I call again here, Svetlana Voreskova, on your clearly greater base of knowledge: you mentioned you…
Ron Collins

I don’t know Ron. The mind of Stalin and the workings of the communist system were often muddled and contradictory so trying to come to a conclusion as to what was driving the different players is almost impossible most of the time.

In terms of Stalin’s relationship with the church; judging by his actions and his pronouncements he hated it more than most communists. Whether that was driven by his experience in the seminary or his commitment to Marxist ideology or even his inheritance of the Leninist antipathy for Russian traditions is a mystery, but I am guessing it was a mixture of all of the above.

The church as not only an affront to Marxist doctrine; it was also associated with the Tsars and with centuries of Russian tradition. It was a symbol of pre-communist Russia and it had also provided refuge and food to many people during the civil war. The priests were not only traditionalists and anti-communists; they were also Tsarists.

I am guessing again that the ban on abortion was not based in any kind of traditional morals on Stalin’s part. I honestly don’t believe that Stalin had any morals or ethics. I believe that the abortion ban was based in the communist desire to create as many little communists as possible. They could never fully control the current generation many of whom hated them. But they believed that their control of the education system and society in general would buy them the loyalty of the next generation.

They were wrong as usual.

As for the fictional Stalin thinking that the family must not be destroyed by divorce: I doubt that Stalin would have looked at it that way. The destruction of the family was a central part of Marxist theory. The communists, right up until the early 1950s considered the family to be a major barrier to state control and that is reflected in all early communist policy relating to the family, especially under Stalin. Divorce was not banned under Stalin. In fact it was encouraged because the children of divorced parents effectively become wards of the state. Families are not loyal to political systems or states. They are loyal to their own families first and foremost, and that is blasphemy to a communist.

Under the five year plans for example, people were often forced to work in factories or on collectivised farms. It seems to have been very common policy to deliberately split up couples, sending the wife to a farm in some remote area and the husband to a factory in a distant city. The children would usually accompany the mother, but they would spend most of their time either working or being “educated” in state schools.

So as with so many policies that Stalinist Russia had in common with Hitlerite Germany, I believe that the ban on abortion by was motivated by the same aim; to create as many little communists / Nazis as possible.

Brezhnev reversed all of that but he kept the ban on abortion in place for very different reasons. His social reforms have generally been completely under-rated in the west but they were appreciated in Russia. He banned state authorities from coercing workers, denounced furiously the attacks on the family by his predecessors, and restored the independence of the educational institutions. He also instituted new rules in the Military whereby married men who had served a certain period, could bring their families to live with them wherever they were stationed. My father was stationed for a while in Northern Siberia when he was in the army, and my mother took us out there shortly after he was posted. She had already lived with him for a time in Germany. So Brezhnev’s social policies regarding families was generally the complete opposite of Stalin’s. Brezhnev seemed to feel it important to do everything possible to help families to stay together. He even allowed for a relaxing on visa restrictions between various states to allow couples to bring their spouses to Russia or to allow Russians to visit abroad.

There was an old movie made in England called “A letter to Brezhnev.” It was about an English girl who had fallen in love with a Russian sailor when his ship docked in Liverpool. She was refused a visa to visit Russia, so she wrote to Brezhnev to appeal. He wrote back giving her permission to visit Rostov on Don where the sailor was from, and she finally married him and settled there.

I find that a lot of people in the western world have a lot of ideas about Soviet Russia that are based on their knowledge of the Lenin / Stalin period. But the USSR lasted for almost a hundred years and changed enormously from one decade to the next. I think a good case could be made that the slow roll back on communism began under Brezhnev.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.