ellesieg (ellesieg) wrote in 1word1day,

Tuesday Word: Stahkanovite

I am very tired and asked my live-in USSR expert to help me out. This is the conversation that ensued.

A: Let me think here...I'm not sure when the movement ended, though, which is kind of an issue here. Er, yeah, the Stakhanovite movement was a propaganda enterprise in the Soviet Union that encouraged --

Q: Alright, this is too hard. I'm just gonna find something to copy-paste from my blog.

A: -- was a propaganda tool of the Soviet Union that started during the first Five-Year Plan that gave recognition to the "little people" who over-fulfilled quotas or did an excellent job on their [work] site, or something of that nature. It was named after Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, who broke the Soviet Union's record for coal extraction in a single day.

Q: Is it a generic term for any brown-nosing, super hard worker?

A: I think it's specifically in the communist sense, hasn't really carried over; but yeah, in the communist sense, a typical brown-noser. Workers were generally rewarded with material incentives, I guess, maybe.

Q: What kind of material incentives?

A: Ah, some people got motorcycles! Motorcycles, gramophones, radios -- just basically luxuries in a command economy that doesn't really have too many consumer goods. Oh, you should also point out that a lot of other people, yeah, helped fulfill the coal thing -- the actual goal he did or whatever -- so it wasn't exactly just him.

Q: So it was kind of a work team or whatever that beat that record, but he was given sole credit for it?

A: Yeah, yeah. I feel like the formulation of -- I don't know. Ooh, they were kind of viewed as more like labor cheerleaders.

Q: How so? Like, the Stakhanovites were viewed as that?

A: Yeah, just their overall behavior -- just really loving Stalin.

Q: So it was just kind of the ideal, super-productive USSR citizen?

A: Yeah, yeah.

Q: Did they have any other characteristics?

A: Generally just got a lot of praise from the state, a lot of interviews in newspapers -- Party newspapers, obviously, but yeah.

Q: So selfless, hard-working?

A: Yeah, basically ***-kissers for the state. Ooh, they were also supposed to, like, improve themselves culturally.

Q: How so?

A: Well, I guess education was available to anyone there, but they were kind of expected to prove themselves -- learn about literature and the arts and other various facets like that.

Q: So they were supposed to be over-achievers in every sense, really?

A: Yeah, kind of creating the image of the New Soviet Man -- "everyday heroes."

Q: So just, like, working-class people who excelled in...being Stalinists?

A: Yes, yeah. Pretty much. Ooh, you should point out that it continued past the period of de-Stalinization and continued throughout the Soviet Union's existence.

Q: So they started as people who were super dedicated to Stalin and the ideals he espoused, but became more of an archetype?

A: Yeah, kind of an employee-of-the-month thing for the entirety of the country.

Q: Alright, I think I've got enough.

A: Yeah, kind of the gist there.

Tags: noun, russian, s, wordsmith: ellesieg

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