Introduction: Reconciling Failure and Success: Soviet Elites and the Collectivized Village (Englisch)

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they address the problems of political communication in the late Soviet period, highlighting how changing conventions of public speech allowed or prevented the village from becoming a matter of public debate. The kolkhoz system was accepted as a social fact and an institutional arrangement within which the shortcomings of the farming sector and living conditions in the countryside had to be addressed. [...]while economic problems such as inefficiency, lack of motivation and dysfunctional planning were subject to open debate in academic circles, the collectivized village as such was not called into question. There was a general sense among Soviet citizens that the transformation of the countryside under Stalin had caused immense human suffering and that rural living standards and productivity remained low.16 However, like the Great Terror, a mixture of "shared knowledge and shared silence"17 surrounded the violent dissolution of peasant farming in the 1930s. [...]Gorbachev's glasnost' included collectivization among the official revelations of the Soviet past, reflections on the countryside, however critical of the current state of rural affairs, did not challenge the existing agrarian order. Interpreting how the writer tried to make sense of the poverty he encountered, they demonstrate how natural it was for a member of the Soviet intelligentsia in 1953 to employ categories and judgements that had emerged long before the revolution. [...]the line drawn between rural culture and Russian national identity, which had been common in late 19th-century literature and visual arts, was a recurrent trope in Semushkin's diaries.

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