizen and the latter
President of Estonia, Lennart Meri, was asked at what point he was convinced that the
Soviet Union would collapse, he answered: “In 1980, while I was shooting a film in Siberia.
I saw people stealing rails from a railroad construction site.” This was the truth behind the
façade.

The Soviet image was even more shining in the texts written to foreigners. The book
“Education in the USSR” advertises for example the international education of the Soviet
school in two volumes from the 1970s. Russian is taught as an optional second language
along with the native language in the Union Republics, and Russian has become the
language of international communication and co-operation among the peoples of the
USSR. One of the principles of Soviet society is to bring up the children and young people
as patriots and internationalists. During all their years at school, children are taught to be
humane, respect national customs and traditions and to abhor any manifestation of
prejudice or discrimination. The future citizens of the Soviet Union are brought up in an
atmosphere of friendship with all peoples, they are taught the high principles of solidarity
with the working people of all countries and to be true to the ideas of peace. 29 This makes
one ask some questions that are frequently asked in the contemporary political debate:
Why could the great majority not learn such foreign languages as English, German and
French? Why was the “international” communication limited within the borders of the
Soviet Union? Why did the Russians always get apartments before the natives for
example in the occupied Baltic states? Why did so many million Soviet people live in
kommunalkys (communal quarters) – and still do? Why did so many Soviet anecdotes tell
about “Gruzian burzhui” (Georgian bourgeoisie)? Why could a common Soviet worker
only travel to Bulgaria or Yugoslavia on his holiday but not to Spain or Italy? If Socialism
really was invincible, why was it so important to protect the youth from the “Capitalist
poison”?30

The real life in Soviet republics differed very much from those idealistic words in textbooks.
A Lithuanian Doctor Rytis Bulota (born 1972) from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas
gave a lecture in Turku concerning Nationalism in the Communist Bloc. He said that the
SU was a feudal state, not a Soviet one. Russians always were “the others” in the
Lithuanian SSR. Only 2 – 3 % of marriages were between Lithuanians and Russians.

27
   Idem 162, Tugusova-Skorospelova 358
28
   Idem 183 – 224
29
   Kuzin et al, 14, 119
30
   All the leaders of Komsomol I met in the SU in the 1970s wore black suits and were veterans of WW II.
   See also Smith, passim.
                                                                                                            9

Bulota went to a kindergarten where a group of Russian military officers´ children were in a
group of their own. The kindergarten teachers´ worst threat to Lithuanian children was: “If
you do not behave yourself, we will put you in the Russian group!”31

The time of the détente started in the beginning of the 1970s. Furayev explains it with the
expansion of economic, political and armed power of the Soviet Union and the whole
Socialist Unity. The SU and the USA negotiated more about military-strategic issues than
NATO and the Warsaw pact. The SU worked actively with other Socialist countries in
order to fulfil the Peace programme and to liquidate the Cold war. The international
Communist and Worker’s movement resisted successfully the aggressive course of
imperialism. The new independent developing countries denied being a passage for the
imperialistic foreign policy. The common crisis of Capitalism grew and the social
antagonism between imperialist countries deepened. The threat of a nuclear war rose,
which would have been a catastrophe for the entire humankind. But fortunately the
leaders of Capitalist countries felt that the political realism would lead to the end of the cold
war.32 This is a typical black-and-white Soviet explanation in which all the blame for a
threatening war was placed on the potential enemy, the West. According to the official
doctrine of the Soviet Union, the first strike in a nuclear war against the USA would have
been possible.

Soviet sources frequently criticize both the lecture and “seminar” portions of political
courses. According to Barghoorn, on the basis of what can be learned about the
seminars, which have been required since 1938, it can safely be said that they certainly do
not foster “independent” or “creative” thinking, at least as the words are understood in the
West. At the university Komsomol activities the students, as well as the professors, are
encouraged to participate in mass educational work. This too, includes special lectures on
political subjects, such as the “international situation”.33

In spite of these world-hugging thoughts, the Soviet Union fell behind the West in
technology, consumer goods, apartments etc. In the Breshnev era from 1965 to 1982, the
middle age in the Politburo rose from 55 to 68 years, and the office thus got the nickname
“Gerontocracy”. In 1979 Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and became directly involved
in someone else’s civil war. According to Volkogonov, in 1989 when Soviet forces left the
country, they had paid for it with 13 826 Soviet lives and 49 985 Soviets injured.34 And the
“Afgantsy”, veterans suffering from the consequences of this war, were not included in
these figures. There was a considerable difference between the official image given by
the Soviet leaders and the reality people lived in.

