Archive for December 24, 2008

Liya’s paper: Effects of Soviet Ideology

I – Introduction

“The beak of ideology always precisely gets when hits on heads of fellow citizens, and never gets in grain of true” (Iskander, F.). These words of Soviet writer Fazil Iskander lead us to a question of ideology in the USSR. The appearance of such a strong idea of collective mind was a conclusive consequence of Soviet regime setting. As Soviet Union assumed total equality of all people, those people had to be similar to each other. It was a necessary condition for living in the USSR. So, population rapidly tended to an absolute similarity to each other. At first sight, this process had been going almost successfully. However, on the closer consideration the situation was not so pretty as it seemed to be. Soviet ideology had cut a great amount of Russian intelligence of the USSR and also destroyed millions of lives of people in USSR. The problem of ideology appeared because of extremely inaccurate government’s attitude to people in the country and too strong pressure on the population and which has been passed on to a complex of modern problems in the countries of the former Soviet Union. 

II – Background of ideological problems in USSR

The situation with ideology always was complicated. Before the Great October Revolution there was the imperial regime and there was another pressure on people – a duty to love the Russian tsar. Soldiers were fighting for their country every time and they had no choice. The only way was to go to the battlefield and try to save native lands even at the price of their own lives. Soldiers got trauma and shell-shocked but they were ready to die for the Russian Empire and it’s strong ideology. Merridale (2000) noticed: “For Russian traditionalists, the only way for a soldier to fight was ‘with the cross of Christ before his eyes’”(p. 41). So, before the Soviet Union was organized, the role of ideology was in the religious sphere of life for Russians.

Then after the October Revolution the religious ideology and belief in tsar were crushed and exchanged to a new viewpoint – a collective mind. The population of an enormous state Russian Empire passed from one hand to another and got under a new and stronger ideology. Again there was no way to hide – they had to learn how to live according the new rules.

III – Extent of a problem – the possibility to survive under pressure

These changes became a serious problem for people. An idea of collective mind, the dominance of proletariat and “bright future” built by “dark” part of population seemed attractive only from a safe distance. In reality, there was not so bright and easy life. One of the respondents, Solomon Budiyanskiy tells about the reality of the high socialist society:

“When I was a young specialist I was sent to a business-trip to an ‘udarnaya stroika’ – a great construction near Sverdlovsk. I was inspired by the opportunity of working for my future. However, really the situation was directly opposite to my expectations. When I saw those awful people, who were working in this construction – people who were prisoners and criminals – I understood that there is no any ‘bright future’ ahead – it is a great deceit for a great country”.


According to Solomon’s words, life that seemed noble was in fact horrible and proletariat – people that seemed to be bright and positive, were horrible people. They drunk every day, every hour, they may kill a person without confusion – they were a real bottom of society. The main thing is that they did not believe in any future, communism or any other dogmas. They were totally crushed by the state’s ideology.

There is an amazing fact that elder immigrants from the former Soviet Union have serious problems with their mental health. The adaptation in the new country was a difficult and extremely uncomfortable process for them – life without their specific home land tends to destroy people’s minds (Polyakova & Pacquiao, 2006). Although those Soviet citizens, who are over 60 years old are at risk of serious effects on their lives now.

Moreover, the Soviet ideology assumed consideration of all citizens’ problems publicly. For instance, Military Collegium that is a concrete case of public consideration of person’s private problem (Jansen & Petrov, 2006). Except this strong example there were lots of such cases: school meeting – special ‘lineika’, organizational meeting for consider colleagues’ own problems. It caused differentiation on relationships in the society because such meetings for consideration of private problems were the same as provocations. And people, who had got in these situations, were in a danger of isolation from their social groups (Pascal & Manning, 2000). 

IV – Solution for a problem – Freedom for ideas

Unfortunately, in that situation there was no available solution when the Soviet party had power. The reason of that was obvious – creation of such a strong ideology was an aim of the Soviet government. The only way to rule the USSR was usage of strongest pressure on the population. Now the Soviet Union disappeared with all its features and also the legendary Soviet ideology. But all the problems caused by the 70 Soviet years stay with independent states of former USSR. And the only solution is to delete all vestiges of Soviet times and actually start a new life – to start the way from the beginning again. No matter how it might be difficult – people again have no other choice.

V – Conclusion

The main problem of countries of the former USSR is a confused and disordered way of living. People there are thinking of past ideology, trying to follow it and even feel nostalgia for their past lives. They even are suffering from a strong nostalgia (Fitzpatrick, 2007) . However the solution of these problems is to change lifestyle and viewpoints. For the process of such transition the time is needed, so states should provide significant changes faster. But it is also a ‘stick with two ends’. Governments should finally start caring for their citizens. And it would be the best way to go to the future. ‘The third is not given’. 




Budiyanskiy, Solomon (personal interview) Nov. 15, 2008

Fitzpatrick, S. (2007). The Soviet Union in the twenty-first century. Journal of European

 Studies, 37(1), 51-71.

Iskander, F. Quotes and Aphorisms. From: Wikiquote.


Jansen, M. & Petrov. N. (2006). Mass Terror and the Court: The Military Collegium of

            the  USSR. Europe-Asia Studies, 58(4), 589-602.


Merridale, C. A. (2000). The Collective Mind: Trauma and Shell-shock in Twentieth-century

 Russia. Journal of Contemporary History, 35(1), 39-55.

Pascall , G. & Manning, N. (2000). Gender and social policy: comparing welfare states in

Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Journal of European Social Policy, 10(3), 240-266.

Polyakova, S. A. & Pacquiao, D. F. (2006). Psychological and Mental Illness Among Elder

 Immigrants From the Former Soviet Union. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 17(40),


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