Maxim Gorky believed that ‘the fundamental obstacle on the path of Russia to Europeanisation and culture is the fact of the overwhelming predominance of the illiterate village over the city’.1 It is often stated that literacy is the most powerful single discriminator between what are loosely termed traditional and modern societies.2 The political significance of widespread illiteracy in Russia from the Revolution until as late as the 1930s carries a weight that has not yet been fully recognised. Certainly it acted as one of the heaviest brakes on Bolshevik ambitions for the early realisation of their aims.


Literacy Rate Party Member Soviet Regime Eradication Campaign Local Party 
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Chapter 4

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© Roger Pethybridge 1974

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  • Roger Pethybridge

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