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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Rather than recount the history of postwar society as a story of successive regimes identified with individual leaders, this chapter takes a thematic approach concentrating on the state’s attempts to balance the demands of international security against its ability to supply resources to the Soviet people. By the 1970s, the level of defence spending made it impossible to guarantee universal well-being and a good life through the official economy. So instead the state focused its attention on war veterans—a subgroup which by then encompassed most of the older generation—while allowing the rest of the citizenry to privatize everyday life. Soviet society’s spontaneous solutions to the war and postwar crises—suburban gardening at the dacha, barter, legal and illegal trade—thus became the base of the late socialist economy, while the new social entity born out of the war became a central status group in late socialist society.

Keywords: Cold War, détente, de-Stalinization, war veterans, youth, gender relations, ‘dacha socialism’, social welfare, consumer goods, military–industrial complex

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