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Le combat culturel: alphabétisation et propagande dans les milieux ruraux en Moldavie soviétique de l'après-guerre (1945-1953)

The cultural struggle: literacy and propaganda in the rural areas of post-war Soviet Moldavia (1945-1953)
[journal article]

Negură, Petru

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Abstract After the Soviets annexed Bessarabia in June 1940, and again after its recapture in August 1944, the authorities launched a campaign to increase adult literacy. The context was one of high tension, as a result of the war and the policy of enforcing the re-establishment and (re-)sovietisation of government apparatus. The "elimination of illiteracy" was influenced by the ideological tradition of the "cultural revolution" of the 1920s and by wartime rhetoric, but it had both positive and negative aspects. On one hand, it was positive campaign for the education of the masses, for "cultural construction" and in favor of "civilising popular culture". On the other hand, it had negative objectives, because it was directed against "ignorance" and also against the "wrongs" of Romanian education and propaganda. The case of post-war Moldavia is a revealing one because of the great political importance which the Soviet authorities attached to literacy. My paper takes this example to examine how these dual components, both positive and negative, alternated and competed with each other, and were enmeshed both in the practice of literacy education and in the discourse which promoted it. To understand the whole process, I have brought together for analysis two important perspectives: that of the state (in a series of speeches and official documents) and that of the "people" (in a body of interviews conducted with a sample of rural inhabitants born in the 1920s). The agents of the literacy campaign - who represented the state but were mainly of popular origin – acted as bridges and intermediaries between the two "camps".
Keywords literacy; propaganda; USSR; post-war period; Kulturkampf; Romania; education; rural area; cultural policy
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research
Free Keywords Bessarabien
Document language French
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 445-452
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 9 (2009) 3
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works