National gender politics of USSR in the end of 1920’s. Source: series of booklets «Toiler of East»
On the 2nd of April at regular seminar of scientific-study group «Applied GIS in Humanities», Valentina Smirnova – member of the Center of Historical Studies, presented her report, called National gender politics of USSR in the end of 1920’s. Source: series of booklets «Toiler of East».
This report was about national gender politics of Bolsheviks in the end of 1920’s. This period is characterized with big interest of soviet government in liberation of women as a whole and at the same time special attention was paid to the eastern regions. This interest was caused by specifics of this social group and Bolsheviks saw them as «surrogate proletariat», because they were poor, exploited and limited in their rights like the real proletariat. (Gregory Massel, 1974). On the other hand, as Douglas Northrop puts it, Bolsheviks used such factors as gender relations, outfit, and position of woman in society as “national markers “, through which not only the image of eastern woman was cemented, but the image of east as a whole (Douglas Northrop, 2001). The main source is series of booklets “Toiler of the East” that was published in 1927-1928. It is important, that these booklets told about eastern women, but not for them, for the rest part of Soviet Union, because its main function was education and creation of image. During this work the main factors which defined the image of “eastern woman” were emphasized. Firstly it is traditions and customs of non-western societies. Religion was considered as the main factor of strengthening this conservative society. Another important factor is economical one, which is also significant in liberation of women, whom should became economically independent. Besides the models of emancipation offered by Bolsheviks were outlined. It supposed to be involving women into socio-political life with the help of “zhenotdel”, which dealt with propaganda and education. Theory of intersectionality helped with emphasizing of the main identities of eastern women which are national and religious identities, identity of a wife and working woman and combined they created the “eastern woman”.
Report was created by Valentina Smirnova and Yana Kitaeva.