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Author: A.K. Sokolov
Everyday Stalinism I
Living Standards, Norms and Values of Various Groups of Soviet People in the 1920s and 1930s

Central Administration of Statistics
The archival materials in this collection, now held at the Russian State Archives of Economics (RGAE), were compiled by the Central Administration of Statistics of the USSR (TsSU), founded in 1917. Its main tasks were gathering statistical information and setting up inquiries. The TsSU underwent many changes and was later named TsUNKhU ( Central Administration of Economics and Social Statistics) operating under the Commission for State Planning, the Gosplan. The documents remained classified until 1993.

In 1936 and 1938 the TsUNKhU, in cooperation with the VLKSM (the All-Union Lenin Young Communist League - an organization responsible for the political education of young people in the USSR), set up a special survey into the cultural and political interest and way of life of young workers and students (1936) and kolkhozniki (1938).
The questionnaires clearly reflect the Soviet ideology of the 1920s and 1930s. The forms contain questions concerning, among other things, participation in socialist political work, party membership, membership of the Stakhanov-movement (named after Alexey Stakhanov - a miner who delved twenty times a day’s norm of coal in one day) and participation in the GTO program ( Ready for Labor and Defense - a semi-military popular movement). The questionnaire, however, is divers and also provides information regarding matters of education, attendance of cultural and public events, use of libraries, possession of books, knowledge of foreign languages, memberships of sport societies and recreational activities (did they have radios, skis, musical instruments, etc.) A special section deals with questions on popular and political literature including classical works of Marxism-Leninism as well as books by M. Gorky, A.Serafimovitch, D. Furmanov, N. Ostrovskii, L. Tolstoy, H. de Balzac, I. Turgenev etc.

Labor Statistics
The documents produced by the Labor Statistics Department, a special department within the TsSU, form the core of the collection. The documents contain information on every aspect of labor of interest to the soviet government: efficiency, disciplinary fines, monthly salaries, the division of workers among the different branches of Soviet industry, women in different professions and membership of the " udarniki movement" (a doctrine stimulating workers to produce beyond their daily quotes). The documents also contain data on unemployment and the salary funds movements in capitalist countries in 1932. In addition to statistics on labor, the documents contain information on the living conditions of the soviet people, such as housing, clothing, food consumption, medical care, recreational habits, expenditure etc.

Historical value
The documents of the collection provide insight into the development of the socialist society and the impact of the socialist economy on various social and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union. Most of them were brought up and formed by the Soviet political system. The statistical and analytical data cover various cities and regions (Moscow, Leningrad, Ukraine, Ural, and Republic of Germans in the Volga region and many others). The surveys (questionnaires) were addressed to various professionals and ethnic groups – industrial workers, engineers, employers, kolkhozniki and students.

Russian State Archives of Economics
The RGAE is one of the largest archives within the Russian Federation. It used to be known till 1992 as the Central State Archive of People’s Economy ( Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv narodnogo khoziastva, TsGANKh) and is the principal repository for documents on political, economic and administrative matters, containing materials from 1917 onwards. The archive contains the fonds of the narkomaty (people’s commissariat), ministries and state committees such as the State Committee on Statistics ( Goskomstat), planning agencies such as Gosplan, and other central governmental agencies, which managed, planned and financed the national economy in the USSR.
Many of the formerly restricted fonds and parts of fonds have been declassified in recent years, including most of the records of Gosplan, the State Committee on Statistics ( Goskomstat), and military industrial institutions. In many fonds of more recent origin, secret sections remain classified. RGAE contains 2021 fonds, with more than 4 million files. These documents provide a full picture of the Soviet State during its 70 year long history The collection includes the following types of documents:
• TsSU and the TsUNKhU bulletins containing the results of investigations into the income and expenditure of the soviet population (1926-1928, 1932, 1934-1939).
• Reports and secret memorandums of the TsUNKhU to the Central Committee of the Communist Party and government concerning the budgets and salaries of factory workers (1932-1935).
• Instructions on how to compose questionnaires for the surveys into the lifestyle and interests of students, young workers and kolkhozniki (1936,1938).
• Filled-in questionnaires (1936,1938).
• Registration forms completed by day-laborers containing information on salary etc. (March 1935).
Everyday Stalinism II
Peasants under Stalinism: Mentality and Way of Life

The collection provides an insight into the mentality and way of life of Soviet citizens of that period. It answers such question as: Who promoted and who resisted the Stalin regime, and in what ways? Why did people write to newspapers, and what did they expect from the authorities? Who were the sel'kory? How did people become voluntary informants? What was the position of women?

