Constant Fear of being Loyal to the Soviet Union

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In the novel Sofia Petrovna, the author Lydia Chukovkaya tells a story about Sofia and her dreadful experience living in the soviet union the reign of Stalin in the 1930s. Sofia Petrovna is a loyalist to the Soviet regime; however, after the arrest of her son Koyla, her life turns upside down living in constant fear why remaining loyal to the soviet union. The Soviet government used fear, propaganda, and glorification to ensure that Sofia and other citizen stay loyal to the government however by doing so, it also destroyed civil society.

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Glorification was very effective to ensure people remain loyal to the government as seen in the book. Stalin wanted the Soviet Union to be a guide of socialism and nationalism. The government portrayed the perfect future by wanting everything to be made in the “motherland” and wanted the USSR to be number one, but in order to have a strong country, the people need to contribute. Hence Stalin created the Five Year Plan to increase the Soviets becoming the world superpower. The government rewarded and praised people for helping put the country on top. In chapter 5, after agreeing to work in the factories to help the Soviets, Nikolai Fyodorovich was printed on the most influential newspaper in the country stating; “ Industrial enthusiast, Komsomol member Nikolai Fyodorovich, who has developed a method for the manufacture of fellows’ cogwheel cutters at the Ural Machine-building factory.” (27) Showing that he is the ideal young man and every young man should thrive to be like him and make their country great like Nikolai. By printing the vision of the ideal Soviet man, this increases nationalism to the state, having people doing anything to get to the top, even if it means destroying relationships as well.

The Soviets used propaganda to influence the people that there were spies and saboteurs in the country, trying to destroying the government. The secret police were used to spies and catch people committing treason against the country. Many people were sent to the labor camps and jail because of false accusations, or they stood up against the false arrest of the spies and saboteurs. Sofia Petrovna and Alik Finkelstein both stood for an accused and ended up paying the price. Alik stuck up for Kolya at meeting, because of that, he was fired and eventually arrested, “ I’ve been expelled from the Komsomol because I wouldn’t dissociate myself from Nikolai and was dismissed from my job” In the soviet union when you stand up for someone who is charged with treason or terrorism, you put yourself in danger by associating and standing up for the person; which is what Alik did. Dissociated yourself with an enemy of the state caused you to destroy any relationship with them, because of the fear of being accused of betraying your country.

Fear kept the people afraid, saying anything and pointing fingers to stay innocent and loyal to the Soviet regime. Sofia Petrovna’s fear and allegiance to the government prevented her from understanding the situation she was in and it also to isolated her from neighbors and friends. When her son was arrested, she believed he was, and he will be released. Even though her innocent son was accused, she still distanced herself from her neighbors “No, Sofia Petrovna had been quite right to keep aloof from her neighbors in the lines. She was sorry for them, of course, as human beings, sorry especially for the children; but still an honest person had to remember that all these women were the wives and mothers of prisoners, spies, and murderers,” (60) she did this because she was afraid that she would be considered a spy or saboteurs. This fear caused her to be afraid of everything and everyone; as a result, she left her job because she was afraid of being blacklisted by other employers like Natasha. Also, she was afraid to send money to Alik because she fears the government will make connections with Koyla and Alik and her son will never be released. This fear caused her to hide from the government and destroy any relationships she had left.

The Soviet Union tactics kept people from rebelling, and focus on making a better country, however, it ultimately destroyed civil society. As result of remaining loyal to the government, Sofia Petrovna suffers the most, she ended up her son, friends and her job, now living in shame and in a great amount of fear of being sent to the camp or in exile. Like Sofia, many citizens lived fear and gave up on family members and friend in hope to live a safe life. 

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Constant Fear of Being Loyal to the Soviet Union. (2022, Aug 31). Retrieved October 4, 2022 , from

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