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VCE History: Area of Study 2: Social & Cultural Change: Russia: 1920s-1930s

Interwar period - America and Russia

Peasant life pre-revolution


Russian society pre-Revolution

Russia’s social structure was often depicted and lampooned in visual propaganda. For example, there were several versions of the ‘Russian wedding cake’ (see picture above). In these depictions, Russian society is shown as a feudal pyramid. The upper classes are propped up by the labour of the working masses, who are kept in check with work, religion and the threat of violence. 

In reality, the base of this cake was significantly broader than these images suggest. The poor peasantry and the industrial working-class made up more than four-fifths of the population, while Russia’s educated and professional middle classes were tiny compared to those of Britain, France and Germany.

The 1897 census categorised the Russian people into the following classes:




Article: The Failure of Soviet Orphan Policies, 1918-1939 by Stephen Wong
Posted on November 11, 2019

The word besprizornye meant abandoned and orphans in Soviet Russia. From 1918 to 1939, the massive number of orphans was one of the social problems the Soviet Union was facing. The history of orphans during the interwar period can be categorized into two periods: the first wave from 1918, the establishment of the Soviet Union throughout the civil war, to 1922, the beginning of the New Economic Policy (NEP) period...

The second wave of orphans appeared from 1930 to 1939, and this wave was caused by Stalin’s policies on collectivization, forced industrialization and terror. Read more


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