7. From Perestroika to the Collapse

When Mihail Gorbachev was elected the First Secretary, he probably saw what was really
going on in the country, unlike his older predecessors. But he was still forced to market
new ideas in old covers. And he seems to have believed in keeping the Soviet Union
united based on his decision to send tanks to Vilnius and Riga in 1991. According to
Kukushkin, the 27th Party Congress in 1986 once again had a “Revolutionary Character”.
Still, the slogans sound very familiar: Perestroika guarantees the overall development of

31
   Dr. Rytis Bulota, University of Turku 26.4.2006
32
   Furayev 253 – 254
33
   Barghoorn 104 (orig. Vestnik vysshei shkoly, Oct 1948), 105, Leningrad University wall newspaper 1963)
34
   Volkogonov 297
                                                                                          10

democracy to the working masses, Socialist self-government, the strengthening of
discipline and order, the extension of transparency as well as critique and self-critique in
all areas of society.35 Every Western observer had to confess that the CPSU had found
the essential problems in the country. It is another matter whether anybody really wanted
to solve them.

The explosion of the nuclear power station in Chernobyl in April 1986 is documented in
Kukushkin’s book which is a proof of Glasnost, openness. In the 1950s it would have
been censored firmly. But the official Perestroika explanation was that the rulers of the
country, the Central committee of the CPSU and Gorbachev, really wanted to renew the
Soviet Union. But there was “mehanism tormoshenija”, a braking mechanism in the
construction of the party and the country, torpedoing all attempts at modernizing the
eternal Russia. No-one was blamed, vice versa: there are lots of pictures of the heroes of
Socialist work.36 The idea was of course to inspire the youth to study and work hard in
order to raise the standard of living and the prestige of the country.

There is a long tradition of appreciating “the magic of words” in Russia. Kukushkin
presents two agricultural terms: intensifikatsiya and uskoreniye, (intensification and
acceleration) because he admires the Kolkhozes and Sovhozes that develop their
production effectively “from the field to the table”, especially in the Baltic states. Quite
similarly, the Soviet space industry is thought to be extraordinary. But the Soviet working
life in general needs to be activated and the role of work collectives should be more
important. The social role of culture should be emphasized as well. 37 It is possible for the
reader to play with words: intensification does not work without incentives. When this book
was published in 1988, the “Singing Revolution” was already on its way in Estonia.

Kukushkin blames “bourgeois falsifiers” for efforts to make the Soviet people distrust the
party programme. Falsifiers used old versions of economic utopias as well as the
“unreality” of the conditions of Socialism, and advertised the prescriptions of Capitalist
economy. They also published some theses concerning the development of Socialism
working as a hindering element in raising the standard of living. Kukushkin does not see
any rapprochement between the two systems. He states that revolutions are legal results
of the social development and class struggle in every single country. The book ends with
Gorbachev´s words: “October and Perestroika. The Revolution continues.” 38 It must have
been frustrating for a Soviet student to learn these lines at a time when all information
presented ample proof of the coming change. Barghoorn on the other hand highlights the
role of the family: it does act as an impediment in full and enthusiastic acceptance of the
official system of beliefs, especially of those that stress militancy, total conformity, and
instant adaptation to shifting official demands.39

8. On the ruins of Socialism

The collapse of 1991 caused changes in textbooks that already began to show the
following year. Zharova and Mishina have included such expressions as “On the way to
bourgeois progress in 1905 – 1917” and “Russia between the two bourgeois revolutions in

35
   Kukushkin 221
36
   Idem, passim, see also Tugusova-Skorospelova 414-415
37
   Idem 224 – 259
38
   Idem 269 – 271
39
   Barghoorn 109
                                                                                          11

