Women in Stalinist Russia

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Date: 16th Nov. 2010 Nitin Goyal Women in Stalinist Russia M.M. 15

Q) What was the role of women in Stalin’s Russia? Did he introduce any changes in the Bolshevik policies regarding the family?
Ans. After the Bolsheviks came into power, they under the leadership of Lenin started a movement of social reform which was meant to break down the existing tsarist social system and to abolish all ‘bourgeois’ aspects of the system . It was at this time that Lenin attacked the institution of marriage which was considered bourgeois by the Marxist regime. Lenin firmly believed in women’s equality and therefore made efforts to liberate them from the bondage of children and family by making divorce easier. Little realising that such extremely reforms and such extreme communist ideology would not be accepted by the common people easily and quickly. This is what Stalin inherited by adhering to Lenin’s legacy.

Stalin who had become the vozhd of Soviet Russia by 1930’s was convinced that the earlier social experiment had failed. Discipline is considered the back bone of a communist society; without a disciplined population an efficient workforce cannot be build up; and presence of an efficient work force is indispensible to a communist Marxist system. Stalin realised that the policies of his predecessor had constructed an undisciplined population. While the Party was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the traditional family structure, based as it was on unpaid female labour, provided the cheapest way to raise Soviet children, the lack of institutional support forced proletarian and peasant women to rely on the contributions of husbands and fathers. The material reality of the 1920s led to a revision of the Bolshevik policy of liberating women from the patriarchal family. To rectify...
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