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chronology of soviet history

Civil War Civil War (1918-1920)

1920


1921


1922


1922-1923


1924


1925


1926



1925-1928


1927


1928


1929


1929-1932


1929


1930


1931


1932


1933


1934

1932


1933


1934


1935


1936


1937


1938


1939


World War IIWorld War II (1939-1945)

1939

  • General
    • Outbreak of World War II
    • 18th Party Congress. Only 59 of 1,966 of those present at the previous congress attend (1,108 had been arrested)
    • Meierkhol'd is arrested, then shot in 1940. His wife is murdered
    • Babel' is arrested
  • August
    • Molotov/von Ribbentrop Non-aggression pact is signed with Germany
  • September
    • USSR invades Poland
  • November
    • USSR attacks Finland
  • December
    • Stalin's 60th birthday is celebrated

1940

  • General
    • Mikhail Bulgakov dies
    • E. Shvarts writes Тень/The Shadow, A. Tolstoi writes Xождение по мукам/Road to Calvary
  • March
    • Finland signs a peace accord with Soviets, giving up Kareliia and Vyborg
  • August
    • Murder of Trotskii by Ramon Mercador, a Stalinist agent, in Mexico

1941

  • General
    • Marina Tsvetaeva commits suicide
    • Shostakovich writes his 7th Symphony, while living in blockaded Leningrad
    • Vasilii Lebedev-Kumach writes "Священная война/Sacred War"
    • Simonov writes "Жди меня/Wait for Me"
    • Pyr'ev directs Свинарка и пастуx/The Swineherd Girl and the Shepherd Boy
    • Kalatozov directs Валерий Чкалов/Valerii Chkalov
    • Isaak Babel' dies or is killed in prison
    • Patriarchate is restored
    • Return to Slavdom, Russian patriotism/nationalism, Orthodoxy
  • February
    • Responsibility for internal affairs is assumed by the NKGB, replacing the NKVD
  • June
    • June 22, Nazis invade the USSR under operation "Barbarossa"
  • September
    • Germans begin blockade of Leningrad that will continue until January 1944
    • Germans begin offensive against Moscow
    • Over 33 thousand Jews are executed at Babii Iar outside of Kiev
  • October
    • Germans take the Ukraine

1942

  • General
    • Daniil Kharms is arrested and dies in Prison
  • July
    • General Vlasov and others defect to the Germans and set up the "Russian Liberation Army"
  • August
    • General Zhukov is appointed as commander of the armed forces
  • November
    • Battle of Stalingrad begins (ending in February, 1943)
    • 25th Anniversary of the Revolution -- Signals a loosening of ideology

1943

  • General
    • Mikhail Zoshchenko publishes his book Перед восxодом солнца/Before Sunrise
    • Simonov writes Дни и ночи/Days and Nights about the battle of Stalingrad
    • S. Mikhalkov and G. El-Registan write a new Soviet anthem; The "Internationale" becomes the Party anthem
    • Stalin restores the patriarchate; Sergei declares Stalin "divinely annointed" ruler
    • Stalin disbands the Comintern
    • Evgenii Shvarts writes Дракон/The Dragon
  • March
    • Stalin is awarded the title of Marshall by the Supreme Soviet
  • July
    • Battle of Kursk
    • Massive deportations of Kalmyks, Ingush, and other minorities
  • December
    • The playing of the "Internationale" is replaced with a patriotic, state hymn

1944

  • January
    • The Leningrad Blockade is broken
  • June
    • D-Day
    • Illegitimacy is legally recognized. A tax is imposed on childless families
  • November
    • General Vlasov, captured by the Germans in 1942, leads a pro-fascist, Russian force against the "tyranny of Stalinism."

