Multiplicity and Discontinuity in the Soviet Welfare History (1940-1980)
The Soviet history corresponds in many respects to the global modernization processes, but it has the unique features of the Soviet society and ideology, that in a special way determined Soviet social policy. It is, characterized by the increasing state intervention into private sphere, the official control and family support, as well as the constant extension of incentives, the rising number of welfare recipients and the tendency towards a prevalence of social guarantees. It should be noted that there is a terminological problem in the discussion on about Soviet social policy: as it seems, the term ‘social policy’ was not used in Soviet historiography (as well as in other social sciences) until the 1960s. Thus, the discussion on about social problems was automatically moved to the question of ‘single difficulties’. Analyzing their evolution and dynamics as well as the ways of their solution became possible only within the context of criticism of western lifestyle and capitalist state policy. Among the most frequent notions close to the examined discursive field are care (zabota), work organization (organizaciya raboty), experience in work with delinquents, orphans, women and invalids (opyt raboty), state control (gosudarstvennij kontro) and popular control (narodnij control). Occasional publications using the term ‘social policy’ appeared since the end of 1970s, but only from the 1980’s on, the level of interest in those issues became extremely high. , Tthe term became more and more frequent within the context of description (quite often the laudatory one) and within the official announcements in respect of the improvement of well-being, the rapprochement of villages and towns and development of socialist living. The research on Soviet welfare 1945 – 1989 leads us, on the one hand to continuities reaching backwards to the prewar period, and to changes in social policy during the periods of Stalinism, ‘the thaw’ and ‘stagnation’, on the other hand. At the same time, the analysis highlights not mainly the evidence of horrors, but numerous antagonisms, lacunas and mechanisms that helped people to achieve a kind of inner freedom, to adjust numerous rules and regulations and to gain a certain level of social integration.