chapter  10
10 Pages

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.