1945

  • General
    • The first half of Eisenshtein's film Иван Грозный/Ivan the Terrible is released. The second half is released only in 1958
    • Pasternak begins Доктор Живаго/Doktor Zhivago
    • Fadeev writes Молодая гвардияYoung Guard
    • Zochshenko writes "Приключения обезьяна/Adventures of a Monkey"
    • During the war 27 million Soviets die. 25 million are left homeless
  • February
    • Meeting of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta
  • April
    • April 17 -- Final offensive against Berlin
    • April 25 -- Russian and American armies meet on the Elbe
  • May
    • May 8 -- Germans surrender
  • July
    • The Berlin Conference takes place
  • August
    • The United States ends the Land-Lease program to the USSR
    • The 4th Five-Year plan is announced

Zhdanovshchina"Zhdanovshchina" (1946-53)

1945

  • General
    • The first half of Eisenshtein's film Иван Грозный/Ivan the Terrible is released. The second half is released only in 1958
    • During the war 27 million Soviets die. 25 million are left homeless
  • February
    • Meeting of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta
  • April
    • April 17 -- Final offensive against Berlin
    • April 25 -- Russian and American armies meet on the Elbe
  • May
    • May 8 -- Germans surrender
  • July
    • The Berlin Conference takes place
  • August
    • The United States ends the Land-Lease program to the USSR
    • The 4th Five-Year plan is announced

1945-1948


1945-1947

  • Defectors are returned to USSR by Allies.

1946

  • General
    • Boris Polevoi's Повесть о настоящем человеке/Story of a Real Man is written
    • Nurenburg Trials take place
    • First elections to the Supreme Soviet since 1937
  • January
    • Beria is replaced as head of NKVD by Kruglov
  • February
    • The Red Army is renamed The Soviet Army
  • August
    • Zhdanov's attack on the arts begins. Zoshchenko and Akhmatova are especially singled out

1947

  • General
    • The Academy of Arts of the USSR is created; Gerasimov is its first president
    • End of rationing
    • Cominform established
  • February
    • Marriage of Soviet Citizens to foreigners is illegalized
  • May
    • The Death Penalty is abolished

1948

  • General
    • Cooperation on the return of defectors ends
    • Czechoslovakia joins the Soviet Bloc
    • Fedor Shurpin's painting "Утро нашей родины/Morning of our Motherland" is completed
    • Azhaev writes Далеко от Москвы/Far from Moscow
    • Boris Polevoi writes Мы -- Советские люди/We are Soviet People
    • The Pushkin Art Museum is closed. A Museum of Gifts to Stalin is opened in its place (in the same building)
  • February
    • Zhdanov dies
  • June
    • The USSR begins the blockade of Berlin (which lasts until May 1949)
    • Tension grows between the USSR and Yugoslavia
  • October
    • Lysenko's ideas on overcoming and manipulating nature become widely accepted
    • The plan to "reconstruct nature" is accepted, under which canals are to be built, and forest land protected

1949

  • General
    • Aleksandrov directs Встреча на Ельбе/Meeting on the Elbe and Chiaureli directs Падение Берлина/The Fall of Berlin
    • A campaign to expose "cosmopolitanism" is carried out in the arts and sciences
  • September
    • The Soviets detonate their first atomic bomb
  • December
    • Khrushchev becomes Moscow Party boss
    • Stalin's 70th birthday is celebrated

1950

  • General
    • The Death Penalty is reinstated for spies, traitors and "wreckers" [вредители]
    • USSR and China sign Alliance treaty
  • June
    • Stalin's article "Марксизм и вопросы языкознания/Marxism and Questions of Linguistics" is published in Pravda (June 20)

1951

  • General
    • Andrei Platonov dies
  • January
    • The decision is made to build the Don-Volga Canal (which is finished in 1952)
  • March
    • Khrushchev announces his plan to gradually eliminate all villages and construct "agro-cities"

1952

  • General
    • Campaign against "cosmoplitanism" is begun. Numerous prominent Jews are executed
    • Zamiatin's Мы/My is published in-full in the West
  • October
    • The 19th Party Congress supports the implementation of the 5th Five-Year plan (already in effect since 1950)

1953

  • General
    • Beria is arrested and shot
    • Bunin dies
    • Pomerantsev writes "Об искренности в литературе/On Sincerity in Literature" and it is published in Novyi mir; Bergol'ts publishes "Conversations about Lyrics" in Literaturnaia gazeta
  • January
    • The "Doctors' Plot" is uncovered. They are implicated in Zhdanov's death, and in plotting the murder of other high officials
  • March
    • March 5, Stalin dies. Initially, Georgii Malenkov assumes power; Khrushchev is First Party Secretary

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