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Leisure in Stalin’s Estonia

Author(s): Olaf Mertelsmann

Journal: Revista Româna de Studii Baltice si Nordice
ISSN 2067-1725

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 225;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Stalinism | leisure | Estonia | censorship | state policies | everyday life

The period of Stalinism is usually overshadowed by accounts of terror and a topic like leisure seems not to be appropriate. Nevertheless, leisure was an important aspect of everyday life in Estonia under Stalin’s reign. Some elements of continuity with the interwar period might be identified. The state struggled to control leisure activities and to re-educate the population but obviously failed. Listening to foreign radio stations or reading forbidden books might have been subversive but were not yet signs of resistance. Many leisure activities bore the character of escaping from a harsh reality and from poverty. The paper is based on archival documents, oral history and life stories.

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