1907 – 1917”. This is the very first time after seventy years that the concept of “bourgeois
democracy” can be seen as positive in Russian textbooks. Likewise, the authors describe
the cornerstone of the Soviet system, the collectivization, as a tragedy for peasant
drudges. The collectivization started in 1928 – 29, and was the fourth great peasant
reform in the country. According to Communist doctrine, the Kulak was not suitable for the
administratively planned economy as an independent landowning farmer who himself
produced goods. As he had employees on his own farm, he was an exploiter and was
therefore considered to be a class enemy.40

On his journey to Siberia in 1928, Stalin insisted on creating a Socialist system not only in
industry but also in agriculture. According to Zharova and Mishina, this caused a crisis
within the party when Bukharin opposed Stalin´s ideas. In the summer of 1929, the
dictator declared his collectivization program. The Pravda then reported how the peasants
went to Kolkhozes in groups consisting of people from entire villages and areas. But for
the Kulaks it was impossible to move to a Kolkhoz. By 1930 more than 50 % of the
peasants were in Kolkhozes. The state started immediately to socialize their houses,
cattle and even poultry. Leasing land and employing workers became forbidden and the
rest of the Kulaks´ property was confiscated. The students can be asked a very important
question after they have read the memoirs of a Kulak’s son: “How can it be explained that
a powerful farmer did not want to work anywhere after these events but chose to drink for
the rest of his life?”41

The famine of 1932 – 33 was a sad consequence of the collectivization that according to
Zharova and Mishina killed about 25 – 30 million people. Mothers stole grain from Kolkhoz
fields for hungry children; workers brought seeds home in their pockets, under their shirts
etc. A law was made to punish these “provocateurs”. Within five months, more than 2,000
people (including several women) were shot for these crimes in 1932. Mentioning the
word “hunger” in public was considered a crime causing a sentence of 3 – 5 years in
prison. Especially in the Ukraine entire villages died in these years. Dogs, cats and other
pets were eaten and parents even ate their dead children. Consequently, Stalin revised his
politics in agriculture: kolkhozniks were allowed to have small pieces of land, two cows,
etc. However, after a colossal number of victims, collectivization ended in 1937 with 93 %
of the former farms being annexed to the kolkhozes. The authors ask another pertinent
question: “How was it possible for every citizen of the SU to get a passport allowing them
to travel in 1932, the kolkhozniks excluded?”42

The 1930s was a dark period. From the historic-graphical point of view we can conclude
that all relevant documents had been well guarded in the archives, but censored from the
published textbooks. The oral history became official at the first opportunity. The
collectivization and hunger have always been described correctly e.g. in Finnish textbooks.
But no Soviet student could read this information about the destructive events in Russian
agriculture for sixty years. Even Nikita Krushcev did not mention hunger in the speech in
which he judged Stalin and his personal cult in 1956.

Another example of the existing variants is given by Ostrovski et al. In a commanding-
administrative society it was not possible to publicly examine and ponder the direction in
which the country would go after Stalin’s death in 1953. Something had to be done, and

40
   Zharova – Mishina 3, 281
41
   Idem 281 – 285
42
   Idem 285 – 287
                                                                                         12

Krushcev actually tried, but the de-Stalinization did not start liquidating the totalitarian
regime because the society was not ready for it. There were changes, though: for
example, the dogmatic pressure on culture weakened. The arrest of Lavrenti Berija, the
head of the Security police NKVD in June 1953 was an event that really symbolized
change. All the other leaders feared him because he had kept files on every single one of
them since the October revolution. He had also survived every problem during Stalin´s
terror. He was sentenced to death in a court of law and shot in December 1953.43

The reasons for the slow technological development were political. According to Ostrovski
and Utkin, the political confrontation between the East and the West stopped the Soviet
Union from acquiring Western technology as it had done in the 1920s and 1930s. The
economy of the country was highly centralized, and the financial and economic renewals
did not answer the needs of the masses. The best results were achieved in military
technology – the industry was harnessed to serve the needs of the military munition
industry. The government not only adopted the aspects of the Communist doctrine during
the Cold war, but also some patriotic values exceeding the limits of Chauvinism for the
most part. On the other hand, none of the new leaders wanted to repeat the Great purges
of 1937 – 38. In the Post-Stalin era, new groups were formed in the Soviet society, such
as the military and scientific-technological specialists. They were very useful for the
government and profited from this.44

