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Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring

The year 1956 in Russia started with Nikita Khrushchev’s bombshell “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin’s purges and ended with Soviet intervention to quash the Hungarian uprising. Kathleen Smith pinpoints the beginning of the unraveling of the Soviet system in the traumatic events of the year. Through the life stories of former GULAG prisoners-turned policy makers, persecuted geneticists, idealistic students, wary writers, and reeling propagandists, Smith captures the painful dynamic of reform and retreat that shaped the political views of the generation that would mastermind perestroika.

Date & Time

Monday
Nov. 27, 2017
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Location

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Overview

Image removed.The year 1956 in Russia started with Nikita Khrushchev’s bombshell “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin’s purges and ended with Soviet intervention to quash the Hungarian uprising.  Kathleen Smith pinpoints the beginning of the unraveling of the Soviet system in the traumatic events of the year. Through the life stories of former GULAG prisoners-turned policy makers, persecuted geneticists, idealistic students, wary writers, and reeling propagandists, Smith captures the painful dynamic of reform and retreat that shaped the political views of the generation that would mastermind perestroika.

Kathleen E. Smith is a teaching professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is also the author of Mythmaking in the New Russia: Memory and Politics in the Yeltsin Era (Cornell, 2002) and Remembering Stalin’s Victims: Popular Memory and the End of the USSR (Cornell, 1996). Smith is currently beginning a study of cultural politics in Russia through the lens of Peredelkino, the elite writers’ community created under Stalin.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.


Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program strives to make public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, to facilitate scholarship based on those records, and to use these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region through research and exchange.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

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