Stalin’s Purges; who is to Trust When Life is Completely Overthrown
Lydia Chukovskaya’s novel Sofia Petrovna written in 1939 depicts the life story of an individual woman during the period just before and during the Stalinist purges . The protagonist, Sofia Petrovna Lipatov, is a widow of an apparently eminent and successful doctor, Fyodor Ivanovich, and is the mother of one son, Nikolai Lipatov, who goes by the nickname of Kolya. Despite her occasional yearning for the old days, Sofia is genuinely trying to adjust to the new Soviet way of life. Kolya, who grew up to be a handsome and intelligent young man, immediate displayed a mesmerized affinity towards the communist cause and ideology. Influenced by Kolya’s strong association with the communist cause, together with appreciation for her own newfound identity derived from her cherished workplace, Sofia’s partaking in the Soviet apparatus intensifies. As a result, her fondness for her former life in wealth is replaced with an ever-growing commitment towards the new regime. Sofia’s faith in the communist system grows tremendously strong. In times where everything surrounding her has been overthrown, Sofia regards the Soviet system as her only continuing point of reference.
From the creation of the Soviet Union, its government was based on the one-party rule of the Communist Party, the Bolsheviks, whose stated purpose was to ensure that capitalist exploitation would not return to the Soviet Union. In the late 1920’s, Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party, became the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union and managed to establish a totalitarian rule by gradually consolidating his influence, outmaneuvering and isolating any rivalry within the party. In 1928, Stali...
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...atus during the course of events. Strongly influenced by her son and her workplace, she gradually, albeit somewhat reluctantly, has been recast to constitute a perfect fit for the Soviet conformity. In times where everything around her has been overthrown, she regards the Soviet bureaucracy as her only continuing reference point in life. Instead of questioning the government 's actions, she chooses to question nature and characteristics of the most trustworthy and beloved people in her life.
Tignor, Robert L. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011. Print.
Chukovskaya, Lydia. Sofia Petrovna. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1988. Print.
BBC. “Stalin - Purges and Praises”. BBC History.Web. 19 Nov 2014.
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