The Soviet Union had its greatest post-war triumphs in the competition of conquering
space. Ostrovski and Utkin tell about the Soviet launch of the first Sputnik in 1957, which
was a real shock to the USA and its educational system. The second shock came in April
1961 when Yuri Gagarin circled the globe as the first human being to do so. But there
were setbacks, too: nobody told the people about the nuclear accident in Kysty near
Chelyabinsk in 1957 which polluted a great area radioactively. Krushcev made an effort to
renew the school system. The idea was to connect education more effectively with
production by working in factories twice a week. There was also an interesting change in
teaching history: the dogma of the short course of the CPSU was omitted. Stalin´s role as
a leader was reconsidered and it became forbidden to mention his name without critique.
A student was to remember the actions of the Soviet Headquarters in the Great Patriotic
War, but not the names of those responsible.45

Changes made by Krushcev renewed the Soviet Union, but the nomenclature was unclear.
According to Ostrovski and Utkin, the elite resisted change and restored the former
ideology as the most important factor of social and governmental life. Their unofficial
slogan was: “You, the people, do not resist our ideological basis. We, the political elite,
will find a way to satisfy your minimal needs.” Krushcev disagreed and had to resign in
1964. He had not forgotten his years as Stalin´s main executor in the Ukraine in the
1930s. Tugusova and Skorospelova describe the events in Novocherkassk in 1962 where
the inhabitants protested and demonstrated against the rising prices of meat, butter and
municipal services. The troops of the MID (the Ministry for Internal affairs) opened fire on
the crowd, killing dozens of people. Their successors, led by Breshnev, tried to improve
the standard of living. The biggest problem was that people had money, but there were
hardly any goods and services available in the market anymore. The long queues in which


43
   Ostrovski et al. 134 – 142
44
   Ostrovski – Utkin 360 – 361
45
   Idem 374 – 375
                                                                                        13

people had to stand for hours symbolized these times.46 An anecdote compares Breshnev
to a driver saying: ”Close your eyes and imagine that this train is moving.”

During the same period, Barghoorn described the world view of students who would
become future leaders of the Soviet society. They were imbued with the peculiar mixture
of anti-capitalism and nationalism known as the Soviet patriotism. He even predicted that
a gradual disintegration of ideological orthodoxy would not deprive the Soviet elite of its
arsenal of unifying myths and sentiments. Patriotism and nationalism, especially Russian
nationalism, would doubtless continue to flourish, especially if domestic and foreign
policies succeeded. Still, in the future, the Soviet leaders would have to employ more
sophisticated methods and greater finesse than they had if they were to maintain even the
contemporary (the 1960s) level of support among the youth, particularly at the higher
levels of education.47 This helped – for some time.

In spite of the increasing information about the Western circumstances, the Soviet Union
still believed in slogans and even prescribed a new constitution based on the concept of
developing Socialism in 1977. According to Tugusova and Skorospelova, the SU should
have been a society where people´s energies would be liberated to scientific and cultural
work and where the standard of living would constantly grow so that every citizen could
fulfil his needs and each social task would be performed effectively. The role of
nomenclature grew under Breshnev and people were only interested in their own welfare
and privileges. There were special restaurants, groceries, fashion shops, sanatoriums,
hunting cottages etc. for the responsible workers of the party. Flattery, protection and
nepotism also grew. The only way to get a well-paid job was to know the right person.
Professionalism and competence were not appreciated as much as the worker´s personal
contacts. The mere membership of Komsomol and later that of the CPSU guaranteed a
career and a consequent rising to a leading position. In the 6th paragraph of the
constitution it was said that the leading power of the Soviet society and the core of its
political system as well as governmental and social organisations was the CPSU. That
meant ideological control over every citizen. Samizdat was born in order to resist this:
people started to publish journals of their own without censorship, they typed and copied
them in basements and warehouses.48 The beautiful words of the constitution were
insufficient due to the shortage of high quality imported goods all over in the country -
people had to queue for hours to get them. People looked for necessary household
appliances which were hardly produced in the SU in those days. 49

