The Last Years of the Soviet Empire: Snapshots from 1985-1991

By Vladimir Shlapentokh; Neil F. O'Donnell | Go to book overview

A NATION OF DISCONTENT: POLITICAL GAINS CAN'T HIDE A BURDENSOME, EMPTY MATERIAL LIFE JUNE 1988

This snapshot reflects the political truism that, when times are good, people
vote with their heads and hearts, and when times are bad, they vote with
their pocketbooks. Although Gorbachev had hoped that glasnost would en-
liven the masses and help spark an economic rejuvenation, this never hap-
pened. Instead, glasnost simply allowed the people to voice more openly
their discontent.

I recently returned to Moscow for the first time since emigrating from the Soviet Union nearly ten years ago. I found two changes especially striking: the incredible progress made in the political life of the Soviet people, and the stagnation, even the regression, in their material life.

A Soviet newspaper recently published a letter written in 1980 by Nobel prize winner Piotr Kapitsa. The letter, in defense of human rights advocates Andrei Sakharov and Yuri Orlov, had been sent to then-chairman of the KGB, Yuri Andropov. It is remarkable that Kapitsa, a symbol of conscience and bravery within the Academy of Science, did not dare actually support the dissidents' views. Instead, he merely discussed their importance to the state.

In contrast to 1980, the Soviet people can now openly discuss any topic they wish--no forum is too public, no topic too dangerous. The Soviet people have even begun criticizing, both privately and publicly, Lenin and Soviet foreign policy--perhaps the last sacred cows of the old Soviet ideology.

My visit to Moscow about a month ago coincided with the heady days of the election for the upcoming party conference. For the first time, the Soviet people were able to participate in actions resembling democratic procedures, and they eagerly discussed their first experience with democracy. (In most cases, however, party committees ignored the choices of the rank and file and appointed apparatchiks to represent the people.)

One of the most sensitive indicators of the political climate in the Soviet Union has always been the degree of control that the state has over its citizens' contact with the West. These days, Soviet people do not dash away at the sight of foreigners. In fact, they often seek out open discussions with them.

____________________
This article originally appeared as "A Rift Opens in Soviet Life" in The Detroit News on July 12, 1988.

-73-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Last Years of the Soviet Empire: Snapshots from 1985-1991
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 223

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.