Seventeen Moments in Soviet History is a multi-media archive of primary materials designed to introduce students and the general public to the richness and contradictions of Soviet history. It provides a cross-section of Soviet life in seventeen different years, following the title of a beloved television spy serial from the seventies. Each module covers politics, society, culture and economics, so that users might experience a given time through the words, sounds and sights that a common Soviet citizen would have encountered. We hope the materials presented here help students understand the more complicated truth about Soviet history — that at all times life in the Soviet Union offered experiences of great good and great evil. Soviet citizens lived their lives and made their country’s history in circumstances of incredible peril as well as promise. The objective of this web site is to give users a sense of what this total experience was like, using the original words of the participants.
The archive may be accessed by year or by theme. Subject essays written by a contributing scholar provide brief introductions to over 200 subjects. These essays are supported by more than 1400 images, 270 video clips, music with translated lyrics, and over 600 primary texts, as well as links to relevant materials outside the website. The Glossary tab features a list of historical terms and abbreviations, and the Personages tab provides dates, photos and basic biographical information for over 600 people in Soviet history.