The ineffective work and the stability of the society led to a dead end. According to
Ostrovski and Utkin, the new generation born after the war sought an opportunity to show
its talents. But there were limits in every branch: the administration, economy, science
and culture. In practice, the Soviet Socialism lost its attractiveness among workers in
these years. A reconstruction or the Perestroika was unavoidable, and as we know,
Gorbachev tried this. But as the authors point out, one key factor in developing
democracy is the possibility for a citizen to vote in free elections without any fear of
pressure. For decades, Soviet people were only allowed to choose from the candidates of
one party and one commanding-bureaucratic system. Furthermore, free elections require
responsibility of the voters and that was something the Soviet majority did not have. But

46
   Idem 395 – 404, Tugusova-Skorospelova 380
47
   Barghoorn 111
48
   Tugusova-Skorospelova 387-389
49
   Idem 394
                                                                                        14

some things changed: the Academic Saharov who was expelled to Gorki (Nizhny
Novgorod) after resisting the invasion to Afghanistan in 1980, was released in 1986, and a
group of new parties was born in the late 1980s.50

In 1989 the history of the five year plans ended. According to Ostrovski and Utkin, none of
the drafted 12 plans was accomplished after 1928. The shortage of goods caused a
“sugar crisis”, a “tea crisis” and even a “tobacco crisis” in 1989 – 90. Demonstrators
insisted on the resignation of the government. Accordingly, people wanted to fill in the
white spots in history writing - they wanted to combine the positive and negative events of
history in the right way. The independent movements of the Baltic States stimulated
several aspirations to sovereignty in other republics of the SU, but they also caused
conflicts and bloodshed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In August 1991, the old
Communist bloc made a Putsch in the Soviet administration while Gorbachev was on
vacation. They failed because there no longer was any support in the infrastructure. The
President of the Russian federation, Boris Yeltsin, stood on a tank and declared the
members and the action of the junta to be illegal. In September 1991, the Duma
recognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. On December 26 th the
story of the SU came to an end.51 “Proletarii vseh stran, izvinite.” (Proletarians of all
countries, forgive us.)

9. The interregnum

The euphoria of democracy gave birth to nearly 60 political parties in Russia in the first
years after the collapse. There were correct Western-type parties, but also some others
like “Lyubitelei piva”, “Friends of beer”. In any case, according to Shumilov, the economic
situation was a more pertinent problem. The transformation to the market economy, free
prices and the “Shock therapy” of Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar led to inflation and a
deeper shortage of goods. On August 17 th 1998 the Russian rouble lost two thirds of its
value. After having changed the Prime Minister four times, Yeltsin managed to stabilize
the economy until spring 1999.52 Having lived in Moscow at the time, I can say that the
August events had been crucial for Russian industry. The strongly rising prices of
imported goods forced Russians to develop their own production. The first foreign product
I found in a supermarket that made me wonder was a frozen chicken imported from Brazil,
as if “kuricha” (a hen) could not be raised in the Russian countryside.

An effort to return the old regime was made in October 1993, headed by Ruchkoi and
Khasbulatov. They occupied the White House of the government with their supporters and
did not yield before tanks fired at the house, by Yeltsin´s orders. Yeltsin had given these
orders that were based on the constitution, but they made some radical democrats call
Russia a “Presidential monarchy”.53 Shumilov and Ryabikin admit that the collapse of the
Soviet Union started a decentralization process as well as nationalism and regionalism in
Russia. In the republics the power moved to the hands of the national elite. A federal
agreement allowed more rights to the national-governmental education system of the
republics compared to the Russian regions. Peoples suppressed by the Stalin regime



