Event Title

"And There in the Postwar Silence": Olga Berggolts and Postwar Soviet Subjectivity, 1945-1954

Location

King Building 325

Document Type

Event

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

Most famous for her work as the voice of Radio Leningrad during World War II, poet and propagandist Olga Berggolts extolled the glories of the Soviet Union. But her postwar diaries and poems tell a different story, one of intermittent disillusion and indignation, but also wholehearted faith. While she experienced the catastrophic suffering of the war as an ennobling, indeed uplifting experience, for her, the postwar period was much more difficult. In this, she was not unique. This project explores how people’s attitudes to the Soviet regime changed in the wake of a catastrophic war and the triumph of victory. It simultaneously uses Berggolts’s poetry as a lens by which to understand feelings that could not be written or talked about otherwise under Stalin. Berggolts gives voice to the private ideological struggles that ordinary communists experienced behind closed doors.

Keywords:

Soviet Union, poetry, creative freedom, communism, faith

Notes

Session III, Panel 19 - Russian | Narratives
Moderator: Arlene Forman, Chair and Associate Professor of Russian & East European Studies

Major

History; Russian & East European Studies

Award

Artz Honors Research Grant

Advisor(s)

Annemarie Sammartino, History
Tom Newlin, Environmental Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Annemarie Sammartino, History
Christopher Stolarski, History

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

"And There in the Postwar Silence": Olga Berggolts and Postwar Soviet Subjectivity, 1945-1954

King Building 325

Most famous for her work as the voice of Radio Leningrad during World War II, poet and propagandist Olga Berggolts extolled the glories of the Soviet Union. But her postwar diaries and poems tell a different story, one of intermittent disillusion and indignation, but also wholehearted faith. While she experienced the catastrophic suffering of the war as an ennobling, indeed uplifting experience, for her, the postwar period was much more difficult. In this, she was not unique. This project explores how people’s attitudes to the Soviet regime changed in the wake of a catastrophic war and the triumph of victory. It simultaneously uses Berggolts’s poetry as a lens by which to understand feelings that could not be written or talked about otherwise under Stalin. Berggolts gives voice to the private ideological struggles that ordinary communists experienced behind closed doors.