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A Dream Deferred

New Studies in Russian and Soviet Labour History


Edited By Donald Filtzer, Wendy Z. Goldman, Gijs Kessler and Simon Pirani

This volume brings together the latest work in Russian labour history, based on exciting materials from previously closed archives and collections. Sixteen essays, focusing on peasants and workers, explore the lives and struggles of working people. Ranging over a century of dramatic upheaval, from the late 1800s to the present, the essays are organized around three broad themes: workers’ politics, incentives and coercion within industrial and rural workplaces, and household strategies. The volume explores the relationship between the peasantry and the working class, a nexus that has been central to state policy, oppositional politics, economic development, and household configuration. It profiles a working class rent by divisions and defined not only by its relationship to the workplace or the state, but also by its household strategies for daily survival. The essays explore many topics accessible for the first time, including the motivations of women workers, roots of revolutionary activism, the revolutionary movement outside the great cities, socialist opposition to the Soviet regime, reactions of workers to Stalinist terror, socialist tourism, peasant families in forced exile, and work discipline on the collective farms.


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Part III: Family, Food, and Work:Strategies for Survival, 1884 to the Present


Part >>> Family, Food, and Work: Strategies for Survival, to the Present 8=6EI:G “Earning My Own Crust of Bread”: Labor in the Lives of Discontented Wives in Late Imperial Russia Barbara Alpern Engel In the townswoman (meshchanka) Anastasiia Petrova, having com- pleted a dressmaking course in St. Petersburg and obtained her certificate, set off for the city of Baku, where she found work as a dressmaker and seamstress. To supplement her income, “being very literate”, as she put it, she copied documents for several trading establishments in the city as well. Then, in January , she made the “big mistake” of getting married to Aleksei Petrov, a man she barely knew, who was then employed as a shop clerk in one of Baku’s many oil companies. Something – it is never clear exactly what – went very wrong, very quickly. Anastasiia herself referred to “endless quarrels” and to “the complete incompatibility of our char- acters”, while Aleksei cast aspersions on her sexual fidelity and claimed she refused “without any reason” to join him in Moscow, where his work had taken him. In her appeal for the separate internal passport that would permit her to remain in Baku, submitted three years after her wedding, Petrova emphasized how her ill-considered marriage had come to threaten her work: Two to three times a year, he demands that my passport be taken away […] and that I be sent to him under police escort [po etapu], and the like. As a result of these demands, I must...

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