50
   Ostrovski – Utkin 430 – 440
51
   Idem 453 – 467, Tugusova-Skorospelova 427-432
52
   Shumilov – Ryabikin 408 – 421, Tugusova-Skorospelova 436-438
53
   Idem 425
                                                                                         15

were rehabilitated. In some republics the Russians´ living conditions worsened and they
began to immigrate to the Russian federation.54

In the Soviet era, the censorship silenced all who wanted to report any kind of national
conflict. Shumilov and Ryabikin give the Russian point of view about the first Chechnyan
process. General Dzokhar Dudayev took the power in Chechnya in 1991, but his
government was consireded to be an illegal one by the High Council of the RF. The
Federal troops therefore tried to conquer Grozny in 1994 but the conflict rapidly escalated
to a full scale war. The Russian government was not pleased about Dudayev´s activity
which was a threat to unity, territorial wholeness and the sovereignty of Russia. Cutting
down the railroad connections between Baku and the Black sea would have stopped the
export of oil from this area. The West had invested about 8, 5 billion dollars in the oil
business in order to build a new pipeline through Georgia and Turkey. At the same time a
person (whose identity is not specified) from the life guard of the Russian president,
managed the national security insufficiently in the South, did not show any governmental
wisdom, patience, mastering diplomacy, or understanding of the historical and cultural
traditions of the mountain peoples. The war became a dead end in trying to solve the
problem. Led by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, the rebels took hostages in
Budyonnovsk in 1995 with a result of several dead and wounded. According to Shumilov
and Ryabikin, President Yeltsin then sent General Alexander Lebed to negotiate with the
rebels in which he succeeded in August 1996.55

Shumilov and Ryabikin are of the opinion that the Russian educational system was forced
to an economical crisis. It had to absorb new and different methods which at least opened
the door for commercial pedagogy.56 For many years there had been rumours about
corruption in electing students to the universities in Russia that finally got some media
attention. According to “Nezavisimaya gazeta”, anybody could buy a certificate e.g. of a
Master of Science in Vladivostok, Chelyabinsk etc. There also are companies specialized
in doing research for a client, in Moscow too.57 This was possible since there was no
national register of passed exams. But the legitimacy and respect of an educational
system tends to disappear when it loses its reliability.

The prestige of any country is very important among all nations. It is even more so to
Russia because of the respect that the Soviet Union had in its powerful days. Levandovsky
and Shcetinov describe how The Great 7 supported Russia during the crises both in 1991
and 1993. But the European part of the Russian Federation became practically a half-
isolated territory inside its continent. The authors also discuss the Russian fear for being
limited in their sovereign rights from outside, for example by the Baltic Countries. They
repeat the Soviet phrases about the uniqueness of Russia in the 20 th century: there were
three national revolutions, a civil war, two World Wars, unfulfilled wishes of making people
happy and abstract plans given from above. For the second time in this century, Russia is
trying to find its way to the main stream of the development of humankind – and at the
same time maintain their national traditions.         The future can therefore be seen
optimistically.58 In this context this statement shows clearly how selfish a Great Power


54
   Shumilov-Ryabikin 435-436
55
   Idem 438
56
   Idem 454
57
   Nezavisimaya gazeta No 58 (24.3.06)
58
   Levandovsky – Shcetinov 332 – 353
                                                                                              16

can be, even when it is weak. And there are no signs of giving up the censorship or the
silence concerning certain things like the Great Terror of Stalin.

Since the regime of Yeltsin was uncertain (there was a freedom of speech but very
unstable economy), Russia again took two steps backwards by electing Vladimir Putin
president. According to Tugusova and Skorospelova, power was thus once again returned
to the hands of the president. Governors and senators are no longer elected by the
people but by the president. Putin tries to raise the prestige of Russia among other heads
of state e.g. by developing its production and army. These authors also claim that Russia
is preparing to join the European Union.59

10. Modifying the new view

The social reforms in the Russian federation caused a change in thinking. According to
Bezborodov et al., the mental and moral circumstances of the country now are a mix two
cultures, the Western one and the East European one that includes some characteristics
of Asian mentality. The first one is grounded on the rights and needs of an individual; the
second one always prioritizes the group and society. The authors admit that no solution
for a model of the new Russia has been found. There are several variations still coexisting
in the Russian society: a) the classical Soviet Socialism, b) the new modernized Socialism,
c) the mixed Society, d) the classical Bourgeois Society, e) the birth of the Super Power, f)
the mental birth and g) Monarchism. At the end of the book there is a declaration of the
needs of the young Russian generation. It requires a stable democracy, rulers with clearly
limited authority who are there to serve, a citizen’s society with a large net of institutions, a
possibility to have private property, an honourable and transparent business life and law-
abiding taxpayers.60 In a Western reader´s opinion these are great ideas, but they will
most likely not be realized in Russia in the near future.

