HISTORY 33: TOPICS IN SOVIET HISTORY

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION

SPRING 2004

 

Bob Weinberg                                                       Office Hours: Mondays 2-4

Trotter 218                                                                                    Tuesdays 2-4

8133                                                                                              Wednesdays 2-4

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We begin with an examination of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and pay special attention to the establishment of the Stalinist political, social, economic, and cultural systems,  After devoting attention to the strengths and weaknesses of Stalin regime, we will turn our gaze to the post-Stalinist era and focus on the factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The course will finish on the enduring legacy of communist rule and the consequences of the former Soviet Union’s embrace of the free market.

 

Course Requirements

 

Attendance and participation in class discussions

Three four-page papers.  You will have a choice of selecting from four papers during the course of the semester.

Eight-page final paper

 

Except for required books, all readings are available on Blackboard.  In addition, I have placed on course reserve the following texts.  You are required to consult one of the texts as we progress through the course.

 

Required Books(Also on Reserve)

 

Stephen Cohen, Failed Crusade

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism

Bruce Grant, In the Soviet House of Culture

Stephen Kotkin, Armageddon Averted

Moshe Lewin, The Gorbachev Phenomenon, 2nd and revised edition

Valentin Rasputin, Siberia on Fire

 

Reserve Texts

 

Geoffrey Hosking, The First Socialist Society

David MacKenzie and Michael Curran, A History of the Soviet Union

Ronald Suny, The Soviet Experiment

John Thompson, A Vision Unfulfilled

 

Week One: Roots of the Stalinist System

 

January 20: The Revolutionary Promise

 

January 22: Historians and the Course of Soviet History

 

Stephen Cohen, “Scholarly Missions”

Stephen Cohen, “Bolshevism and Stalinism”

 

Week Two: The Stalinist System

 

January 27: The Stalinist System

 

Lewis Siegelbaum, “Building Stalinism, 1929-1941”

Lev Kopelev, “The Last Grain Collections”

Maxim Gorky, “Socialist Realism”

“Stalin, Vodka, and Herring”

Document 170: NKVD Operational Order Concerning the Punishment of Former Kulaks

 

January 29: The Cult of Stalin

 

Week Three: World War II and Stalin’s Last Years

 

February 3: The Devastation of War

 

William C. Fuller, Jr., “The Great Fatherland War and Late Stalinism, 1941-1953”

Harrison Salisbury, “The Sleds of the Children,” “A New Kind of Crime,” and “The Leningrad Apocalypse”

 

February 5: Life under Uncle Joe

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism


Week Four: Stalin’s Last Hurrah

 

February 10: Film

 

FIRST FOUR-PAGE PAPER DUE BY FEBRUARY 10.  YOU MAY SUBMIT ANYTIME BEFORE FEBRUARY 10.

 

February 12: Enemies Everywhere

 

The Campaign Against `Cosmopolitanism’

The Doctors’ Plot

Conference of Musicians at the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party, Moscow

 

Week Five: Great Expectations

 

February 17: The Promise of Reform

 

Stephen Cohen, “The Stalin Question Since Stalin”

Nikita Khrushchev’s Speech at the 20th Party Congress (1956)

Joseph Starobin, “1956—A Memoir”

Gregory Freeze, “From Stalinism to Stagnation, 1953-1985,” pages 347-371

 

February 19: The Thaw in Literature

 

Iulii Daniel, “This is Moscow Speaking”

 

Week Six: Hopes Dashed

 

February 24: Main Currents of Dissent

 

Documents on Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Roy Medvedev

 

February 26: Psychiatry and Politics

 

The Case of Boris Kochubiyevsky

The Sinyavsky-Daniel Trial

 

SECOND FOUR-PAGE PAPER DUE BY FEBRUARY 27.  YOU CAN SUBMIT THE PAPER ANYTIME BEFORE FEBRUARY 27.

 

Week Seven: The Origins of Stagnation

 

March 2: The Pros and Cons of Brezhnev’s Soviet Union

 

John Bushnell, “The `New Soviet Man’ Turns Pessimist”

James Millar, “The Little Deal: Brezhnev’s Contribution to Acquisitive Socialism”

Finish Gregory Freeze, “From Stalinism to Stagnation”

 

March 4: Library Workshop.  Meet in Electronic Resource Classroom, 4th Floor, McCabe

 

Week Eight: Culture and Society under Brezhnev

 

March 16: Women and Soviet Society

 

Natalia Baranskaia, “A Week Like Any Other”

Carole Hansson and Karen Liden, eds., Moscow Women, selections

Discussion of Film: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (160 minutes)

 

March 18: Soviet Nationality Policy: A Case Study

 

Bruce Grant, In the Soviet House of Culture

 

Week Nine: Environmental and Youth Concerns

 

March 23: The Crisis of Youth

 

Jim Riordan, “Teenage Gangs, `Afgantsy’ and Neofascists”

Film: Discussion of Little Vera (110 minutes)

 

March 25: Soviet Power and Environmental Disaster

 

Valentin Rasputin, Siberia on Fire

Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly, Excerpts from Ecocide in the USSR

Film: The BAM Zone (20 minutes)

 

Week Ten: Gorbachev Comes to Power

 

March 30: The Advent of Reform

 

Martin McCauley, “From Perestroika towards a New Order”

Tatiana Zaslavskaya, “Report on the Necessity of a Deeper Study in the USSR of the Social Mechanism of the Development of the Economy” or “The Gathering Crisis”

Gorbachev and Reform

 

April 1: The Reaction to Gorbachev: Love Him or Hate Him

 

Nina Andreeva, “I Cannot Forgo My Principles”

Martin Malia, “To the Stalin Mausoleum”

“A Pamyat Manifesto”

The Rehabilitation of Bukharin

Alexander Tsipko, “The Roots of Stalinism”

Cahterine Merridale, “Perestroika and Political Pluralism: Past and Prospects”

 

THIRD FOUR-PAGE PAPER DUE BY APRIL 2.  YOU CAN SUBMIT ANYTIME BEFORE APRIL 2.

 

Week Eleven: Understanding the Gorbachev Era

 

April 6: Coming to Grips with the Past

 

Film: Discussion of Repentance (151 minutes)

Catherine Merridale, “Death and Memory in Modern Russia”

 

April 8: Gorbachev as a Sign of Soviet Modernity

 

Moshe Lewin, The Gorbachev Phenomenom

 

Week Twelve: What Happened?

 

April 13: The Age of Disillusionment

 

Prostitutki (55 minutes) and Chernobyl (54 minutes)

 

April 15: Stephen Kotkin, Armageddon Averted

 

Week Thirteen: The Party’s Over

 

April 20: The August Coup

 

Victoria Bonnell and Gregory Freidin, “Televorot: The Role of Television Coverage in Russia’s August 1991 Coup”

Boris Yeltsin Resigns from the Communist Party and Boris Yeltsin Calls for Gorbachev’s Resignation

 

April 22: Life after Communism:  Could It Get Any Worse?

 

Stephen Cohen, Failed Crusade

 

Week Fourteen: What Now?

 

April 27: Will It Get Better?

 

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Excerpts from Imperium

Disgraced Monuments (48 minutes)

 

April 29: Discussion of Final Papers

 

FOURTH FOUR-PAGE PAPER DUE BY MAY 3.

 

FINAL PAPER DUE BY 5 PM ON FRIDAY, MAY 14.