STUDY QUESTIONS   

1. Imagine that you were a trusted Soviet official who attended in
1966 a closed session of the XXIII Party Congress, during which a
senior official delivered a "secret speech" which frankly evaluated
the successes and failures of the Khrushchev regime from 1955 to
1964.  Later, in response to a healthy bribe, you agreed to provide
the CIA with a summary of this speech. What did this summary say?

2. Over the years, Soviet leaders used a variety of methods to deal
with internal "opposition."  Briefly describe and discuss: (a) the
typical features of life in the prison camps, as described in
Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and (b) the
various types of dissenters that arose during the Brezhnev era, and
the way they were treated by the regime.

3. During his six and a half years in power, Mikhail Gorbachev made
a number of changes in Soviet foreign and domestic policies.
Describe and discuss these changes and explain what they were
designed to accomplish. How did they help to bring about the fall
of Gorbachev and the end of the USSR? Explain.

4. Imagine you are a Russian writer who has decided to write a
brief history of your own family. Begin in 1900, when your
grandparents were still illiterate peasants, and describe the
effects on your family of the major developments in Russian and
Soviet history, down to the present day.

5. Describe and discuss the attitudes and behavior of the Soviet
leadership with respect to: the formation of the Warsaw Pact
(1955), the Hungarian revolt (1956), the Berlin Wall (1961), the
Cuban missile crisis (1962), the Czechoslovakia "invasion" (1968),
the Afghanistan War (1979-1988) and the Polish Crisis (1981-82).

6. Recently, while sitting in a Moscow tavern, you happened to
overhear a heated conversation at the next table. Glancing in that
direction, you noticed four elderly men arguing about the main
successes and failures of the USSR during its 74-year history. A
closer revealed that the four discussants were Lenin, Stalin,
Khrushchev and Brezhnev, looking a bit old and drunk, but arguing
vigorously nonetheless. Describe the conversation which took place.