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Nikita Krushchev

The Department congratulates Dr Zbigniew Wojnowski for the publication of his article

“De-Stalinization and the Failure of Soviet Identity Building in Kazakhstan”

which will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Contemporary History, 52(x), 2017 and is already available online (link).


Khrushchev’s Secret Speech about Stalinist crimes in February evoked heated public responses in many parts of the USSR. In stark contrast, the momentous changes of 1956 evoked little controversy among inhabitants of Soviet Kazakhstan. De-Stalinization has mostly been studied as a state-led attempt to breathe a new life into communism, or a process in which the regime and its citizens negotiated the meanings of Soviet utopia after the traumas of Stalinism. But the Kazakhstani case suggests that state–society dynamics in 1956 were often shaped not so much by the revolutionary state and the practices of ‘searching for socialism’, but rather by the limited reach of utopian ideas, the weakness of Soviet structures in the provinces, and deep social and ethnic fragmentation.