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The Gulag After StalinRedefining Punishment in Khrushchev's Soviet Union, 1953-1964$
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Jeffrey S. Hardy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702792

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702792.001.0001

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Undoing the Reforms

Undoing the Reforms

The Campaign against “Liberalism” in the Gulag

(p.130) 4 Undoing the Reforms
The Gulag After Stalin

Jeffrey S. Hardy

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the campaign against the post-Stalin reform of Soviet criminal justice. Stalin's rule left behind a powerful tough-on-crime psychology among Soviet society and Soviet officialdom that proved resistant to change. The efforts of Khrushchev and his top allies in the 1950s to move the country away from the punitive justice of the Stalin era ultimately “failed to resonate” with the Soviet public. As a result Khrushchev and his peers in the late 1950s turned instead to optimism for the future as a ruling technique, a trope that was inseparably coupled with intolerance for those unwilling to move forward toward communism. In the end, therefore, even Khrushchev and most top justice officials turned against the “soft line” of justice and became caught up in a renewed campaign against various enemies of socialism.

Keywords:   Soviet penal system, penal reform, liberalism, Soviet criminal justice, socialism, communism, Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev

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