After the tumultuous events of the early 1990s some positive results could be seen, too.
Zagladin et al. have listed the new opportunities as follows: the demand and the supply
began to stay in balance - there were not only necessities in the shops but also items that
had earlier been sold only to the privileged elite. The threat of hunger, felt in many areas
in 1989 – 91, was avoided. A structural renewal of the economy began, e.g. the
investments in the military-industrial complex decreased, which helped the other branches
of economy considerably. A part of production was privatized and liberated from
governmental control. This made economical initiatives possible although all the factory
managers were not ready for it. Many workers who had lost their jobs started buying and
selling. The overall openness of the society grew. Russians got to learn about the
science and culture of foreign countries, to buy imported goods and to engage in tourism
more than ever before.61

The Soviet era can only be judged in one way. According to Zagladin et al., people were
their rulers´ pawns, and the rulers´ aims did not correspond with the interests of the Soviet
peoples. The military juxtaposition of the SU and the USA led to a cul-de-sac including the
threat of a nuclear war. Russia succeeded in its task of transforming its economy to a
market one, and at the same time creating a democracy in a vast country without a civil


59
   Tugusova-Skorospelova 440-441
60
   Bezborodov et al. 386 – 388, 423
61
   Zagladin et al. 329 – 330
                                                                                           17

war.62 One can still wonder whether their current democracy and freedom of speech really
are Western-style.

The nomination of seven presidential representatives in the administrative areas can be
seen as a sign of returning to more centralized control. Their job consists of controlling the
execution of the ukases given by the President. In Shcagin and Lubkov´s opinion, this
means consolidating the governmental regime. The authors also mention the forum of
citizens, organized in Moscow in 2001, where thousands of delegates of various
organisations were able to talk with their rulers. The role of the Orthodox Church has
become more important with support of the Kremlin.63 On the other hand, corruption has
grown during President Putin´s era. The number of corruption crimes increased 20 % in
2004 alone.64 A researcher can easily be tempted to claim that corruption, na tshai, is
something typical of Russia, regardless of its political system. Nevertheless, when it
comes to corruption, the country can be classified to the same level as Albania and Sierra
Leone.

11. Conclusions

After the October Revolution of 1917, it took about 20 years for the Soviet Union to make
some different experiments in education. The creation of Homo Sovieticus consisted of
putting children to kindergartens thus decreasing the importance of their families. But in
1937, things came full circle and the country returned to the tradition of the Russian
Empire. It was not ideal for an individual to think independently. As a member of the
collective, a Soviet citizen wore some kind of uniform most of his life. At the same time,
Stalin organized his famous trials where thousands of party members, military officers and
ordinary citizens were forced to confess taking wrong measures or even thinking in the
incorrect way. Afterwards they were shot. These events did not follow the principles of
Roman justice according to which a person is innocent until he is proven guilty. In the
Soviet opinion, a person is guilty unless he can prove himself innocent.

The ideal Soviet citizen was his rulers´ obeying tool in peace and war without any criticism.
As the main organization of the socialisation, the school had the right to use sanctions at
least until the 1960s: for severe and continued misbehaviour, expulsion and placement in
a detention home were among the broad gamut of instruments available to Soviet teachers
and school principals for the inculcation of desired traits of character. Personality and
behaviour were in this sense produced, not by the “whims of a free spirit”, but by the
influence of demands upon the individual by society and the state. For the time being, the
slogans of Soviet propaganda lost their effectiveness. The sound of perestroika,
uskoreniye, intensifikatsiya, and glasnost lost their glamour when there was a constant
deficiency in the shops on the grass-roots level. But like Bernard Levin wrote in London in
1977 when predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union, there really was no gunfire in the
streets, no barricades (except in 1991 and1993), no general strikes, no hanging of
oppressors from lamp-posts, no sacking and burning of government offices, no seizure of
radio stations, or mass defections among the military. Levin even guessed that the
collapsing would start on July 14th 1989, and did not err much.65


