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Role of Women in Soviet Russia

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Soviet communism shared its roots with their utopian communist ancestors regarding the orthodox family and domestic economies. Philosophers Marx and Engels have asserted that the women’s freedom should mean the elimination of private property and having an ordinary family life where the relationship between them and their family should remain a private matter. Lenin being a firm believer of Marxism wanted to implement laws that would encourage this kind of behavior which would in turn lead to a more ordinary life where there would be no unpaid workers and equal amount of respect between the husband and wife, where the kids were well educated. He asserted this issue so much so that The Bolsheviks had to come up with laws to ensure this egalitarian relationship that they were trying to establish, soon after the October Revolution in 1917.

A complete new law was framed by the Central Committee in the Soviet that completely changed the law and brought on new communist based laws on equal sex rights but it did change the marriage, guardianship and family laws for the better; religious marriages were no longer permissible and more civil marriages were expected. Divorce was a major issue in the 1920’s and practically impossible, as it required both parties to co-sign it, but this new decree that the Soviet had come up with allowed it and if one of the two did want a divorce, it could be accepted. Although, it was very challenging for the people to accept these new ideologies and they mentality about these laws did not change with the implementation. These new “experiments” had different reactions and were to some extent considered “moral evils” by the men as they were not used to being considered equal to the women which ended up causing more chaos than peace in not only in the families but also in the private lives of men and women.

This instability of associations ended up women asking for even more family and marriage laws that would probably save them from the injustice. Liberation in regard to their husbands and easing up on household work was even problematic since they did not financial freedom to do what they wanted to make their everyday life easier. This lead to a job market for prostitution and children getting abandoned and left on the streets. Stalin’s attempt at making family laws flexible had a very negative impact on some of the citizens as they felt that the promotion of equality had been taken too seriously and that it was affecting their lives in terms of finances. Protests usually came in forms of letters and particularly regarding the laws of alimony.

The letters usually consisted of protests regarding the equal rights for women and mothers, they were having difficulties in maintaining the double burden of work and families, and to re-cast a legitimate distinction based lawful marriages and the ones that were based on biological relations, hence illegitimate. Some of the letters even emphasized on the facts that according to the law, some of the families deserved to be more esteemed than others and required more financial support under the law that was made regarding big families getting bonuses from the state. Based on the assessment of letters, Sheila Fitzpatrick stated that the “public” letter writing “ was essentially a form of individual, private communication with the authorities on topics both private and public” “for all the qualifications that have been attached to the term ‘public’ in this context, the writing and reading of those letters is as close to a public sphere as one is to get during the Stalin period” . These letters basically voided the whole principle of separation of private and public and in a way summoned the involvement of the State in their marital lives. The discontent with the alimony laws basically proved that some families were more even than others.

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