Little Less Revolution, Little More Procreation: Social Conservatism in 1930’s Soviet Russia

Exemplified by the rise of more restrictive views on abortion (accompanied by its illegalization), the 30’s were period of increasingly conservative values and a more rigid family structure for Soviet Russians (“Abolition of Legal Abortion”). This rigidity could also be observed in the way “the first soviet generation” was raised, with 1930’s soviet children simultaneously having a strict lifestyle and one that provided benefits that “forged their socialist conscious” (“Childhood under Stalin”). What is interesting about this conservative shift in familial structure and expectations is the possible contribution it may have made to the events to occur in the 1930’s, whether it is relating to the violence of the purges or the industriousness put toward the construction of Moscow (“Rebuilding of Moscow”).

            In terms of political consequences, the way soviet children were raised “deepened party loyalty” and encouraged a lifestyle more conducive to Russia’s success than to individual pleasure (“Childhood under Stalin”). In other words, this 1930’s era saw Russia losing a bit of its revolutionary edge through the education of the first soviet generation, possibly allowing for a greater likelihood for the purges to be carried out with more opposition. Instilling a more conformist society may not have had great political consequences, but it did result in large economic improvements with regards to infrastructure (whether or not it was evenly distributed throughout Russia). The Soviet people made great strides in building up Moscow as a Stalin’s “beacon” for socialism (“Rebuilding of Moscow”). In terms of the illegalization of abortion and its consequences, the amount of children born actually did increase substantially in what one might consider a sort of Russian baby boomer generation (although with a less substantial increase) (“Abolition of Legal Abortion”). This shows the increasing role that family and familial structure had in reinforcing the economic goals of the State.

            Overall, the picture of a family under Stalin in the 1930’s was likely to drift quite a bit from the 1920’s and the revolutionary attitude that defined the period. For adults, this increased rigidity was reinforced through fear, violence, and de jure restrictions; whereas soviet children were regulated through strict education and high expectations.

7 thoughts on “Little Less Revolution, Little More Procreation: Social Conservatism in 1930’s Soviet Russia

  1. Sam, good post on changing Soviet family ideals during this period! It’s so interesting that these conservative family values were linked with proper “socialist conscious,” since socialist familial values were quite the opposite of Stalin’s. You’ve done a great job linking this shift in values with the state’s economic goals!

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  2. Really good and well put together post I thought. It’s interesting and appropriate how the population rose during this time with the ban on abortion which might’ve even been a possible goal.

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  3. So love this title!!!!! Your post offers an important and interesting counterpoint to Lara’s discussion of children who betray their parents in the name of loyalty to the regime: https://larastwentiethcenturyrussiaclass.home.blog/2019/03/31/tell-tales/comment-page-1/#comment-41
    And what do you make of the kind of social neo-conservatism that the pro-natalist campaign (and abortion ban) queue up? If we’re all about children and families and motherhood, what happens to equality and work?

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  4. Also wanted to note that I like the way you incorporate material from several different subject essays in this post. Try adding in some primary materials and you’ll be all set!

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  5. Sam, I really liked your post and I wanted to note some of the things I think are really interesting. “Childhood under Stalin” was interesting to me and how that forged their socialist conscious and “deepened party loyalty.”

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  6. Sam, I really liked your post and I wanted to note some of the things I think are really interesting. “Childhood under Stalin” was interesting to me and how that forged their socialist conscious and “deepened party loyalty.”

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  7. I really enjoyed your post! Reading about family values is always really interesting and you did a good job laying out what Stalin expected of the families.

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