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The 1960"s "Golden Age" In the Eyes of the Soviets

The 1960’s were considered the “Golden Age? of European societies. While facing the criticism of many, soviets saw a marked change in the way they lived their lives. It was a time when Western influence was both a curse and a blessing. Many were now able to enjoy a level of freedom not known during the Stalin period of dominance. They were now able to live for themselves, and enjoy personal freedoms not seen before in the Soviet Union. They enjoyed better standards of living, and happiness, then they ever could have imagined. They now lived under a government that showed a more human side. While they still lived a somewhat modest life compared to that seen in the west, the soviets lived in a world that was much calmer then previous decades.
This time allowed for soviets to now move into less crowded, and better quality apartments. In addition to being able to posses luxury items, such as televisions, stoves, cars and clothes. These were modern convinces that were brought to them from the west. These new living arrangements allowed for the betterment of private lives. They allowed the possession of western luxury unknown to the Soviet Union in any other period in soviet history. These luxuries became a symbol of status and wealth.
The 1960’s not only caused a change in Soviet appearance but also a shift in totalitarian government. The new generations of soviets saw themselves as individuals with a vested interest in the soviet past and future. They displayed their newfound freedom in open discussion of what should be emphasized in the new government structure. Previously such discussion would have been a possible death sentence to any soviet citizen.
This marked a faith in upward mobility in soviet society, and a hope for a better future. However, the soviet government was not on the same page as the citizens. They saw this new lifting of censorship as one that would cause the fall of the government in the Soviet Union. And this decade that seemed so grandiose still encountered the oppressive nature of past governments. In 1962 within the Soviet Union at Norbercherkassk, a riot took place. The result of this riot was the execution of many citizens, and the rise of other domestic problems.
Those who were in favor of the 60’s enlightenment were strong believers in a socialist government. Their hope was to inspire a society that was beneficial to the masses. One that showed concern for their individuality, and one that contained justice, as well as peace. However, their ideas, and the reality of the government they lived under were on two different spheres.
Gretta Schmalle, Cody Smiglewski, Joe Masrue, Rachel packer, Mike Kompa
"Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev" Geli Mikhalovich Korchv-Chuvelev, Museum of Russian Art 2007