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Russia – The Rule of Khrushchev, 1953-64

2. Second World War to the Death of Stalin (1945-53)

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In this module, we trace events from the end of the Second World War (1939-45) up to Stalin's death in 1953, focusing in particular on the country's attempts to rebuild after the enormous destruction of the war, the use of art and propaganda to maintain morale and generate a sense of purpose, and the importance of Stalin's cult of personality in the final decade of his life.


In this course, Dr Miriam Dobson (University of Sheffield) explores Russia under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev, 1953-64. In the first module, we think about the usefulness of the concept of 'Khrushchev's Thaw' in describing the political climate in Russia in this period, as well as tracing Khrushchev's extraordinary journey to become supreme leader of the Soviet Union in 1953. After that, we focus on events in the period 1945-53 to understand the kinds of problems that Soviet Russia was facing when Khrushchev came to power. In the final three modules, we focus on three of Khrushchev's most important reforms: (1) his changes to the prison-camp system that led to the release of millions of prisoners (both political and otherwise); (2) his criticism of the excesses of Stalinism (and of Stalin himself) in his so-called 'Secret Speech' of February 1956; and (3) his extensive building-programme that creating new housing for millions of ordinary Russians.


Dr Miriam Dobson is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie in the history of the Soviet Union, with a particular emphasis on the social and cultural history of post-war Russia. Her first book explored popular responses to the reforms of the Khrushchev era, in particular the massive exodus of prisoners from the Gulag. Khrushchev's Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalinexamined the impact of these returnees on communities and, more broadly, Soviet attempts to come to terms with the traumatic legacies of Stalin's terror.

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APA style

Dobson, M. (2019, January 03). Russia – The Rule of Khrushchev, 1953-64 - Second World War to the Death of Stalin (1945-53) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dobson, M. "Russia – The Rule of Khrushchev, 1953-64 – Second World War to the Death of Stalin (1945-53)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 Jan 2019,