Евреи Петербурга. Три века истории


Previous period
Next period

NEP brought about a quick restoration of the Russian economy. As a united state, Russia united the greater portion of the former Empire. Most Western countries recognized the USSR. However, while Lenin was still alive, his successors began a fierce struggle against one another. That struggle was ideologically disguised at times as a struggle against Left Deviation, at times against Right Deviation. In actuality, it was a struggle for power. It was Stalin who won; he outwitted his former comrades. His adversaries found themselves "the opposition" whereas he was called the representative of "the Party's general line". The opposition lost all their posts in the Party or in government, and Stalin, along with his supporters, created a strict centralized power system - the Nomenklatura (the system by which appointments to specific posts in government or economic administration were made by Party organizers). By 1930, Stalin's victory was final and his authority in the Party and in Russia became absolute. This authority was quickly developing into a cult.Stalin at the Presidium of XVII Congress of VKP(B) with the present of a workers delegation. 1934. Photo
In the late 1920s, Stalin ended NEP and implemented compulsory collectivization and forced industrialization with the total mobilization of all internal resources. The peasants were compelled to join collective farms. Millions of well-to-do farmers were driven out as kulaks and deported to remote locations where they suffered and died of hunger, hard conditions and forced labor. Prisoners and former kulaks were sent to the "five-year plan building-sites" as well as hundreds of thousands of other peasants; the latter had to work there to avoid death by starvation. As a result of the collectivization, the agricultural system was destroyed. Food was rationed in the cities and towns. In Ukraine and in some other regions, terrible famine caused several million deaths. By the late 1930s, a basic industrial system was in place, built at the expense of many sacrifices and with the five-year plan not fully achieved.For Promfinplan. Poster. Not earlier than 1928
The cultural revolution declared by the Bolsheviks was aimed at not only at eliminating illiteracy by educating the people, but at creating New Proletarian Art as well. As a result of the Civil War, many prominent figures in Russian culture had emigrated. Others, who still lived in USSR, gradually became internal emigrants or began collaborating with the new regime. From the very beginning, the representatives of the Left Direction in the arts took the side of the Revolution. They competed with "proletarian" figures for influence and for the authorities' favor. In the early 1930s, VKP(B) lost faith in "proletarian art" and rejected the support of the Left; it began the compulsory unification of all artists into Creative Unions under the slogan of Socialist Realism.Meeting. Engraving. 1919
At the same time, Bolsheviks turned away from aggressive internationalism. Students and schoolchildren began to learn Russian history again. The Bolsheviks began encouraging "Socialist" patriotism that inherited much of the Empire's ideology. In literature, Gorky was canonized and the Stanislavsky system in theater, with monumental forms and pseudo-classicism encouraged in music, painting and architecture. Any deviation from those canons was persecuted. On the other hand, many figures of official art received privileges and became a part of the Soviet elite. As the artistic attainments of Russian culture in the 1920s were an extension of the Silver Age, the 1930s became the heyday of new Soviet culture. Its indisputable achievements were the cinema, children's literature, and historic prose. Assimilated Jews played a distinguished role in Soviet literature.ANT-20 "Maksim Gorky". V. Kuptsov, 1934
The Academy of Sciences collaborated with the Soviet regime from the very beginning; Soviet authorities did not try to reform it. For ideological struggle, the so-called Communist Academy was established. However, in 1928, some well-known historians were suppressed, the Academy imposed new regulations, and some leading ideologists joined the Academy. The Reformed Academy of Sciences became a powerful government department and controlled many scientific institutes. The exact and natural sciences scored especially great successes. In fact, Soviet physics was created and A.F. Ioffe played a leading role in its organization. At the same time, science and higher education were separated and the Scientific-Research Institute became the general form of scientific enterprise. Science became an important social area and scientists took their place in the Soviet elite.Laboratory of radio-electronics in LETI. The 1930s. Photo
The opening of the Northern Sea Line and a successful expedition to the North Pole soon sparked enthusiasm among the people. All of Russia watched the rescue of the "Cheluskin" ice-breaker expedition; the pilots who took part in the recovery became the first Hero of the Soviet Union. That decoration (the highest in the country) was established especially for the Cheluskin operation. Chkalov's flight over the North Pole to America and the Soviet expedition to the North Pole were interpreted as a victory for the Soviet regime. In those years, millions of people sincerely and voluntarily worked in the Society to Support Defense and Develop Aviation and Chemistry. Another mass movement was the athletic movement. Almost all young men wore "Ready for Labor and Defense" badges. Sport became a form of leisure and athletic parades were a standard part of all official celebrations.The sport games. A. Pochtenny. 1930
In addition to a mass sports movement, amateur artistic activities were actively developed at numerous Houses of Culture and Palaces of Culture. The most common forms of leisure for young people were dancing and cinema. People began to spend their vacations in rest homes or sanatoriums located in former palaces and manors, especially in the Crimea and the Caucasus. Those "palaces for people" were intended primarily for the Soviet elite, the military and peredoviki (factory workers, etc., who distinguished themselves through a display of initiative and/or exemplary work), but common members of trade unions could also use them. The symbol of the Soviet regime's triumph was the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy, opened shortly before the war. Nevertheless, the life of common people was poor and hard. The builders of the new cities and factories lived in barracks and though their salaries just barely sufficed for basic products, a part of them was spent on the "voluntary" purchase of bonds for government loans.A worker and a collective farmer. V. Mukhina
The Cheka and then the OGPU (after 1934, the NKVD), did not rest for a moment. Their primary targets were the remnants of the White Guards and non-Bolshevik Socialist parties and groups. In the late 1920s, opposition within the Party was added to the list (Trotskyists were the first to be targeted). In those years, political provocations were used as well as fabricated cases; the accused were tortured into confessing (as in the Industrial Party Causa and others). The Terror followed the collectivization. The assassination of S.M. Kirov served as an excuse for the mass oppression of the former opposition and "Bolshevik Old Guard". "The Great Terror" of 1937-1939 enveloped the entire country. However, its victims were generally high Soviet officials and the top brass of the army and national economy. During the Terror, the executioners, Chekists of the first generation, were also exterminated.Steel tight hand of Yezhov. B. Yefimov. Placard. 1937
One of the results of the mass purges of the 1930s was a reduction in the number of Jews and other non-Russians in the Party leadership, government and the army. In addition to propagating official patriotism and gradually reviving the symbols of the Empire (e.g., the restoration of former ranks in the army), Stalinist dictatorship took on national features. The shift from the building of international Communism to the Socialist National State (which followed inevitably from the slogan of "building of Socialism in one country") attracted many veterans of the Russian who welcomed the Terror of the 1930s as a struggle against "Jewish domination". Those attitudes were shared, for example, by M.A. Bulgakov. Party managers, Soviet officials, and careerists personally loyal to the leader replaced revolutionaries and the Civil War Heroes.Members of new Stalin administration. Moscow. 1936. Photo

Stalin at the Presidium of XVII Congress of VKP(B) with the present of a workers delegation. 1934. Photo
For Promfinplan. Poster. Not earlier than 1928
Meeting. Engraving. 1919
ANT-20 "Maksim Gorky". V. Kuptsov, 1934
Laboratory of radio-electronics in LETI. The 1930s. Photo
The sport games. A. Pochtenny. 1930
A worker and a collective farmer. V. Mukhina
Steel tight hand of Yezhov. B. Yefimov. Placard. 1937
Members of new Stalin administration. Moscow. 1936. Photo

Stalin at the Presidium of XVII Congress of VKP(B) with the present of a workers delegation. 1934. Photo