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Aleksanteri Conference







Leisti, Simo

How did the Prague Spring turn into Autumn of Sociology in Moscow?

It is commonly accepted that after the Soviet intervention to Czechoslovakia in August 1968 the ideological climate in the Soviet Union turned rather swiftly into a more conservative or even to an anti-intellectual direction. According to Geoffrey Hosking: “The whole Czechoslovak affair left the Soviet leaders with a profound distrust of intellectuals, especially in humanities and social sciences.” (Hosking 1992:374) Loren Graham and Vladimir Shlapentokh advance a similar, rather abstract general notion, on the impact of the Prague Spring on the position of Soviet scientists and intellectuals. (Graham 1993: 168; Shlapentokh 1987:43 - 44.)

My presentation analyses the impact of increasing international tension on the position of sociology in the Soviet Union during the years 1967-1971. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that even though the Cold War and the international situation, as was emphasized in the official ideological texts, were among the parameters defining the position of social sciences in the Soviet Union, it is still not plausible to draw a direct correlation between exacerbating international tension and narrowing down of the boundaries of the acceptable for sociology in the Soviet Union. Rather, the manifest change in the position of sociology can be see as an interplay of numerous factors that were both internal and external.
As sources I shall use the official Soviet press, mainly Pravda and Kommunist, and a collection of archive materials.

Saturday 31 Oct 12.00-13.30 SESSION 8
Panel: The Impact of the Cold War on Soviet Scholarship