Social (In)security: Pensions and the Postwar Soviet Economy

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Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Russian History Speakers Series


Pension reform is all over the news in contemporary Russia. This talk will look at another period in which pension reform was a ‘hot topic’: the postwar years. During the Second World War, the Soviet government’s spending on pensions and other social welfare benefits tripled, yet, most pensions were far from enough to meet the cost of living and pensioners remained some of the poorest members of Soviet society. This talk will place pension reform within the Soviet state’s larger economic project of improving living standards by increasing the real value of money in ordinary citizens’ hands, a project that began in the late Stalin years but came to fruition under Khrushchev in 1956.

Kristy Ironside is an Assistant Professor of Russian History at McGill University. She is currently writing a book on the role of money in the pursuit of prosperity in the postwar Soviet Union. She has published articles on the Soviet welfare state, lotteries, taxation, and fundraising in Kritika, Slavic Review, the Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, Europe-Asia Studies, and the Journal of Social History. She recently penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on pension reform in contemporary Russia.


Olga Kesarchuk


Kristy Ironside
McGill University

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