Newspaper, Daily Life

This article reflects a more complex example of state-controlled media. It is more negative in tone, by providing examples of problems in daily life, including shortages of housing and food, unequal treatment at work, and lack of services for families. Once again, the intention is to assert the achievements of the Soviet regime while also referring to problems that needed to be overcome through even greater efforts. In this case, however, the article also seeks to attribute blame for these problems to specific individuals, offices, or practices that could be made accountable. Women continued to bear a disproportionate burden of family responsibilities, and the actual availability of maternity leave, services for new mothers, and child care fell short of promises and propaganda. This article from a regional newspaper in the Far North provides just a partial view of what were clearly broad trends in the daily lives of women in this period.

Source: Pravda Severa, “Maria Semenovna Requires Assistance from the Party Collective,” September 9, 1932.

In its day to day work with women, the Party constantly implements the instructions of V.I. Lenin “to bring women into public and productive work and to pull them out of ‘domestic slavery’ by freeing them from subordination to the stupification and humiliation of always and forever being responsible for cooking and taking care of the children.”

But officials of the Party collective and of the factory committee and the directors of timber mill No. 23 still have not understood this objective.

Pravda Severa has already written more than once about Mariia Semenovna Abramova, and has repeatedly demanded that the Party collective of the factory committee and directors of factory No. 23 earnestly take up the tasks of eliminating lines at the stores and improving the work of nursery schools and kindergartens, so that Mariia Semenovna [Abramova] and all the other housewives of the factory may be liberated from the absurd lines and kitchen fumes which wash away all the strength of women, isolate them from production and cultural activities, and undermine the completion of the production plan.

Despite the fact that two months have already passed since Pravda Severa raised these questions, conditions at the factory have not changed at all.

As before, Mariia Semenovna spends her days standing in line for bread, herrings, and milk, and as before she rushes around the kitchen preparing supper for her kids.

She tries with all her might to get away from this “vicious” circle, but she cannot. She tried to work at the factory, but had to quit work after ten days, because the horrible work of the childcare center left her children going hungry and without supervision. As a result, her youngest son became sick, and this tied the hands of Mariia Semenovna. The medical assistance was also quite poor.

Neither the Party collective nor the factory committee have lifted a finger to improve any of these awful conditions and they have also made no effort to keep Mariia Semenovna at work in the factory. The secretary of the Party collective Lukin says that they have decided to reform their efforts in ZRK and have assigned one person in the supply department to eliminate lines at the stores, but in fact nothing has changed in this area.

At the present time, the Party collective does not even have a women’s organizer, which is evidence for judging the efforts of the Party collective to organize women and to draw housewives like Mariia Semenovna into the public and political life of the factory.

We categorically demand that the Party collective and the factory committee immediately turn their attention to issues of women’s work, to freeing housewives from the tenacious grip of lines, to ensuring the consistent work of nursery schools, and to drawing women into socially productive labor.