Return to Soviet Russia Fall 2001 Syllabus


Study questions on Ronald Grigor Suny, The Soviet Experiment:  Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1998)  

Week 13

Chapter 18, Khrushchev and the Politics of Reform, pages 404-420.

(The "Big Questions" are in italics)

Did the end of the stalinist terror mean the end of political repression in the USSR?   Explain.

Why was the post-Stalin leadership worried about the effects of a cultural "thaw"?

Give some examples of the cultural thaw of the mid-1950s.  Did this mean that the party gave up all control over the arts and other forms of culture?  Explain.  

Was the cultural thaw permanent?  Was Khrushchev's cultural policy consistent?   Explain.

Why does Suny call Khrushchev "idealistic"?

What measures did Khrushchev take to improve agriculture, and to what extent did they succeed?  To what extent did they fail?  Explain.

Did any of Khrushchev's reforms actually improve workers' lives?  Explain.

Did Khrushchev refuse to use force against labor protests?  Explain.

What signs seemed to indicate that the USSR was catching up to the USA in the 1950s?

Did the USSR's GNP continue to grow after 1958?  Explain.

What was the "Liberman Plan," and what became of it?

Explain the two main ideas of Khrushchev's educational reforms.

Explain Khrushchev's approach to "nationalities" issues.

Why was the Soviet development of a rocket capable of launching a satellite so important to the arms race?

Was there really a bomber gap of a missile gap in 1960?  Explain.

What developments led to the rift between the USSR and China?

What events led to a chill in US-Soviet relations in 1960 and why?  How did this effect Khrushchev's authority over foreign policy matters?

When, why, and by whom was the Berlin Wall built?

Why does Suny call the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 " Khrushchev's Gamble"?

How close did the USA and the USSR actually come to war in October 1962?  What effect did this have on Khrushchev's political position?  On US-Soviet relations?

Suny says that Khrushchev faced opposition from "conservative forces in the party leadership."  Explain what this means.  

What policy failures and new policy efforts did Khrushchev's enemies criticize? 

Did Khrushchev fight against being removed from power?  Explain.  What became of Khrushchev? 

What is Suny's final judgement of Khrushchev?

In your view, should Khrushchev be remembered as a failure or a success?   Explain.

What elements of the stalinist system did Khrushchev try to change, and what elements did he leave in place?

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