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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The heady post-revolutionary years saw the formation of canons of ‘Soviet behaviour’ that remained recognizable in later generations, even when some thought them controversial or absurd. The new ideals were not simply imposed ‘from above’; they were created with the enthusiastic participation of individual Soviet citizens and of key ‘collectives’, including schools, workplaces and the Komsomol. Since coherence was meant to be achieved as much through exclusion as through inclusion, the strong sense of what was ‘Soviet’ (asceticism—the exercise of an ‘iron will’—self-sacrifice) was meant to be offset by an equally strong sense of what was not (self-indulgence—weakness—self-serving behaviour). Having explored both the reception and transformation of these ideals, the chapter ends by considering attitudes towards them in post-Soviet Russia, when old solidarities had gone and many either sought to escape the past or viewed it with selective nostalgia.

Keywords: new Soviet man, new Soviet woman, homo sovieticus, Soviet values, ideal citizens, gender relations, childhood, Komsomol, literary role models, youth culture

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