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Speaking Out: The Public Discussion of the 1936 Constitution and the Practice of Soviet Democracy

Lomb, Samantha (2014) Speaking Out: The Public Discussion of the 1936 Constitution and the Practice of Soviet Democracy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Stalinist Constitution was a social contract between the state and its citizens. The Central leadership expressly formulated the 1936 draft to redefine citizenship and the rights it entailed, focusing on the inclusion of former class enemies and the expansion of “soviet democracy”. The discussion of the draft was conducted in such a manner as to be all-inclusive and promote the leadership’s definition of soviet democracy. However the issues that the leadership considered paramount and the issues that the populace considered paramount were very different. They focused on issues of local and daily importance and upon fairness and traditional peasant values as opposed to the state’s focus with the work and sacrifice of building socialism. However, the greatest difference was between how the state conceptualized the role of the former people and how the former people used their new rights. This tension between how the people and the state interpreted the role of the government and the duties of the state and citizens, in conjunction with former class enemies using their new rights to agitate for their own interest contributed to the onset of repression in 1937. This work focuses on this disconnect between the central leadership’s narrative of a social contract geared towards state building and the people’s interpretations of a social contract guaranteeing their rights and privileges, to illustrate some of the fundamental conflicts within Soviet society and the problems such tensions caused.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairChase, Williamwchase@pitt.eduWCHASE
Committee MemberHolmes,
Committee MemberRawski, Evelynesrx@pitt.eduESRX
Committee MemberThum, Gregorthum@pitt.eduTHUM
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 April 2014
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 3 May 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 352
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stalinism, Kirov, Constitution, 1936,Constitutionalism, USSR
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 19:23
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 05:15


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