Who Runs the World? Not Girls.

United States women’s suffrage was fought for and achieved in 1920 under the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. This was a time of revolution and change in the United States, beginning the long and continuous journey of equal rights under the law, which is still continuing to be fought for today. In the 1920’s in Russia, however, the gender question remained unaddressed and suppressed, through the ideological framework of “Revolutionary Manliness”.

The political configuration, the Komsomol(All-Union Leninist Young Communist League), formed in 1918, was an organization of the Communists in order to political socialize the youth. According to The Komsomol “It was composed of youth 14-28 years old…[and] as an organization, it had little to no influence on Soviet policies, but was an important propaganda tool for the regime.” The Komsomol allowed both sexes membership, however “male members outnumbered females eight to one throughout the 1920s. This was due to the social principle of “Revolutionary Manliness” struck through Russia in 1924, providing an environment that was hostile to women.

The organization created an “ethos of a young communist was coded masculinity, which created societal implications that women were “violations of nature itself”  when they attempted to “fit in.” This reinforces a gender taboo that is cross cultural, making women’s identification in society prone to criticism, whether it is too abrasively masculine or too daintily feminine.

“On the one hand outward displays of femininity were considered ideologically taboo and threatened to distract sexually charged boys from Komsomol business. On the other, girls’ efforts to erase their femininity were met with scorn.”


Other legislative reforms were developed in the late 1920’s in order to impose more strict “socialist consciousness” (Freeze, 333) on Russian individualism, with the goal from 1921-1929 to “build socialism” within society. (Freeze, 329). Freeze also suggests that “In any event, both the party and the Komsomol began to take a more direct interest in the personal lives of members” in order to influence their futures and the construct of individualistic rights in Russian society.

Education was a strong foundational tool of Lenin for the new generation, in order to educate the masses and encourage a proletariat lifestyle, which reinforced the ideology of its leaders. Gender roles are enduring, and can be seen today through the current and continued existence of the Leninist Young Communist League of the Russian Federation Website. This highlights the implication of use of social organizations on social constructs of societal interactions in the time of the “Great Turn”. Below is an image of the website. It is up to date (4/20/17) commenting on current events. The modern and propagandist tone to the writing is interesting, and give insight into politics from a different perspective.

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Peace, (Love?) Bread, Land, and Worker’s Control

Peace and bread (America’s favorite carb) are not words commonly associated with Russia prior to the 1917 Revolutions. At the time: “In Russia, military setbacks, food shortages, popular unrest, and a crisis of political leadership brought about the abdication of the tsar and the demise of the Romanov dynasty in February, 1917.” At a time of political, economic, and social turmoil, Vladimir Lenin emerged via the “sealed train.” to reaffirm the radical changes taking place in the Bolshevik party, to promote a transfer of “all power to the soviets” (Freeze, 281) and to “feed the hunger” of the proletariat class.


Lenin’s role is defined as “decisive: his powerful drive, and obsessive belief in revolution overcame the internal party fissures and gave the Bolsheviks a decisive edge over modern socialists”(Freeze, 281). The promise of “peace, bread, land, and worker’s control” appealed to the masses of disenfranchised protesters and appeased grievances dating prior to the Great Reforms.

Lenin, served as the leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Social Democratic Party, who renounced the bourgeois Provisional Government and demanded an end to “revolutionary defensism” through the April Theses, by establishing a revolutionary soviet government. The turn around on the implementation of the act was dramatic, just in the fashion of the revolution. The following timeline exhibits the swift return of Lenin and is intense intrusion into society.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-11-21-46-am(Virginia Tech European History Timeline).

The timing and language used to introduce the discourse of the April Theses demonstrates a strong demand from the proletariat to gain autonomy and equality, which, thereby, transformed the expression and socio-political crusade of the socialist movement.

“The language of socialism and class conflict became the idiom of public discourse for the press, rally, public meeting, and all manner of political propaganda…The plan called on “technocratic change, of reshaping consciousness and of making the proletariat a true universal class- for itself and, if need be, in spite of itself” (Freeze, 281).

The April Theses uses discourse and vivid language to imply  a dire need to change the status quo of Russian attitudes, norms, and insecurities. The main tenets of the April Theses call on Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution , calling for a “a republic of Soviets of Workers’ through the disbandment of the parliamentary republic as seen through the Provisional government, as well as: addressing the agrarian program shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Laborers’ Deputies, a confiscation and nationalization of all lands in the country, the union of a national bank, and other “party tasks”, calling on a name change to be addressed as the Communist Party. More information can be seen through the video.


This work overall united a torn movement into a strong foundational work to force the October Revolution, and to corner the Provisional Government into allowing the influence of the Bolsheviks into the Petrograd.

The Provisional Government thereupon invited the Petrograd Soviet to help form a coalition government consisting of both socialist and non-socialist leaders, an invitation that the Soviet Executive Committee accepted with reservations.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 2.01.50 PMThis post received a “Red Star” from the Editorial Team.


Sources: (Mostly hyperlinked)


Freeze, Gregory. “Russia A History” 3rd Edition.