Cover image for Russia after the war : hopes, illusions, and disappointments, 1945-1957
Russia after the war : hopes, illusions, and disappointments, 1945-1957
Zubkova, E. I͡U. (Elena I͡Urʹevna)
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M. E. Sharpe, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 238 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1370 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
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HN523.5 .Z8 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The years of late Stalinism are one of the murkiest periods in Soviet history, best known to us through the voices of Ehrenburg, Khrushchev and Solzhenitsyn. This is a sweeping history of Russia from the end of the war to the Thaw by one of Russia's respected younger historians. Drawing on the resources of newly opened archives as well as the recent outpouring of published diaries and memoirs, Elena Zubkova presents a richly detailed portrayal of the basic conditions of people's lives in Soviet Russia from 1945 to 1957. She brings out the dynamics of postwar popular expectations and the cultural stirrings set in motion by the wartime experience versus the regime's determination to reassert command over territories and populations and the mechanisms of repression. Her interpretation of the period establishes the context for the liberalizing and reformist impulses that surfaced in the post-Stalin succession struggle, characterizing what would be the formative period for a future generation of leaders: Gorbachev, Yeltsin and their contemporaries.

Author Notes

Elena Zubkova is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences
Hugh Ragsdale studied at the University of North Carolina (A.B.) and the University of Virginia (M.A., Ph.D.). He has done postgraduate study at Moscow State University and the Soviet/Russian Academy of Sciences

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The appearance of historical works by Russian scholars drawing on recently opened archives has been among the more salutary results of the Soviet Union's collapse. Zubkova's Russia study is one such work. The book's thesis is made explicit early on. In the author's view, the "Great Patriotic War" was responsible for the "spontaneous development of a civic spirit" and engendered as well a habit of thinking in terms of "us-them" that made confrontation with the government more plausible than it seemed at the time. In short, the nods of Khrushchev's de-Stalinization, the "Thaw," and Gorbachev's perestroika were planted by 1945. There is a wealth of information on Soviet social history here--especially in chapters 3 through 7--in addition to the excellent chapters on the intelligentsia and "intellectual mavericks," an intriguing but too-brief chapter on the anti-Stalinist youth movement, dissent, and the evolution of public opinion. The book deserves to be read by students of modern European and Russian history at all levels and arguably constitutes the starting point for any substantive reexamination of the last half-century of Russian history. G. E. Snow; Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

I Strategies of Survival
1 The Social Psychology of the War
2 The Victory and the Victors
3 How to Live after the War? The Conflict of Expectation and Reality
4 The Hungry Years: The Famine of 1946-1947
5 The Currency Reform of 1947: The Views from Above and Below
II The Illusion of Liberalization
6 The State and the Peasant: Village Antagonism to the Collective Farm
7 Religion and Politics: The Revival of Religious Belief
8 The Political Temper of the Masses, 1945-1948
9 Something Must be Done: The Intelligentsia and the Intellectual Mavericks
III Repression
10 The Situation Doesn't Change: The Crisis of Postwar Expectations
11 The Birth of the Anti-Stalinist Youth Movement
12 The Struggle with Dissent
13 The Wave of Repression, 1949-1953
14 The Evolution of Public Opinion: Whose Fault Is It?
IV The Thaw
15 Without Stalin: The New Public Atmosphere
16 The Repudiation of the GULAG
17 Turning to the Individual: The Paths from Above and Below
18 The Decision on the Cult of Personality and Its Social Impact
19 Public Opinion and the Hungarian Syndrome