Late Stalinist Domestic Policy
Domestic Policy under Brezhnev

Domestic Policy under Khruzhchev, 1956-1964

In 1956, on a congress of the communist party, NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV criticized Stalin, blaming his policy for many problems. His speech launched the policy of DESTALINIZATION; Stalin pictures disappeared, his statues were toppled. The city of Stalingrad was renamed VOLGOGRAD. Many political prisoners were released. There was a general feeling of the 'nightmare' being over.
BORIS PASTERNAK published his novel DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 (a prize he was not allowed to accept).
In 1957 the USSR launched the SPUTNIK, the first satellite sent into orbit, surprising the world. Soviet confidence in both their political system and in their technology was at an all-time high, a confidence which was confirmed by Soviet athletes' successes in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics and in the USSR feat to send the first man into orbit (YURI GAGARIN, 1961) and to safely return him to earth.
Lifestyle in the USSR had reached a level of moderate prosperity, Soviet citizens, within limits, could enjoy private pastimes; many city dwellers dreamt of a DATSCHA, a weekend hut in the countryside. Radios, cars (LADA, VOLGA), even tvs became available. In a contemporary economic theory, the socialist camp was described as the SECOND WORLD (ranking behind the capitalist west, but higher than the Third World, selected countries of which, such as North Koream North Vietnam, Cuba, the USSR wanted to support by the transfer of technology).
Political criticism was still dangerous, as the labour camps had not been closed down, mental institutions continued to serve as prisons for political critics. However the number of those sent there for their political conviction was much smaller than the numbers under Stalin.

Han Yuna, An Inside Perspective - Cinematic Representation of the Soviet Union during the Thaw
Boris Pasternak, from Nobel Prize Internet Archive
History of the GAZ-Volga (car), from Autosoviet
USSR : The Party System in 1950-1956 and 1957-1962, in : Kenneth Janda, Political Parties : A Cross-National Survey
DOCUMENTS Images from Bilddatenbank, : Sputnik I, Yuri Gagarin (1), Yuri Gagarin (2), Yuri Gagarin (3)
Nikita S. Khrushchev, Crimes of the Stalin Era, Special report to the 20th congress of the CPSU, from About Howard Fast
REFERENCE Chapters 21 : Khrushchev and the Summit, pp.287-307; 22 : More about Mr. K., pp.308-326, in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
John Gunther, Inside Russia Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1957 [G]
John Gunther, Meet Soviet Russia, I : Land, People, Sights, II : Leaders, Politics, Problems, NY : Harper & Bros. 1962 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1957 pp.757-760 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1958 pp.697-700 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Russia's New Consumers, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1959 pp.51-62, 695-698 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1960 pp.695-698, 1961 pp.693-696, 1962 pp.688-690, 1963 pp.803-806, 1964 pp.828-830, 1965 pp.830-832 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Americana Annual 1961 pp.770-775, 1962 pp.778-783, 1963 pp.690-694, 1964 pp.673-678 [G]
Article : USSR, in : Americana Annual 1965 pp.702-707 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1961 pp.339-341 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on September 28th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz