Евреи Петербурга. Три века истории


Previous period

The Seventies are fixed in USSR history as the Stagnation Years. The power of CPSU seemed established firmly for many centuries. Because of the income given by oil and gas export, foods were imported more and more. Moskow and some big cities were provided first of all. The provinces were short of very essentials. Hundreds of thousands of people went to Moskow or Leningrad regularly for sausage. Some books, carpets, furniture, foreign clothes were rationed. Corruption and a reliance on personal connections flourished. Nomenklatura bosses got goods in special stores. The authorities were absorbed with global projects. Working efficiency in the industry and in the agriculture especially fell behind the world's level more and more. All science attainments and high technologies were used for defense industry or space exploration only.We approve the policy of the Party. Placard
By the 1970s, the CPSU gave up immediate building of Communism. Official propaganda glorified the attainments of "Real Socialism", called Soviet people new historic human society, and demonstrated monolithic union of Soviet society. In 1977, the Constitution of "Socialism having won" was adopted and its 6th article declared the CPSU the leading political force of the Soviet State. Aging Secretary General L.I. Brezhnev decorated himself with more and more orders. The age average of the members of Politbureau was already about 75. The managers at other levels were also old. The policy of the CPSU was extremely conservative. The governing of the country was getting still less effective. Even the Central Statistics Office and Gosplan (government department responsible for planning) did not know the real situation in Soviet economics.Government cars as a symbol of privilege. Photo
The USSR supported any regimes in Asia or Africa, even most odious, if they were anti-American and declared their Socialist orientation. It was very expensive to support them. In 1979, adventurist policy of CPSU caused a "limited contingent" of Soviet troops to invade Afghanistan that began a long war. The arms caused a surge of hostility toward the USSR worldwide; the country became still more isolated. Many countries boycotted XXII Olympic Games in Moscow although the Games had great publicity. Huge investments to organize the Game and make Moscow the image of "Model Communist City" did not produced the political dividends expected. In the days of the Games, very popular actor and singer Vysotsky died. In spite of resistance of the authorities, his funeral became a mass mourning procession.
In the Seventies, civic liberties movement expanded. "Samizdat" and "tamizdat" (the literature that could penetrate from abroad) were circulated. Although the USSR signed the Helsinki Agreement in 1975, the government was not inclined to follow the Pact. The Moscow Helsinki Group sponsored by leading Soviet fighters for civil liberties suffered oppression by the authorities. The KGB tried put an end to any dissent in USSR. A.I. Solzhenitsyn was deported from Russia. In 1979, academic A.D. Sakharov, known leader of the movement, was deported to Gorky. In spite of pressure from the Party, Academy of Science of USSR did not dare to exclude him from the Academy. However, many friends of A.D. Sakharov were persecuted and some were arrested. By the Eighties, almost all Soviet dissidents were either imprisoned or exiled.A.D. Sakharov in exile on the balcony of his apartment in Gorky. Photo
Most Soviet people no longer believed in the ideological dogmas. Some party ideologists and KGB bosses began to develop gradually an unofficial but more promising state ideology - Empire Nationalism. Although the most zealous followers of Monarchist or Orthodox Slavophile ideas were persecuted as well as the Democratic opposition, "Molodaya Gvardia" ("Young Guards") and "Nash Sovremennik" ("Our Contemporary") journals were opened to propagate the ideas. Many such people grouped around All-Russia's Society of Saving Historical and Cultural Memorials. The anti-semitism of the "imperial-minded" found fertile ground in official "anti-Zionist" propaganda. The followers of orthodox or even liberal Marxism struggled with those of National Bolshevism within Central Committee of CPSU.Anti-Zionist pamphlet published by the "Juridical literature" publishing house
Most of Soviet people did not trust official propaganda; but the dissident movement did not attract them either. Pointed discussions of the situation in the country took place "in the kitchen". Young people were attracted by hippies, punks etc. Organizations of young fascists sprang up, too. Substantial part of the population could not apply their abilities for manufacturing or for social activity; they were absorbed in everyday problems and social life. The most popular way of spending their time was watching TV. TV ordered special films including serials. One of the most popular programs was "The Song of the Year". Tourist voyages through the country became extremely popular. International tourism was available only to the elite. It was necessary to get the permission of local Communist Committee to go abroad. Voyages abroad, any business trips to foreign countries and working there by contract or working in the merchant fleet were considered a privilege available, mainly, to members of CPSU.
After the death of aged L.I. Brezhnev in 1982, his successors (Yu.V. Andropov and K.U. Chernenko) also died soon of old age and disease. In the April, 1985, young, reform-minded M.S. Gorbachev became the Secretary General of the CPSU. He resolutely undertook to "improve Socialism". His policy was named Perestroyka (reconstruction). The essence of Perestroyka was liberalization of ideology, economics, and domestic and foreign policy. Gorbachev managed to overcome the resistance of conservative part of Politbureau. Academician Sakharov returned from his deportation; almost all dissenters were set free. The struggle against corruption in the top echelon of the administration began. The liberation of economics began, too - the first manufacturing cooperatives were allowed. Troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. The changes that began in Russia led to the "velvet revolutions" in Eastern European countries.L.I. Brezhnev and K.U. Chernenko. Photo
The policy of Gorbachev was not consistent. The greatest attainment of Perestroyka was glasnost. The issues of "Moskovskie Novosti" ("Moskow News"), "Argumenty i Fakty" ("Arguments and Facts") or "Ogoniok" ("The Light") were sold by millions. Journals published works that had been prohibited by censorship before. Political TV programs gathered audiences of millions. The cinema showed films that had lain "on the shelf" for many years. The movement to memorialize the victims of Stalinist suppression became widespread and it caused the establishment of "Memorial" - the first legal voluntary organization independent of the CPSU. Many unofficial social unions began springing up. The country got ready for its first elections with a real alternative, which had not existed for many decades.Farewell to censorship. Cover of "Ogoniok" journal. 1989

We approve the policy of the Party. Placard
Government cars as a symbol of privilege. Photo
A.D. Sakharov in exile on the balcony of his apartment in Gorky. Photo
Anti-Zionist pamphlet published by the "Juridical literature" publishing house
L.I. Brezhnev and K.U. Chernenko. Photo
Farewell to censorship. Cover of "Ogoniok" journal. 1989

We approve the policy of the Party. Placard