The Language of ‘Authoritarian’ Regimes

Based in the University of Sheffield’s Department of History, ‘The Language of “Authoritarian” Regimes’ is a collaborative project intended to explore the creation, dissemination and reception of discourse in regimes commonly referred to as ‘authoritarian’. We aim to bring together scholars working on the language of ‘authoritarian’ states, and to discuss how as academics we can approach and … More The Language of ‘Authoritarian’ Regimes

Speaking Soviet – The Marriage of Soviet Linguistics and Literacy in the Early Soviet Period

By Kate Martin With the advent of the early Soviet period, the idea of literacy and language was one which was at the forefront of the minds of the Bolshevik leadership. Although work had begun in the late 19th and early 20th century by the previous regime to make education and literacy more available to … More Speaking Soviet – The Marriage of Soviet Linguistics and Literacy in the Early Soviet Period

‘Girls with Low Social Responsibility’: Putin, Pre-Revolutionary Policing, and Prostitution in the Language of ‘Immorality’.

by Siobhán Hearne Last month, the internet went wild about Vladimir Putin’s defence of Donald Trump, particularly his dismissal of the validity of the Trump-Russia dossier. Observers seemed most amused by Putin’s comments regarding Moscow sex workers, particularly his remark that they are ‘of course, the best in the world’. This has been quoted again … More ‘Girls with Low Social Responsibility’: Putin, Pre-Revolutionary Policing, and Prostitution in the Language of ‘Immorality’.

Suicide really isn’t war: megalomania, counterculture and the joy of metal music in the Soviet Union

By Dawn Hazle Popular music presents a problem to authoritarian regimes: by its nature it either has to be controlled, or banned. Yet, control requires a lot of resources, and simply just pushes the problem underground.  In the Soviet Union, both approaches were undertaken: popular music was controlled through state-sponsored Vokal’no-Instrumental’nyi Ansambl’ (VIA) groups and … More Suicide really isn’t war: megalomania, counterculture and the joy of metal music in the Soviet Union

The Political Language of Celebration: The Anniversary of the October Revolution, 1918-1932

By Jon Rowson ‘It is impossible to build socialism in white gloves’ – Mikhail Kalinin, 7 November 1930[1] The Anniversary of the October Revolution was the apogee of public politics in the young Soviet state. The celebrations, lasting 2-3 days in all areas of the USSR, were a means of honouring the previous year’s achievements, … More The Political Language of Celebration: The Anniversary of the October Revolution, 1918-1932

New Year Wishes: a Soviet Child’s Letter to Krupskaia

by Hannah Parker In December 1930, a twelve year old girl named Nura wrote an apparently cheerful request for correspondence to Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Russian Deputy Education Commissar from 1929-1939: ‘Long I have dreamt to have a correspondence with the great leader of the young friends of Pioneers… I do not have the opportunity to … More New Year Wishes: a Soviet Child’s Letter to Krupskaia

A Bulwark Made of Words: the Francoist Press during the Second World War

By Miguel Rivas Venegas In the opinion of Sir Samuel Hoare, British Ambassador in Spain, the Spanish press from the 1940s was a toy in the hands of the Third Reich’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels. Newspapers were full of terminology described by the researcher Luis Veres as the ‘lexical arsenals’ of authoritarian regimes, and were … More A Bulwark Made of Words: the Francoist Press during the Second World War

Just how ‘pro-Russian’ is the youth of Eastern Ukraine?

By Victoria Hudson Media outlets have often presented Ukraine as a fractured country, even before the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country. Such reporting has frequently contrasted a pro-European, Ukrainian-speaking population in the West with a diametrically opposed Russian-speaking, Sovietised community in the East, with both sides locked in a struggle for … More Just how ‘pro-Russian’ is the youth of Eastern Ukraine?

Red Whirlwinds: Fyodor Lopukhov and the Ballet Revolution

By Olivia Bašić In April 1923, at the Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, it was decided that the theatre would become an essential tool in the organisation of mass propaganda regarding the struggle of communism. A resolution was passed declaring ‘it was necessary to strengthen the work for the creation and selection of a … More Red Whirlwinds: Fyodor Lopukhov and the Ballet Revolution

Educating the ‘Uneducable’: Soviet Deaf-Blind Education and the New Soviet Person

By Charles Beacroft In 1928, Lucy Wilson, an experienced educator and pedagogue, travelled from the United States to the Soviet Union to compile an accurate account of the advances of Soviet education for the Vanguard Studies of Soviet Russia. In her travels, she arrived to a school for the deaf-blind in the Ukraine and was … More Educating the ‘Uneducable’: Soviet Deaf-Blind Education and the New Soviet Person

Between Populace and Elite: Challenging Traditional Views of Revolutionary Russia

by Beth Pennyfather Typically, accounts of the 1917 Revolution depict a very class conscious image of Russia, reflecting the influence of Leninist concepts of revolution. However, this was not the case among the proletariat, for whom the revolution was less explicitly ideologically motivated. Rooted in issues such as inflation, general living conditions and food shortages, … More Between Populace and Elite: Challenging Traditional Views of Revolutionary Russia