Joseph Stalin
was a Soviet revolutionary and political leader; ruling the Soviet Union as its
dictator from 1922–1952. He initiated a series of five-year plans to transform
the Soviet Union into a modern industrialised country. He was fearful that if
they didn’t modernise, the country would be destroyed by its capitalist
neighbours. He ruthlessly implemented his plans; giving factories strict
targets, which many workers found impossible to accomplish. This ended in
imprisonment or execution. ‘Stalin ruled by terror and with a totalitarian grip
in order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him. He expanded the powers of
the secret police, encouraged citizens to spy on one another and had millions
of people killed or sent to the Gulag system of forced labour camps.’
(, 2009).

everyone had to praise Stalin. Newspapers credited him with every success, history
books were rewritten to give him a more important role in the revolution,
people would applaud whenever his name was mentioned, and parents would teach
their children to love Stalin more than themselves as they were too scared to
go against him. I will be exploring the effect Stalin had on Russian Oberiu and
how that influenced our performance.

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Stalin was one
of the most murderous dictators in history. In 1936 The Great Purge began and
lasted for two years. Stalin wanted to remove threats to his power base. He
reached out to every level of Soviet society, executing ninety-three of the one
hundred and thirty-nine Central Committee members and eighty-one of the one
hundred and three generals and admirals. Three million people were accused of
opposing Communism and were sent to the Gulag, (system of labour camps).

Stalin wanted to
remove threats, but these threats were a figment of his imagination. This
introduced a new form of terror, as the boundaries of those being oppressed
were non-existent. This meant no-one dared protest for fear of retribution.
‘Photographs and history books were changed to eliminate even the memory of
people who had been arrested.’ (BBC, 2014). The secret police imposed Stalinism
and encouraged people to inform on one another. Stalin was determined to bring
every aspect of life under his control. He enforced socialist realism, meaning
he was subject to flattering artwork, literature and music. His name was also
part of the Soviet national anthem. His government controlled the Soviet media,
and his picture was everywhere. Therefore, Soviet society was hostile to what
Oberiu was trying to accomplish in 1927. From this, we decided to add a
durational section at the end of our piece with a Stalin voiceover to show how
much power Stalin had over the Soviet Union.

Although Stalin was in control of Moscow, in Leningrad
(where Oberiu was based) ‘the literary-artistic and philosophical circles of
the hold type had been preserved, circles in which creative and spiritual
quests continued as if there had been no interruption from revolution and war.’
(2000, p.65) Therefore, in 1927, Oberiu was able to make ‘frequent appearances
at the union of