About Ludmilla Alexyeva: Coming Of Age During The Soviet Thaw

1556 words - 7 pages

In Ludmilla Alexeyeva's book The Thaw Generation: Coming of Age in the Post-Stalinist Era she relates her story of disappointment within the Soviet system. She wanted to modify aspects of the governmental policies while retaining Russia's socialist background. She was part of a group that labeled themselves the new intelligentsia after the intelligentsia prior to the Bolshevik revolution. The new intelligentsia's ambitions of altering the Soviet government were done with literature not violence. Alexeyeva and her colleagues wanted glasnost or openness from the government on social issues and they tried to accomplish this at great personal risks to themselves. She did not let pressure f ...view middle of the document...

While attending Moscow State University Alexeyeva joined the Komsomol (communist youth organization) and this is where her ideological illusions of the communist government began to shatter. Because of Stalin's post-war policies a large group of veterans nick named frontoviki were enrolled in the university with her. She saw that these men from uneducated backgrounds were manipulating the system to their own advantage. Frontoviki, often-former peasants, dominated the Komsomol and were fueled by an ambitious need to regain the power they had originally experienced in the war. Their actions were allowed and even encouraged by Stalin's plan of upward mobility helping modernization and this disgusted Alexeyeva. She explains, "Frontoviki were not good communists. I was certain of that. They were using the party for personal gain. And they were not the only ones." Her disenchantment with people corrupting the communist system from within had only begun. To her frontoviki were parasites damaging the human rites of Soviet citizens for their own profit. Alexeyeva felt these actions were inexcusable and abused the civil liberties of normal citizens. Stalin's polices promoting upward mobility to former peasants caused Alexeyeva to change her view of the system in which she was a part.In a feeble attempt to change the system for the better, Alexeyeva petitioned and was accepted into the Russian Communist Party after her graduation from college. Her aim was to gather all of the decent people and remove the opportunists from power. She hoped to strengthen the party that had been weakened by Stalin's period in office. This failed due to her political inexperience and lack of outside support. Alexeyeva states, "I wanted the good people to force the bad people out of power. However, there was no stampede of honest people following me into the party." Determined to make a difference she continued on. She lectured to students at a trade school on her interpretation of Soviet history. Feelings of grief came over her when she realized that her lecturing and agitating was not making a definite impact on the people she wished to help. Many jobs had been offered to her within the party, which would raise her status, but her personal ethics and morals would not permit her to take them. Alexeyeva would not become a careerist and give in to all of the things about the Soviet government that she detested, even if it meant she must live without out basic luxuries. Her reluctance to work in the party was her own personal defiance of the Stalinist systemWhile attending graduate school Alexeyeva became acquainted with kompanii (gatherings of intellectuals in a private home) through a classmate. These kompanii gave people a chance to openly talk about literature, philosophy, economics, politics, and other things without having to worry about being prosecuted for having subversive views. Soviet censors filtered the information available to the masses and these meetings were a ...


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