For many years, the term novy sovetsky chelovek in Soviet Marxism-Leninism was usually translated into English as "the new Soviet man." A translation that would be more faithful to the meaning of the original Russian would be "the new Soviet person," because the word chelovek is completely neutral with regard to gender.
The hope of remaking the values of each member of society was implicit in Karl Marx's expectations for the progression of society from capitalism through proletarian revolution to communism. Marx reasoned that fundamental economic and social restructuring would generate radical attitudinal change, but Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin insisted that the political regime had to play an active role in the transformation of people's values, even in a socialist society. It remained for the Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, adopted at the party's Twenty-Second Congress in 1961 in accordance with the demands of Nikita Khrushchev, to spell out the "moral code of the builder of communism," which subsequently was elaborated at length by a wide variety of publications. The builder of communism was expected to be educated, hard working, collectivistic, patriotic, and unfailingly loyal to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. During the transition to a fully communist society, as predicted by Khrushchev, such vestiges of past culture as religion, corruption, and drunkenness would be eradicated. The thinking associated with the Party Program of 1961 represented the last burst of revolutionary optimism in the Soviet Union.
Over time, it became increasingly difficult to ascribe "deviations from socialist morality" to the influence of pre-1917 or pre-1936 social structures. Indeed, testimony from a variety of sources suggested that reliance on connections, exchanges of favors, and bribery (which had by no means disappeared in the Stalin years) were steadily growing in importance during the post-Stalin decades. In the mid-1970s Hedrick Smith's book The Russians described the members of the largest nationality in the USSR as impulsive, generous, mystical, emotional, and essentially irrational, behind the facade of a monochromatic ideology imposed by an authoritarian political regime. Though the Brezhnev leadership still insisted that the socialist way of life (sotsialistichesky obraz zhizni ) in the Soviet Union was morally superior to that in the West with its unbridled individualism and moral decay, the sense of optimism concerning the future was slipping away. Ideologists complained ever more about amoral behavior by citizens, and the political leaders seemed to become more tolerant of illegal economic activity and corruption. Despite those general trends, problematic as they were, some Soviet citizens did strive actively to serve their fellow human beings, including the most vulnerable members of society.
See also: kruschev, nikita sergeyevich; lenin, vladi mir illich; marxism
DeGeorge, Richard T. (1969). Soviet Ethics and Morality. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Evans, Alfred B., Jr. (1993). Soviet Marxism-Leninism: The Decline of an Ideology. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Mehnert, Klaus. (1962). Soviet Man and His World, tr. Maurice Rosenbaum. New York: Praeger.
Smith, Hedrick. (1983). The Russians, updated edition. New York: Times Books.
Alfred B. Evans Jr.
"Soviet Man." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/soviet-man
"Soviet Man." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved March 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/soviet-man
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.