Hornsby, Robert (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis addresses the subject of political dissent during the Khrushchev era. It examines the kinds of protest behaviours that individuals and groups engaged in and the way that the Soviet authorities responded to them. The findings show that dissenting activity was more frequent and more diverse during the Khrushchev period than has previously been supposed and that there were a number of significant continuities in the forms of dissent, and the authorities’ responses to these acts, across the eras of Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. In the early Khrushchev years a large proportion of the political protest and criticism that took place remained essentially loyal to the regime and Marxist-Leninist in outlook, though this declined in later years as communist utopianism and respect for the ruling authorities seem to have significantly diminished. In place of mass terror, the authorities increasingly moved toward more rationalised and targeted practices of social control, seeking to ‘manage’ dissent rather than to eradicate it either by persuasion or by force. All of this was reflective of the fact that the relationship between state and society was undergoing a vital transitional stage during the Khrushchev years, as both parties began to establish for themselves what had and had not changed since Stalin’s death.
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