Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 06:00:53
25 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

The Year 1956

Author: Tamara Eidelman
Translation: Nora Seligman Favorov

Sep/Oct 2016
Page 19   ( 6 pages)

Summary: A look back at the events and controversies that engaged Russia and the world in 1956, the year that Russian Life was founded.


60 years ago this October, Russian Life magazine was founded as USSR (later renamed Soviet Life). In honor of this anniversary, we look back at what was going on in the USSR and the world in 1956.

In the Soviet Union, 1956 was full of twists and turns, hopes and disappointments, joys and tragedies.

It began, on February 25, with one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable events: the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, featuring Khrushchev’s historic “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin’s cult of personality. An entirely new era was emerging and it seemed as if, now that “the whole truth” had come out, the storm clouds would scatter and the country would enter a new phase, full of promise.

As if by magic, the Gulag edifice came tumbling down and thousands of innocent prisoners began to return home. A commission was established to rehabilitate those who had perished in the camps, and people were suddenly able to see the file containing the case against their loved ones shot as enemies of the state, often to discover that they contained nothing but a death sentence or some improbable testimony extracted under torture. Surely such injustices could never happen again.

The “children of the 20th Congress” began writing stories, making films, and producing plays full of optimism about the country’s future.

To read more, follow the "Purchase Back Issue" link from the full story listing for this issue.