Kristy Lynn Ironside

Lecturer, Russian, East European, and Eurasian HistoryUniversity of Manchester

Award Information

2011 IDRF Program

HistoryUniversity of Chicago

The Value of a Ruble: A Social History of Money in Postwar Soviet Russia, 1945-1964

This project will examine Soviet Russia’s complicated relationship to money in the postwar period, from Stalin’s attempts to rebuild after the Second World War, through Khrushchev’s attempts to engineer more qualitative changes in the realm of living standards in the mid-to-late 1950s through mid-1960s. Though money has widely been thought of as a triviality of the Soviet system, one that played a limited role in economic planning, prices, and distribution, this project suggests that it took on increasing social importance in the postwar period as the Soviet regime attempted to normalize the economy and move toward high living standards. My dissertation will look at six areas of socioeconomic activity, ‘financial assets’ and expenditures in the period 1945-1964, including: financial disputes between citizens, within families, and between citizens and the state; state bonds and lotteries; personal credit, including large-scale credit programs to rebuild and petty credit; savings accounts and programs; income taxes; and finally, state pensions and other financial benefits that formed a crucial part of the Soviet compensation package.