Saints in the Making: The Quasi-Religious Rearing of Soviet Children
Elena Vishnevskaya

Children as the proverbial ‘future’ had figured prominently in public imagination in pre-Soviet and Soviet Russia. Both societies attempted to assume moral and intellectual responsibility for the upbringing of the young. The Soviet era, however, has demonstrated perhaps the more determined and sustained efforts of a whole people to shape and mold the future epitomized by children. The clairvoyance of the Soviet state machine in its desire for self-propagation resulted in a well thought-out and meticulous rearing of children. Soviet political propaganda directed at children would pursue the cultivation and dissemination of values which very much resembled those of Eastern Orthodoxy. The quasi-religious tone of social and political culture in general betrayed a link with the past that Soviet functionaries both consciously and unconsciously pursued. This paper will give some attention to the original context within which the Byzantine and Russian religious traditions arose and the further context within which they were transformed. What follows does not claim to constitute a comprehensive appraisal of the social upbringing of children throughout the entire length of the Soviet regime. The paper will examine those elements of Soviet appropriation of the Byzantine and Russian religious traditions which appeared more pronounced, if not explicit.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/rah.v5n2a1