The Soviet Educational Project: The Eradication of Adult Illiteracy in the 1920s–1930s
The article analyzes the constituent steps and measures of the Soviet campaign to eradicate illiteracy among adults in the 1920s–30s. A comparison of educational and ideological aspects of this campaign demonstrates how closely they were interrelated and how they facilitated the creation of new patterns of cultural behavior. The author shows that during the campaign entire groups of the population not only learned how to read and write, but also mastered (and partly helped form) a new “Soviet language” for communication with the Soviet authorities and to achieve their own goals through the manipulation of official concepts and terms. The study is based on guidelines for teachers, official Soviet decrees, the media, manuals, and alphabet books.