New communist political ephemera from the Russian Federation in the Hoover Archives

Monday, October 7, 2013
Flag of the Russian Federation.
Flag of the Russian Federation.

A February 2013 public opinion poll of citizens in the Russian Federation found that 36 percent of respondents considered the Soviet political system better than all others, a 7 percent rise over last year. Such data should make researchers want to analyze more closely the political development of the Russian Federation since 1991, in particular the continuing appeal of the Soviet form of government among a growing sector of the population.

The Hoover Institution Archives continues to acquire materials that make such analysis possible; the voluminous Soviet and Post-Soviet Independent Press collection (is a prime example, in addition to the papers of Vladimir Pribylovskii and Igor Dashkevich, and the political ephemera that resides in the Russian Subject collection. Now the archives have acquired communist political materials concerning  post-1991 election campaigns and the political activities of leftist groups in the Russian Federation as an increment to the collection of Dmitrii Levchik, a Moscow-based political analyst and consultant.

Particularly notable are letters to the editor of Pravda from the mid-1990s. Ranging from requests for information on the condition of Lenin’s mausoleum and its security to proposals for breathing new life into the communist idea, these letters, which came from throughout the former USSR and as far away as Greece, illustrate the worldviews of  communist believers whose dreams were punctured by the collapse of the USSR.

Using such materials, political scientists, sociologists, historians, and scholars from other fields can piece together the causes and  effects of such phenomena as Soviet nostalgia, examine the broader political sentiments of those who are driven by it, and thus help understand the current political discourse in the Russian Federation.