Disabled People in the USSR during Khruschev’s Modernization: Regional Aspect

Author Name(s): Vasil T.Sakaev
Author Email: vasil.sakaev@gmail.com

Abstract

The situation of disabled people in the USSR is still a poorly understood problem. In the Soviet era, the subject of disabled people was actually under a secret ban, and the scientific works published abroad did not have the necessary research of the source base. Currently, despite the emergence of a number of works in Russia and abroad, this topic still has a significant number of research gaps. One of these gaps is connected with the determination of the influence of modernization carried out in the 1950s-1960s by the leader of the USSR N.S. Khrushchev, on the strength, composition and social status of the disabled people in the country. The regional aspect of this problem, including the special situation of disabled people in the Republic of Tatarstan as one of the important regions (strong points) of ongoing modernization, is very important.

The article was prepared on the basis of published sources, the existing corpus of Russian and foreign scientific publications, as well as a wide stratum of the archival materials from the National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan involved for the first time.

The research methods included the statistical analysis of archival materials, a secondary analysis of published scientific researches.

The results obtained are correlated with the conclusions of a number of researchers and expand the existing regional studies of social policy during modernization in the 1950s-1960s.

Introduction

Modern attention to this topic is due to the fact that the situation of disabled people in the USSR has often remained beyond the scientific interests of Soviet historians. Moreover, this concerned not only the disabled war veterans, who were an undesirable subject for scientific research (as pointed out by Beata Fisiler) [1; 290], but also other groups of disabled people. The disabled people were both a graphic manifestation of the costs of Soviet construction and a burden on the Soviet system that built the society of “happy people of the future”, where the image of a disabled person did not fit in any way [2].

At the same time, if it was preferable simply not to notice the disabled people in the days of Stalinism (a

 

known operation on deportation of the disabled war veterans from the large cities was a typical example of

Sthis relationship), then it was already difficult to do the samein the time of Khrushchev’s thaw. The authorities were forced to pay attention to this problem, especially since the modernization carried out by N.S. Khrushchev in the late 1950s – the first half of the 1960s was accompanied by a sufficiently large number of industrial injuries, which led to an increase in the number of disabled people.

As a whole, there was the following division of disabled people in the USSR: disabled workers and disabled soldiers. The first category was divided into disabled people from labor injuries and occupational diseases (i.e., those who received disability as a result of their production activities) and disabled people from general diseases. The second category was divided into the disabled people of the Patriotic War, disabled people of Civil and Imperialist war, etc. The concepts of “disabled since childhood” did not exist in the USSR until 1979 [3]. All the category of disabled people were later divided into 3 groups: the status of disabled person of the 1st group was received by persons who had completely lost their ability to work and were unable to care for themselves, of the 2nd group – those who had lost the ability to work in any specialty, but capable to care for themselves, of the 3rd group – persons who retained the capacity to make easy labor.

The purpose of this article is to find out the number, composition, location and social status of disabled people in the Republic of Tatarstan during the Khrushchev’s modernization. Tatarstan was an important point of this modernization, as the oil-bearing region, as the center of military industry, petro chemistry and energy, as an important source of labor resources [4].

At the same time, there are no works devoted to this problem in the regional literature, but we can only find separate data and only in general across the country in the general Russian works [5-7]. The existing foreign works are devoted, as a rule, only to certain aspects of the situation of disabled people, such as the history of everyday life [8], social policy [9], protection of the rights of disabled people [10] or special education for them.

Conclusions

In general, we received interesting results during our study on the regional specificity of the situation of disabled people in the USSR during the Khrushchev modernization period, which may be useful for broadening the notions of the social history and social policy of the Soviet state in this period.

 Acknowledgements

The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.

The article is prepared with financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and Government of the Republic of Tatarstan within the scientific project № 17-11-16005/17OGON.

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