Soviet Russia Final Exam Question

This exam asks you to use your readings and knowledge to respond to a premise.


Here is the Premise:


We cannot understand the history of Soviet society in 1917-1991 if we look only at the regime's oppressive features.  To understand the history of Soviet society we also must examine reasons why millions of people supported Communist rule (or at the very least chose to make accommodations to it).  Moreover, if we want to understand why Communist rule collapsed, we must recognize that by the mid-1980s the "Soviet system" had lost virtually all popular legitimacy.  It lost legitimacy because the Soviet system had been designed to transform Russia from a backward peasant society into a well-educated urban society.  Once the Soviet system had succeeded in creating a well-educated, urban society, it was by its very nature was incapable of meeting the "new" society's needs and aspirations.


Based upon all of our common readings this semester (excluding the Hickey documents), do you agree with the argument articulated in the above premise?  (This is not an all-or-nothing proposition---you can agree with all, part, or none of the premise.)   Explain your position, based upon evidence drawn from all of our common readings (excluding the Hickey documents).  You also can use evidence from your individual readings.  


I will grade your paper based upon the logic of your answer, your use of evidence for all our required readings, excluding the Hickey document book, the clarity of your paper (that includes grammar, punctuation, syntax and word usage), and your attention to proper form. 

Your paper must be typed, double-spaced and follow the mandatory paper form.  It must make use of endnote citations.  See the directions in the on-line syllabus.