Krest'ianskaia Gazeta
Krest'ianskaia Gazeta was published in the period 1923-1939. At the end of 1926, it had a circulation of one million, making it the biggest Soviet periodical. In 1939, circulation reached three million. The Gazeta was headed by J.A. Jakovlev (Epshtein), and later by S.B. Uritskii. It was meant to be a newspaper for people with a low level of education. The articles in it were simple and easy to understand, and the text was printed in large letters, so that even peasants with a very low level of education could understand it. The newspaper addressed country people in the name of the ruling party, and published articles about problems in the countryside.

State and country side
The response from readers was enormous. The newspaper had a double social function: To disseminate Communist ideology, and to serve as a feedback channel between the Soviet government and the peasantry. Peasants regarded the newspaper as a body of state power. After a while, the editorial board of the newspaper took it upon itself to analyze the complaints and the various needs of country people. The stream of letters from readers exceeded the editor's expectations, and this created a calamitous situation. In 1924, the number of letters addressed to the Gazeta amounted to 243,000; in 1925, this figure was 269,000 (or 397,000, according to some estimates), and in 1926, it was 1 million. During its first ten years, the paper received over five million letters. Those that contained questions about the most serious problems were forwarded to the various governmental bodies, which sometimes used the letters as the basis for discussion and for the making of new laws. Upon arrival at the Gazeta, the letters were divided in several groups. Those containing complaints and/or requests were passed on to various ministries and commissions (about 15-20% of the total); fewer than 1% were actually published.

Criticism of the socialist system
Between 1924 and 1927, farmers discussed the possibility of building socialism, and tried to define their attitude toward the new life; they created 'models' of a future society. In 1928, the tone of the letters started to change: Their writers criticized and expressed dissatisfaction with the socialist system in the countryside. A year later, the letters no longer discussed what socialism would look like: The majority reflected dissatisfaction with Soviet rule, and hostility to and distrust of socialism. The content of the letters changed drastically in 1938-1939. Peasants emphasized 'sabotage, mismanagement and power a buse on collective farms.'
However, although farmers were writing about serious social conflicts, disappointments, and difficult situations in the countryside, the Gazeta published only positive information. Letters containing negative facts were classified. On the basis of these letters, surveys and collections were prepared for governmental functionaries. Later, these materials were sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Everyday life
These letters from peasants contain extremely rich material about everyday life and the mentality of peasants under Stalinism. They also provide an insight into the political, economic, demographic, and socio-psychological consequences of Soviet politics for the countryside in the period 1923-1939. This collection is a historical source for those studying the mentality of the Soviet peasantry under Stalinism. It reveals peoples' attitudes toward the Soviet authority, the Communist Party, governmental policies, collective farms ( kolhoz), social problems and conflicts in the countryside, family relations, life in communes and agricultural associations, leisure, everyday life, new culture, and the demography of the Russian countryside.

Russian State Archives of Economy
Following the successful release of the Everyday Stalinism collection (published in 2001), IDC Publishers is expanding its offering of source materials from the Russian State Archive of Economy (RGAE) in Moscow. Since 1964, this collection has been held by the Russian State Archive of Economics ( Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv ekonomiki; RGAE), one of the largest archives in the Russian Federation. Until 1992 it was known as the Central State Archive of the National Economy ( Tsentral'nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv narodnogo khoziastva; TsGANKh); it is now the principal repository for documents on political, economic, and administrative matters, and contains material dating from 1917 onward. Many of the formerly classified collections and parts thereof - including most of the records of Gosplan (the State Committee on Statistics; Goskomstat) and of the military industrial institutions - have been declassified in recent years. Some sections of many of the collections of more recent origin remain classified. RGAE contains 2021 collections, comprising over 4 million files. These documents provide a comprehensive picture of the Soviet State during its 70 years of existence.