Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wenzel Soviet Lecture to Be Used as Classroom Material

Associate Professor Andrei Znamenski, who teaches history at the University of Memphis and received his undergraduate degree from  St. Petersburg Herzen Pedagogical University, Russia, emails:
 Thanks much again for the great talk, which I hope all folks in Russian studies listen to. As you correctly mentioned, the mainstream view (especially in academia among the left-liberals) is that it was not so much systemic failures of socialism that killed the S Union but the Ronald Reagan arms race. Yes, here both neocons and libs share the same view with some variations. The popular neo-con argument that it was Reagan who exhausted and destroyed the S Union is widely also used today by the "red-brown" circles in Russia (the proponents of socialism in Russian today normally speak with a strong nationalism accent; hence, the nickname "red-browns") to nostalgically dream about the glorious S Union: "if it had not been for Reagan, the glorious union would have still existed"
This semester I am teaching a course on S Union, What I am planning to do is to give the students (35 people) the video of your talk and have them critically reassess it relative to what they will find in a textbook that I am currently using. Thanks much again. Your talk arrived just in time: we are still doing the Brezhnev (stagnation) period, but in a week we are going to deal with the causes for the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that is when I am going to bring up your talk. 

My speech is here.


  1. Congratulations, Robert. Already your remarks are beginning to bear fruit.

  2. AWESOME! I hope this is the start of a trend.