The Problems of 'Becoming Soviet': Former Nobles in Soviet Society, 1917-41
European History Quarterly
There has been much new research on the extent to which the identities, beliefs and practices of ordinary citizens changed after 1917, and whether people were 'becoming Soviet'. This emphasis has tended to underplay continuities. This article uses the personal accounts of former nobles to examine levels of change and continuity in their activities and beliefs in the interwar period. There was change; many felt that they had 'become Soviet' because they obtained jobs, survived everyday challenges and endured the regime. Becoming 'workers', however, was not the same as 'becoming Soviet'. Strong continuities in other areas helped nobles to maintain a distinct identity in terms of practices and mentality (if not their material position). Rather than 'becoming Soviet', many former nobles tried to remain themselves. Many were surprisingly successful, suggesting that continuities played a significant role in early Soviet society.
Copyright © 2008 SAGE Publications
Vol. 38, Issue 1, pp. 7 - 33