This paper advances two interrelated claims about late socialist order in the former Yugoslavia. First, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), which had been a pillar of the Yugoslav state socialism, had to start justifying its character as it came to be defined as an outmoded and conservative institution. Second, it was increasingly difficult for the JNA leadership to attract men to its ranks while masculine ideals entered a period of flux. The urban and educated upper and middle-classes openly argued that the army was not living up to the many roles it was supposed to play. This study has important implications for studies of late socialism in Eastern Europe and the USSR as it indicates the dynamism of this period.
During the rule of Josef Stalin, the Soviet government sought to promulgate a common culinary aesthetic to facilitate the goals of the Soviet project. But pushback against these “socialist realist foodways” emerged in Soviet Ukraine. During the Khrushchev era the Ukrainian government took the step of creating Ukrains”ki stravy (“Ukrainian Dishes”). First published in 1957, this Ukrainian-language cookbook sought to articulate foodways that were both socialist realist and distinctively Ukrainian. The inevitable contradictions within this effort foreshadowed the problems that would dominate Soviet food discourse in subsequent decades, as the USSR’s citizens increasingly critiqued the shortcomings of the Soviet food system and attempted to reclaim prerevolutionary, and particularly national, culinary traditions. Drawing on published and archival Ukrainian sources, this paper explores the uncomfortable balance between nationality policy and official Soviet food discourse in the postwar era, and how this contributed to the eventual demise of socialist realist foodways.
During the Brezhnev era, the USSR’s food world was preoccupied with the “national cuisines” of the Soviet peoples. This represented the culmination of a major postwar trend expressed in cooking advice literature and public dining, notably through the publication of “national” cookbooks and the establishment of flagship ethnic restaurants in Moscow. Food experts promoting national cuisines sought to tidy up the borders of the USSR’s gastronomic landscape, putting each people in their place and elevating selected aspects of their cultures. This encouraged a collision between a longstanding drive for cultural modernization and a growing popular desire for historical “authenticity.” This collision not only laid bare failures of the Soviet food system, but also established an appealing and durable culinary legacy. Examining the national cuisines paradigm, we can identify productive tensions in late Soviet culture and come to better understand how fluidity across time and space helped define socialist modernity.
The fashion industry in the USSR developed as a socialist institution, premised on modernizing and proletarianizing a bourgeois and westward-facing system. When the All-Union House of Design (ODMO) opened in 1949, clothing designers believed that the usage of ethnic motifs based on the national costumes of the constituent republics provided the simplest means of creating clothing that reflected and celebrated the uniqueness of the USSR. Following Stalin’s death, fashion designers helped build a clothing industry that was compatible with international style trends, while endeavoring to maintain the basic tenets of Soviet design: practical, beautiful, and mass-producible clothing that reflected ethnic or national traditions. The continued utilization of ethnic and national motifs presented an image domestically and internationally of a unified, modern Soviet Union that allowed for national self-expression and beautified its citizens.
This article reconstructs the story of the Soviet Union’s medical internationalism amid the early years of destalinization, when it re-engaged more actively in the global health community. How did the USSR attempt to leverage medicine as a tool of soft power in both multilateral and bilateral relations? Based on records of the USSR Ministry of Health and the Medical Workers Union, as well as newspapers and other published sources, it analyzes what destalinization meant for physicians and public health administrators who sought greater exchange with and connection to their colleagues abroad. A widening web of interconnections in this transitional period paved the way to greater integration in a global medical community. Soviet medical and health professionals nurtured international relationships with a range of strategies, expectations, and aspirations. They used these opportunities to learn, and also to speak back to their superiors and to shape the trajectories of domestic research agendas.
This article examines the responses of early Soviet legal and juridical professionals to the 1926 group rape of seventeen-year-old Mariia N. as a starting point to discuss assumptions regarding women’s sexuality, peasant consciousness, and revolutionary transformation. By 1926, anxiety over the slow pace of revolutionary change created what might be called a crisis of legitimacy among early Soviet legal professionals. This article examines how these juridical professionals perceived the limits and failures of efforts to transform Russian society along socialist lines, and highlights their explanations for those failures that rested on the persistent “backwardness” of the countryside and on traditional discourses of female sexuality. While they argued that the slow pace of transformation hindered rural development, and expected greater state intervention in the countryside to facilitate such change, they failed to challenge traditional patriarchal assumptions regarding women. The article argues that the legal system played a central role in the Soviet social transformation, and that through redefining the law, early Soviet professionals helped to construct a legal foundation for the state that ultimately facilitated the state’s move away from its early emancipatory and communal impulses and toward the embrace of paternalism and individualism.