Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 9 years ago

How did the Communists maintain power in the USSR 1945-1970? And the role of Dissidents?

I'm currently in AP Euro and I have to write a paragraph about how they stayed in power. I know about the Stalinist Purges and how the kept the peasants down, but I don't really know how. And what were dissidents? Obviously I don't want my paragraph written but some basic facts or things about it would be very helpful.

Thank you!

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Until he died in 1953 Stalin controlled the people through a variety of methods. Fear, during the Great Purges a culture developed of informing on friends, loved ones, parents, neighbours and work colleagues. So people learnt not to say what they meant, but to only speak about certain things in glowing, propaganda-like ways - this was the process Orwell called "double-think" in his book 1984.

    Propaganda - Soviet propaganda was everywhere, there were posters throughout the towns and villages, most films had a propaganda message and all plays and other artworks had to be produced using the Socialist Realism Style.

    Fear and propaganda are blunt weapons if used on their own, so Stalin also used rewards. Party members were rewarded for their loyalty and their good service through a system of: higher wages, better apartments, better hospitals, better schools and special shops that stocked better goods than the ordinary citizen's shops. Non-party people were also rewarded for their hard work with gifts and medals - such as Stakhanovite medals and better apartments for these shock workers.

    Stalin was also the beneficiary of a genuine belief in communism by millions of Soviet citizens. People volunteered in their millions to help in some construction and agriculture projects. Programmes of literacy, free healthcare, female emancipation - they were allowed careers, education and the vote for the first time, free education for all and electrification all helped to make communism a popular ideology.

    After Stalin's death, the system of terror was curtailed, the Gulags were all shut by 1960 and people no longer feared arbitrary arrest. Unfortunately Brezhnev put back in place some of the terror - people could be arrested for "anti-Soviet agitation", but few, if any, were executed for political crimes.

    The real reason as to how the Soviets managed to maintain power is because for so many it was "normal", they had jobs, houses, food was cheap and they were competing on a level playing field with the USA on many levels.


    Stalin, A Biography by Robert Service

    The Soviet Union 1917 - 1991 by Martin MacCauley

  • 9 years ago

    The stayed in power by putting those that do not agree with them ( dissidents) in jail /gulags ( work camp in USSR)or, worse they had a mock trial and executed them. through intimidation and most important "Fear". Stalin killed and executed more than 25million of his own people. He executed his closest associates, in fear that they would overthrow him. They rewarded anybody that would

    rat on family or friends, then arrest them, you had kids rating on family members etc.

    The same has been happening here, through" fear" ( Al-Qaeda) this government has taken our rights

    to protect us. I suggest you read this book to understand it all.

    The Creature From Jekyll Island ... by Griffin.

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