chapter
4 Pages

Module 7 Achievement

WithVictor Petrov, Riley Quinn

As a study of the "everyday", Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s focuses on the private lives of individuals. Fitzpatrick explores the Soviet effort to remake society from what it considered a backward mass of peasants into a modern, urban, and industrial community that could build socialism. In doing so, it used a language of utopianism to justify an economic focus on heavy industry, arguing that if everyone abandoned their previous way of life and contributed to industrialization, the Soviet Union could become a utopia—a paradise. Fitzpatrick's focus only on the Russian part of the Soviet Union has exposed her to some criticism, such as that by Serhy Yekelchuk, a Ukrainian professor. He notes that while processes similar to those Fitzpatrick identifies in Russia were occurring in Soviet Ukraine too, there were differences due to the urban makeup of cities. This point makes Fitzpatrick's analysis seem somewhat limited.