Just because I have a quote on this topic, I will post on this thread. Sorry for reawakening this thread.
"Survivors of the Stalinist period reminded the public that for many people the 1930s had been a period of happiness and enthusiasm, when a feeling prevailed that great things were being achieved. A typical representative of the generation that "made it" under Stalin was Ivan Benediktov, who became the people's commissar of agriculture in 1938 at the age of 35, remained in key government positions for many years, and eventually served as ambassador to India and Yugoslavia (1959-70). Among the main points made in Stalin's defense are the following: Promotion under Stalin was by merit only. Many very young people (such as Voznesensky, Ustinov, Kosygin, Tevosian, and Vannikov) were appointed to key positions in their early 30s--and proved themselves. Thousands of innocents suffered, but the overall number has been grossly exaggerated; the general atmosphere was not one of fear, repression, and terror but of a mighty wave of revolutionary enthusiasm, of pride in country and party, and of belief in the leadership. Decisions taken at the top were far more democratic than generally believed; Stalin was not an extremist, but on the whole a fair and reasonable man. In fact, Khrushchev's style was more autocratic than Stalin's. As for the murder of the Red Army leadership, there is reason to believe that they plotted not against Stalin but against Voroshilov, who they thought was not equal to his task. Such behavior would not have been tolerated in any country.
... The 1930s had been a time of great enthusiasm, of national unity and pride, of belief in the leadership, and of a historical mission; young people had been given chances like never before, and so on."
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner's, c1990, p. 244
And since I posted that, I might as well post life expectancy and infant mortality as well.Life expectancy and infant mortality of the Soviets:
Quote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography ... viet_UnionMortality Rate:
After the communist takeover of power the life expectancy for all age groups went up. A newborn child in 1926-27 had a life expectancy of 44.4 years, up from 32.3 years thirty years before. In 1958-59 the life expectancy for newborns went up to 68.6 years. This improvement was used by Soviet authorities to prove that the socialist system was superior to the capitalist system.
The trend continued into the 1960s, when the life expectancy in the Soviet Union went beyond the life expectancy in the United States. The life expectancy in Soviet Union were fairly stable during most years, although in the 1970s went slightly down probably because of alcohol abuse. Most western sources put the blame on the growing alcohol abuse and poor health care, and this theory was also implicitly accepted by the Soviet authorities.
The improvement in infant mortality leveled out eventually, and after a while infant mortality began to rise. After 1974 the government stopped publishing statistics on this. This trend can be partly explained by the number of pregnancies went drastically up in the Asian part of the country where infant mortality was highest, while the number of pregnancies was markedly down in the more developed European part of the Soviet Union. For example, the number of births per citizens of Tajikistan went up from 1.92 in 1958-59 to 2.91 in 1979-80, while the number in Latvia was down to 0.91 in 1979-80.
Deaths per 1000
1956----------7.5-------------9.4http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archiv ... ussr2.html