De-stalinization and the failure of soviet identity building in Kazakhstan

Zbigniew Wojnowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Khrushchev’s Secret Speech about Stalinist crimes in February evoked heated public responses in many parts of the USSR. In stark contrast, the momentous changes of 1956 evoked little controversy among inhabitants of Soviet Kazakhstan. De-Stalinization has mostly been studied as a state-led attempt to breathe a new life into communism, or a process in which the regime and its citizens negotiated the meanings of Soviet utopia after the traumas of Stalinism. But the Kazakhstani case suggests that state–society dynamics in 1956 were often shaped not so much by the revolutionary state and the practices of ‘searching for socialism’, but rather by the limited reach of utopian ideas, the weakness of Soviet structures in the provinces, and deep social and ethnic fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1021
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • De-Stalinization
  • Interethnic relations in the USSR
  • Political fragmentation
  • Soviet Kazakhstan
  • Soviet identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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