The way subjects were taught was laid down by the government – especially History where Stalin’s part in the 1917 Revolution and his relationship with Lenin was overplayed.
Books were strictly censored by the state and Stalin ordered the writing of a new book called “A short history of the USSR” which had to be used in schools.
Outside of school, children were expected to join youth organisations such as the Octobrists for 8 to 10 year olds and the Pioneers for the 10 to 16 year olds. From 19 to 23 you were expected to join the Komsomol.
Children were taught how to be a good socialist/communist and an emphasis was put on outdoor activities and clean living.
1917 - 1953
Living standards: these generally rose in the 1930’s despite the obvious problems with food production and shortages elsewhere. Some people did very well out of the system especially party officials and skilled factory workers. Health care was greatly expanded. In the past, the poorer people of Russia could not have expected qualified medical help in times of illness. Now that facility was available though demand for it was extremely high. The number of doctors rose greatly but there is evidence that they were so scared of doing wrong, that they had to go by the rule book and make appointments for operations which people did not require!!
1917 - 1953
Housing remained a great problem for Stalin’s Russia. In Moscow, only 6% of households had more than one room. Those apartments that were put up quickly, were shoddy by western standards. In was not unusual for flat complexes to be built without electric sockets despite electricity being available – building firms were simply not used to such things.
Leisure for the average Russian person was based around fitness and sport. Every Russian was entitled to have a holiday each year – this had been unheard of in the tsar’s days. Clubs, sports facilities etc. were provided by the state. The state also controlled the cinema, radio etc. but an emphasis was placed on educating yourself via the media as it was then.
1930 - 1939
There was a marked increase in the attacks on the churches of the USSR throughout the 1930’s. Communism had taught people that religion was “the opium of the masses” (Karl Marx) and church leaders were arrested and churches physically shut down. Stalin could not allow a challenge to his position and anybody who worshipped God was a challenge as the “personality cult” was meant for people to worship Stalin.
Education was strictly controlled by the state. In 1932, a rigid programme of discipline and education was introduced. Exams, banned under Lenin, were reintroduced.