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
by Mirjam Galley That the USSR did not turn out to be the utopia of gender equality that some revolutionaries had dreamt of in 1917 can no longer really surprise anyone. A glimpse into how the Soviet authorities dealt with juvenile delinquency allows us to fathom the extent to which boys and girls were thought … More ‘An amoral lifestyle’ – criminalizing female sexuality in the Soviet 1960s
By Sagar Deva Despite unspeakable horrors that were routinely carried out against indigenous populations across the globe during the Colonial era, it was rare for colonisers to present their repression of native peoples in anything other than morally positive language. The justification for withholding basic rights from native populations was couched in the language of … More The Institutionalization of Injustice: The Emperor’s New Clothes?
During a research trip to Madrid in April this year, a Spanish friend poked fun at my MA research on Nationalist propagandists in Seville during the Civil War (1936-1939). ‘In Spain,’ he said, ‘the Second Republic [1931-1939] and everything that comes after is still practically journalism’. His tongue-in-cheek comment referred to what Helen Graham has … More Economic apologies for Francoist repression, 1937 and 2017
Almost exactly 80 years ago, on 3 November 1937, the NKVD executed the renowned Ukrainian theatre director Les Kurbas. Kurbas was not alone that day – a large group of Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were executed alongside him. The loss of so many of Ukraine’s cultural community resonated deeply with their compatriots, and those who … More The ‘Garrotted Renaissance’: language and nationalism in the 1930s
By Léa Carresse On the night of 18 October 1977, the remaining three key members of the first generation of the Red Army Faction died in mysterious circumstances in Stammheim prison. Another member barely survived severe stab wounds. Immediately following what became infamously known as the “death night” in West German history, the second generation of … More Linguistic traces of totalitarianism in Germany’s Red Army Faction: from Stalin’s Soviet Language Policy to National-Socialism.
by Danny Bird One morning in July 1920, representatives of the world’s Communist and revolutionary socialist parties gathered alongside an audience of 45,000 outside Petrograd’s Stock Exchange building. For three hours, an epic historical production titled ‘Toward the Worldwide Commune’ gripped their imagination. In one memorable scene, the red flag of the Paris Commune of … More The Paris Commune and the Consolidation of the Leninist state
By Anna Lukina As one of the most publicized and mysterious —yet surprisingly obscured— Soviet criminal cases, the Semenchuk case (1936) provides one of the most striking examples of the use of the Soviet court as an instrument of propaganda. The Semenchuk case was, in many ways, a “rehearsal” for the subsequent infamous Moscow Show … More The Soviet Court as a Propaganda Instrument II: The Semenchuk Case, 1936
By Lonny Harrison Almost from the moment they seized control in November 1917, the Bolsheviks nationalized the publishing industry and tightly controlled the press. Soviet authorities were never ashamed of their monopoly on media and culture, viewing them as weapons of class struggle. After all, media had been used by the bourgeoisie for their own … More Doctor Zhivago as a Response to the Weaponization of Soviet Literature and Mass Culture
By Anna Lukina “The Soviet court should, above all, persuade, prove and subordinate the public attention to its moral influence and authority.” Andrei Vyshinskii, “Theory of Evidence in the Soviet Law” (1946) It is well-known that the Soviet court procedure, especially in the 1930s, can be characterized by its lack of due process, judicial independence, … More The Soviet Court as a Propaganda Instrument
By Nathan Brand Since the election of Donald Trump in the US and the resurgence of the radical right across Europe, you’ll have seen the reports of Russia’s involvement in the democratic process in the West. You’ll probably have picked up on the McCarthyist-style links fashioned by the media against anyone suspected of being connected … More Debunking ‘Continuity Russia’