62
   Idem 371 – 372
63
   Shcagin – Lubkov 417 – 421
64
   www.bof.fi 10.2.2005 (The State Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov)
65
   Levin, The Times London 1977
                                                                                                          18

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has not been a single accepted way of
educating citizens in the Russian federation. According to some history teachers I
interviewed, many of them had still continued on the Marxist-Leninist way for some years
at least. Then the textbooks changed and became very similar to Western ones. During
the last 3 – 4 years, there have again been some signs of the traditional Russian concept
of education: Russia is different, Russia has got a culture of its own, and Russia does not
necessarily aim at the same goals as the West does. Russia again claims to protect the
West - in the fight against terrorism after September 11th 2001 - against the Islamite
terrorists on the Caucasus. Every foreigner visiting or living in Russia can observe the
change in building and enterprising that has already taken place. A return to the former
Soviet system could hardly happen. But it would be naive to expect the rapid forming of a
sound market economy without corruption, the freedom of speech and a real citizen’s
society in Russia.
Sources:

Anweiler, Oskar - Ruffmann, Karl-Heinz (1973): Kulturpolitik der Sowjetunion, Stuttgart, Alfred Kröner Verlag

Barghoorn, Frederick C. (1966); Politics in the USSR, Boston, Little, Brown and Company

Bezborodov, A.B. et al.(2001): Istoriia Rossii, Noveisheye vremya (1945 – 1999), Moskva, Olimp

Fedosov, I.A. (1988): Istoriia SSSR, uchebnik dlya 8 klassa srednei shkoli, Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Furayev, V.K. (1987): Noveishaia istoriia 1917 – 1939 (9. kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Gambrell, Jamey: A Designer Childhood, in “The Moscow Times” 19.8.2005

Kim, Maksim P. (1980): Istoriia SSSR (1938 – 1978 gg.) (10 kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Kukushkin, Y.S. et al (1988): Istoriia SSSR (10 kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Kuzin et al (1977): Education in the USSR (Narodnoye obrazovanie v SSSR), Moscow, Progress

Levandovsky, A.A. – Shcetinov, Y.A. (2001): Rossiia v XX veke (10-11 kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Ostrovski, V.P. et al (1992): Istoriia otechestva 1939 – 1991 (11kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Ostrovski, V.P. – Utkin, A.I. (1995): Istoriia Rossii XX vek (11 kl), Moskva, Drofa

Shcagin, E.M. – Lubkov, A.V. (2004): Noveishaya otechestvennaya istoriia, Moskva, Vlados

Shumilov, M.M. – Ryabikin, S.P.(2000): Istoriia Rossii, tom 2, Moskva, Izdatelstvo “Olma-Press”

Smith, Hedrick (1976): Venäläiset amerikkalaisen silmin (orig. The Russians), Helsinki, WSOY

Tugusova, G.V. – Skorospelova, V.A. (2001): Istoriia otechestva, Rostov-na-Donu, Feniks

Vagin, A.A. (1968): Metodika prepodavaniia istorii v srednei shkole, Moskva, Prosvescheniye

Volkogonov,Dmitri(1998): The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, Glasgow, Harper Collins Publishers

Zagladin, N.V - Minakov, S.T. – Kozlenko, S.I. – Petrov, J,A (2002):
                            Istoriia otechestva XX vek, Moskva, ”Russkoye slovo”

Zharova, L.N. – Mishina, I.A.(1992): Istoriia otechestva 1900 – 1940 (10 kl), Moskva, Prosvescheniye

The Moscow Times 2005 – 06, online, Nezavisimaya Gazeta 2006, online, Bernad Levin in The Times 1977

				
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posted:11/10/2011
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