Courseworks

Soviet Society and Culture under Lenin… Control or Tradition

When the Bolsheviks came to power they used their position to try and change society and by doing so hoped to groom the population of Russia into adopting the same ideology of the Bolsheviks. By doing so they hoped to form the revolution.Russian society was already in a state of continuous change, so this showed the unstable climate that Russia was experiencing, this was mainly down to the impact of the First World War. Despite this traditional views and values were still rooted deeply amongst Russians.THE POSITION OF WOMEN AND THE FAMILYRadical Bolsheviks felt that the current notion of family was an outdated one, which ought to be abolished. This though was never a serious policy that was going to be put into effect. There were though certain Bolshevik groups and organisations that were encouraged to challenge the concept of family and parents, and women were also encouraged to become more assertive and independent. One of the things that they were taught was to refuse to be dominated by their husbands.There were also calls for women to enjoy more sexual freedom, and even young women were to be taught that casual sex was one of their rights as a woman. This though did meet opposition even within its own party, older Bolsheviks, including Lenin considered this to be wrong, and tried to impose a more restraint attitude.There were other attempts made in the continuing effort to break the mold of the existing notion of family, one of these efforts consisted of communal spaces in housing blocks. The theory behind this was that the cohabitation of several families in one house would break down the traditional family unit.The family was also going to take an impact with the new measures that were being taken on women. This included new rights that they previously hadn’t had, such as;* Divorce was made easier* Abortion was made legalThis received relative success. For example the urban population made the most of these new rights. But on the other hand also saw some worrying after effects, the rise in divorce rates meant that children received little or no support from mothers and received little financial support from their Dads. Also women took a long time to reap the benefits of equal rights in employment.RELIGION AND THE POSITION OF THE CHURCHThis experienced radical change. The Bolsheviks saw the Church as a way of getting an alternative view across that escaped the common ideology of Marxism. The Tsar religiously (in both senses of the word) used the Russian church. Therefore it left the Bolsheviks a huge task when trying to rid the Tsarist values.POPULAR CULTURE AND THE ARTSThe Bolshevik revolution was inevitably going to have a massive impact on all sectors of Russian life. Russia had previously had a long and established cultural tradition. In 1917 this was not their priority but they was aware of how it could be used for their political advantage.ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE ARTS AND POPULAR CULTUREIn 1917 the Bolshevik party had mixed views over the importance of cultural policy. There were two prominent views. Lenin believed that the party should keep high calibre writers and artists on their side as much as possible. Lenin introduced a Commissariat of Enlightenment, a ministry of culture, to support and encourage artists.The other view was that of Alexander Bogdanov. He believed that Russia needed to use new technology to create a Proletarian Culture, in which new Proletarian artists should be established. This became known as the Constructivists who aimed to create a new socialist culture.THE IMPACT OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION ON POPULAR CULTURE AND THE ARTSIn art many of the traditional views were challenged, but this was also due to the impact of the First World War. Artists now concentrated on creating visions of how they saw the future world.The Bolsheviks also called upon the services of V. Mayakovsky who worked on creating slogans and posters for the government. Even though his work was propaganda it was always innovative.Architecture made slow progress due to the economic difficulties brought upon from the First World War. Garden cities and high rise apartments were the focus again highlighting the signal of the future.The most successful literature was about society where people were only identified by numbers. This idea was written about by novelists Sholokhov and poet Anna AkhmatovaThe theatre was way behind though on the revolutionary aims of the Bolsheviks. But this was soon rectified, as people such as Meyerhold produced “Mystery Bouffe” which demonstrated workers defeating their exploiters.

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