The Soviet World in the Long 1970s


The Soviet 1970s was long. Coinciding with the rule of Leonid Brezhnev from 1964-1982 in both scholarly and popular understanding, the period is associated with a variety of concepts—“developed socialism,” “mature socialism,” “re-Stalinization,” and, most often, “stagnation.”

But as many scholars of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are increasingly noting, the 1970s as a period of stagnation is too simple. It was a time of profound change and globalization, even for state socialist societies. Life behind the Iron Curtain began resembling life on the other side—a complex, modern post-industrial consumerist society. Moreover, the USSR and Eastern Europe were actively engaged in the so-called “developing world”—as cultural, political, and economic exchanges with Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America proliferated. There’s even a reevaluation of the memory of the period as nostalgia for the 1970s has become a lens to reflect on the present for the last Soviet generation in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The long Soviet 1970s is increasingly a period viewed as a time of lost potential rather than the beginning of the end.

REEES’ Fall 2021 Speakers series The Soviet World in the Long 1970s will explore some of the trends and issues through a series of six live interviews to deepen our understanding of the political, social, and cultural complexities of the Brezhnev period.

“Moscow’s not Paris, or Accra,” African Students in the USSR

Thursday September 9, Noon-1:30 pm EST
A Live Interview with:
Constantin Katsakioris, Bayreuth Academy.

Soy Cuba: the Soviet Union and Cuba

Thursday September 23 Noon-1:30 pm EST
A Live Interview with:
Clare Ibarra, UC Berkeley

The Cold War from the Margins

Thursday October 7 Noon-1:30 pm EST
A Live Interview with:
Theodora K. Dragostinova, Ohio State University

Soviet Flower Power

Thursday, October 21 Noon-1:30 pm EST
A Live Interview with:
Juliane Fürst, Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History


The Things of Late Soviet Life

Wednesday November 3, Noon-1:30 pm EST.
A live Interview with:
Alexey Golubev, University of Houston

Soviet Art House Film in the Long Seventies

Thursday November 11, Noon-1:30 pm EST
A Live Interview with:
Catriona Kelly, Oxford University