Conflicts and divorces
The inconsistencies of the law, especially in terms of recognizing de facto marriages and allowing for an easy postcard divorce, make comparing divorce rates in pre-and post-World War II rural Soviet Union almost impossible. According to first-hand accounts, rural women in the 1920s and 1930s believed a divorce was a rare occasion in the countryside; they argued that rural women were patient, had few romantic notions, and did not seek a life that was different from what they, their mothers, their grandmothers, and all prior generations had. Moreover, a large number of de facto marriages in the 1920s and 1930s make tracing the “divorce” in such relationships extremely challeng - ing. Yet the changes in the divorce proceedings and the refusal to recognize de facto or common-law marriages in the 1940s made official statistics more reliable for appreciating the stability and longevity of rural families. Accounts of women who are still alive and have a vivid memory of their marriage experiences in the 1940s and thereafter make the story of conflicts and divorces in the post-war Soviet Union more complete and, as a result, more accurate. Hence it seems justified to investigate divorces and their grounds starting in the 1940s.